We go on holidays to relax and escape from the hustle and hassles of daily life, but the lead-up to your trip can be stressful. From nabbing a cheap flight to packing your passport and squeezing outfits into a small suitcase, there are a million things to remember. To arrive at your destination stress-free and feeling fabulous, you need a holiday checklist. This baby will be your lifesaver as you’re counting down the months, weeks and days. Seeee ya!
6 MONTHS OUT
Set travel alerts. Check out flight comparison websites, like Skyscanner, and if you’re not loving the prices right now, sign up for ‘price dip’ notifications.
Clear your cookies. Did you know that travel booking websites store your search info, and can hike up the costs every time you browse the site? How cheeky is that! Before buying, go incognito or clear out those cookies.
Budget. How much money are you willing to spend on this trip? Be realistic and honest, and maybe try not to blow your entire bank account. This will set the tone for the rest of your vacay planning.
Start loading money onto a currency card. Buy yourself a travel card in the currency of the country/countries you’re visiting, and add funds whenever you can. That way, if the exchange rate changes dramatically, you won’t suffer too much. Bonus: this is a sneaky way to save money to travel.
Book your flight and accommodation. If you’re travelling in peak time (e.g. Euro summer) or to a popular place, skip the stress and book your flight and hotel/Airbnb/tent a few months out. The earlier you book, the more you’ll save.
3 MONTHS OUT
Get travel insurance. It’s usually a couple of hundred dollars – DO IT. You’ll be eternally grateful if you miss a flight or lose your luggage, someone steals all your shit, or – touch wood – you get sick or in an accident.
Book tours and experiences. Think about the events, concerts, festivals and other activities you want to do during your trip. Tickets sell out, and some tourist hotspots book up weeks in advance, so do a little research now to avoid disappointment later.
Double-check your IDs. Are they current? Many countries will require you to carry a passport with an expiration date of six or more months from your arrival date, so definitely do that math. And your driver’s license should be still valid.
Request the time off work. Butter up your boss first by producing really, really excellent work, then ask the age-old question: can I leave?
Get inspired! This is the fun part. Browse travel blogs and forums, read city guides, follow Insta accounts and anything else to ignite your wanderlust.
Arrange pet care. Leaving your fluffy friend behind? For pure peace of mind, look into pet care now, whether it’s at the vet or with a friend.
Ask about vaccinations. No-one wants to pick up a disease while travelling, so find out if you need to get any vaccinations or shots before hopping on that plane. The prick of that needle is worth it when there’s a vacay waiting on the other side.
1 MONTH OUT
Book restaurant reservations. During celebratory holidays, like Christmas, foodie hotspots and major cities, resys usually open up a month before.
Research local customs. In other words, what’s acceptable in terms of dress and activities? For example, in places like Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, you’ll need to wear long sleeves and long pants to respect the religious customs. It’s a good idea to look up what the deal is for women, too.
Pre-book transfers. To save money on cabs, book a shuttle or car rental. If you’re staying at a fairly fancy hotel, they might be able to organise a transfer free of charge.
Email your itinerary to family/friends. This will reassure your parents, and let people know where to reach you in case of an emergency.
Stock up on meds. If you have any prescriptions that are running out (like the Pill), fill them now. And to avoid scrambling for supplies in a foreign country, put together a first-aid kit with aspirin, anti-diarrheal tablets, B-Aids, motion sickness tablets, and Hydralyte.
Create a travel itinerary. If you’re on a strict schedule (or you’re simply a type A personality), it’s worth writing a weekly/daily plan of attack.
Add contacts to your phone. To avoid shuffling through papers or emails when you need a number, enter the details for your hotel, as well as shuttle, tour and insurance companies.
1 WEEK BEFORE
Confirm your accommodation. Ask about check-in times, and request an early or late check-in to coordinate with your landing.
Adjust your phone coverage. Unless you’re planning to buy a travel SIM, call your phone company to activate global roaming when you arrive at your destination. Side tip: use this sparingly! WiFi is your best friend.
Take photos of your documents. Save photos of your passport, driver’s license, insurance and itinerary in a secure app, or email them to yourself. Print out a copy to keep in your suitcase, too.
Notify your bank you’re travelling. Because having your account frozen when you’re trying to buy a stiff drink post-flight is no fun.
Withdraw cash. You’ll want to have a little cash handy while you’re travelling for cabs, tips, and small purchases, so convert some local currency now. To avoid being ripped off, don’t leave this to the airport!
Hold or halt your mail. If you’re jet setting for a few months (jel), put your subscriptions on hold, and get your mail sent to the post office.
Pay your bills. Boring, but better to do this now then when you’re battling post-holiday blues.
Check your toiletries. Stock up on anything you’re missing.
Load up on reading material. Buy, borrow or download books or magazines to help you pass the time on planes, trains, road-trips and those days baking on the beach.
Curate playlists. WiFi might be sketchy, so make the most of your lightening-fast connection now by making/downloading playlists on Spotify, and maybe a few cheeky movies.
Arrange for a ride to the airport. Thanks mum!
1 DAY BEFORE
Turn on your out-of-office. “I am mentally checked out. Sorrynotsorry.”
Check your flight. You can usually do this online by typing in your flight number. You might also be able to check in and print your boarding pass.
Pack! I like to make a packing pile. This means I put EVERYTHING I could possibly want to bring on my bed, and then I cut it down. This has the added benefit of forcing you to pack the day before, because you have to sleep that bed tonight. When you’re packing, use the weather report and your itinerary to guide you.
Prep your liquids. If you’re travelling internationally, get your little ziplock bag of liquids ready. Think: lip balm, hand sanitiser, hand cream, toothpaste and deodorant, and perhaps a tinted moisturiser and concealer to help you look human again when you arrive.
Do your laundry. After being stuck in a confined space for hours, you’ll really appreciate coming home to fresh sheets and towels.
Water your plants. Same deal!
Clean out your fridge. Toss any perishable items that could go off while you’re away.
Organise your carry-on luggage. Your passport and travel documents aside, make the journey a little more enjoyable with the help of your phone, charger, wallet, noise-cancelling headphones, books/Kindle, chewing gum, an eye mask, toothbrush, neck pillow, and sunglasses you can slap on when you can land. If you have room, pack a change of clothes, or at the very least, a spare pair of underwear. And snacks. Snacks are key.
Checklist created by Katia Iervasi