Living Big Travel

Living Big Travel Blog

Travel tips, guides, and real life stories to inspire your next adventure. Go explore! 

Pre-Trip Honey Do's -- compiled here in case your mind goes on vacation before you do


When you’re getting ready for vacation two things most certainly will happen:

  1. You’re AMPED to go! You get to see a new place, visit family or friends and have time away from work. It’s vacation, who doesn’t love that?!

  2. Because of your AMPED’ness, you’re likely a little scatter brained (or at least I get that way) and tend to lose the cool, calm, collected version of yourself that normally directs your life.

Because I know this is my reality before I leave on a trip I create lists, lists and more lists outlining the things I don’t want the scatter brained version of me to forget before a trip. I create lists because having all the random thoughts, to-do’s and reminders floating in my head overwhelms me. And trying to keep it all in my head is pretty much a guarantee that I’ll forget to do something.

If you’ve been in this boat allow me to share my list of to do’s so that you can relax into your next vacation.


  • Clear out the fridge and cabinet of food that will go bad while you’re away.

  • Take out trash and recycling before you leave. No one wants to come home to that stench.

  • Tell a neighbor you’re heading out of town and let them know if you’re expecting anyone to come and go from your house while you’re away.

  • Clean the house and do your laundry (or have it done for you!) How amazing would clean bed sheets be on the first night back in your own bed?

  • If you’re gone over the winter and expecting freezing temperatures, let your faucets drip so your pipes don’t freeze.

  • Check windows, sheds, exterior entrances, etc. and make sure they’re locked.

  • Know your alarm code in case you get a call from your house sitter or alarm company.

  • Unplug small appliances like toasters, coffee pots, etc.

  • If you’ll be gone more than a week put your mail and newspaper delivery on hold at your local post office.

  • Turn off your air conditioner or heater (unless house guests or pets are in the house!)

  • Make a plan to keep your plants alive (i.e. move to a neighbors house, add this to your house sitter’s to-do list, etc.)

  • Pull your full garbage and recycling bins to the curb and ask a neighbor to bring them back to the house once they’ve been emptied.

  • Empty the grounds from the coffee pot.

  • Run the dishwasher so you don’t have dirty dishes sitting while you’re gone.

  • Find a new spot for your hidden house key.

  • Make sure you don’t have any wet clothes in your washing machine.

  • Sprinkle a little baking soda in toilets and down the sink drains to avoid coming home to the stench of stagnant water.

  • If you park your car on the street look into an alternative spot to park your car so you don’t get towed, tickets, etc.


  • Go ahead and break your vacation piggy bank and put the funds in an account you can access while you’re traveling.

  • Call your banks to give them notice that you’ll be using your credit and debit cards outside the country. If you don’t, they might view your foreign transactions as suspicious activity and freeze your account.

  • Figure out your money plan – what cards you’ll use, compare foreign transaction fees, etc.

  • If you’re planning on using a lot of cash, know what your daily cash withdrawal limits are for your account.

  • Pay bills that are due before you leave.


  • Stock up on food and meds for your furry friends.

  • Leave the leash, toys, bed and supplies in a place that will be easy to spot.

  • Leave the number to your vet and any other notes your dog sitter or walker should know about your furry friends.


  • Return or renew library books.

  • Review your cell phone plan and decide if you want to add an international plan or find out how to adjust your phone settings so you don’t incur hefty roaming fees. Click here for advice!

  • Cancel any reoccurring appointments you have with a trainer, therapist, manicurists, etc.

  • Make sure you pack any converters or adapters you might need. These items are actually pretty hard to find once you leave an airport. Click here for tips from the experts!

  • Update the ‘out of office’ message on your email.

  • Confirm that the prescription meds you currently have are enough to last you throughout the trip.

  • If you left your car in an airport parking lot, write down exactly where you left so you can find it when you get back.

  • Make two copies of your U.S. Passport, drivers license, credit and debit cards and health insurance cards. Leave a copy at home with friends, take a hard copy with you and email a scanned copy to yourself.

  • Leave key travel docs with family, like flight confirmations, hotel reservations, etc. and make sure you have easy access to this info, i.e. in email, printed copies, etc.

  • Register for STEP Program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) so if there is a natural disaster or political unrest where you’re going the U.S. Department of State can find you and get you out.

  • Explore travel insurance options. Click here for tips from the experts!

Cheers to more stress-free adventures ahead!

Mary + the Living Big team!