Planning and packing tips

Holiday pre-departure checklist

May 12, 2015 (Last Updated: May 25, 2020)
by Carolyn
Boarding pass

Preparing to go away on an overseas holiday, particularly an extended one, can be quite stressful as there are so many things to get organised in advance to ensure it’s smooth sailing at home whilst you are away.

If you’re like me, you’ll find a ‘to do’ list very handy in the weeks leading up to departure and there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that everything on that list has been ticked off by the time you settle into your seat on the plane.

Over the years I’ve developed my own checklist to help me prepare for departure and as I get ready to embark on my next trip to Europe, I thought I’d share it with you.

Depending on how long you will be away, and whether or not there will be someone staying in your house whilst you’re away, some of these tasks may not be relevant to you, but here’s what goes on my list of pre-trip preparations – I hope you will find this list helpful, too.

A couple of months prior to departure

  • Make arrangements for a house sitter (if required)

The month leading up to departure

  • Check which regular bills (like utilities, credit card and your ambulance subscription) are due for payment whilst you are away – arrange to make payments in advance or set up automatic payments online
  • Load the spending money you plan to take onto a travel money card 
  • If you plan to use your credit card and/or ATM card whilst overseas (even if it’s only as a back-up), advise your bank so that these cards aren’t blocked when you attempt an overseas transaction
  • Arrange for a friend or neighbour to collect your mail (or have the post office hold it for you), mow the lawn, care for your pets, etc if you aren’t having someone stay in your house whilst you are away
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors (our Uni-aged sons live in our house whilst we are away and I’d never forgive myself if there was a fire and the smoke detectors didn’t go off due to flat batteries)
  • Ensure you have adequate firewood stored and a couple of meals in the freezer for your return (and in my case – hope the kids (young adults) don’t burn all the wood and eat the food!)
  • Register your travel plans on Smart Traveller, the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website
  • Photocopy the photo page of your passport – leave one copy at home with a family member and pack another in your suitcase (in case your passport is lost or stolen)
  • Email yourself a copy of your travel insurance policy, travel itinerary, hotel contacts, etc or store these details in the Cloud where you can access them if necessary
  • Arrange your transport to and from the airport

The week before departure

  • Check that all clothes you plan on taking are clean and ready to pack, if not, wash them
  • Get your suitcase out of storage and give it a clean

The day before departure

  • Wash bed linen and towels
  • Clean out fridge

The day of departure

  • Change bed linen (nothing beats coming home to your own bed made up with fresh linen)
  • Turn off machine washing taps
  • Checked windows and doors are all locked
  • Unplug appliances at the power points
  • Lock shed/garage
  • Double check you have your passport and travel documents/vouchers in your hand luggage

This list only refers to those ‘household’ type jobs that need attending to before you travel. If you’d like an idea on what to pack in your suitcase, you can see my Packing List for a Summer Holiday in Europe.

And if there’s anything I haven’t included in the list above that you feel rates a mention, please let me know and I’ll update this list.

Get a printable version of this pre-departure checklist here


Image: © Maksym Yemelyanov / Dollar Photo Club