6 boring but important things I do before every trip

There’s always a mad rush before any trip to make sure that things are not just in order for while you’re gone, but when you come back. Cleaning, emptying the fridge, putting a stop on mail and making sure all your documents are in order takes up a lot of time. Admittedly, there have been times when I get so overwhelmed that I question whether leaving is really worth it (news flash: It’s always worth it).

To help relieve some of that stress, I started putting together to-do lists, like many people do. Eventually I realized that there were some things that continued to crossover, no matter how long the trip or where I was going.

Now I have a base list that I go off of for every trip. Here’s the essential tasks I always make sure to get done before leaving. At the end of the post, you can download and save your own printable version of my list to use for your next upcoming adventure!

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Gather travel documents

This probably seems obvious, but more than once have I been found tearing the house apart at the last minute trying to find my passport, wallet or copies of my travel itinerary.

Instead of doing it at the last minute and assuming I know where everything I need is, I now take some time to really gather everything, organize it in a pouch I use specifically for this purpose, and put in a particular spot in my bag.

Keeping all my documents in one place — more importantly, in the same place — relieves a lot of stress and saves a lot of hassle in the long run.

Put travel notices on my cards

I remember the first time I forgot to do this. After a fun night out, I woke up to several calls from my bank telling me that my card had been frozen because charges were coming from an unexpected location. Thankfully I had reception and was able get it take care of, but I’ve had friends and family whose cards get frozen and they are unable to get reception or a reliable internet connection to fix it.

These days it’s easy to put a travel notification on your bank accounts. I can even do it from my banking apps. Doing this ahead of time will prevent any hiccups or mishaps when it comes to accessing your finances.

Put a stop on the mail

One of the tell-tale signs that someone is out of town is an overflowing mailbox. Did you know you can place a temporary hold on your mail? You can even do it online, and your mail will be held until you return. It’s simple, easy and ensures that nothing goes missing or misplaced while you’re gone.

Of course, if you’re friendly with your neighbors, you can always ask someone to gather your mail for you. Then you’ll also have someone who can check in while you’re gone for long periods and make sure that everything looks OK and no pipes have burst or flooded - something I’ve had a little experience with.

Clean out the fridge

There are few things I hate more than coming home, opening the fridge and getting hit with the sickening smell of spoiled food. Bad milk, rotten greens or mold-ridden leftovers? No, thank you.

To avoid a messy clean up right after you’ve gotten home and just need to recover from jet lag, taking 5 or 10 minutes to clean out any perishable items will save you a lot of grief.

Put on fresh sheets

I know this seems like a completely random thing to do, but it’s become a habit for me. I’ve just found that it’s a little luxury I like to give myself as a welcome home present: fresh, clean sheets and my own bed.

It might seems silly, but there’s honestly nothing better than, after arriving home from a long trip and feeling exhausted and gross, showering and climbing into a clean, fresh bed. Just thinking about it make me ready to fall asleep!

It might take a little time out of your day and packing time, but it’s worth it. It’s so worth it.

Prep all my devices

This is one of the last things I do, and probably the most “fun” thing on this list. It’s when I get to sit down and go through all the little fun stuff that helps me get through long travel days and solitary moments: My playlists, books, shows and podcasts.

I take some time to make sure everything is downloaded and synced to my devices, since I’ll mostly need to access them when I’m without any service. I use Spotify to download music onto my phone, save YouTube videos on the app, download a few episodes of whatever show I’m currently watching on Netflix and also download some new podcasts to listen to.

It’s a fun thing for me to do because I get to start thinking about my trip and what I’ll do while traveling. What music will best fit this trip and where I’m going? What type of books or podcasts might I want to listen to?

Plus, it just feels good to feel prepared and having the knowledge that I’m loaded up on things to keep me entertained during any long haul flights or road trips.

Even though nothing on this list is particularly exciting, I’ve come to love and look forward to the ritual of getting things ready and prepped. I know that when I’m doing these things, they’ll not only be beneficial in the long run, but it gets me in the mindset of being ready to leave and tackle whatever comes next.

What’s one thing you do before every trip that might seem boring, but you find totally necessary?

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