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The Complete Traveling Checklist {Free printables}

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Want to make sure that you’ve done and arranged all the necessary things before your travels? Super! here’s a complete traveling checklist that’ll help you do just that!  

This week I wanted to make you something that’ll simplify your traveling. It’s a complete traveling checklist of things you need to do and arrange before your trip.

I love traveling but every time I stress so much before the trip. 

I’m one of those people who check do they have their passport and wallet with them like gazillion-of-times. 

And if you’re a “worrier” like me, you’ll love this checklist! 

I want you to enjoy every bit of your trip and the time before your departure day should be equally enjoyable. 

So I hope this checklist will simplify your traveling and give you a bit more peace of mind so that you can have the best trip ever. 

I hope you like them!

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

There are different things you’ll need to do and arrange 

  • before booking
  • a few weeks before your trip
  • just before your departure day
  • and on the departure day

So I’ll guide you through all the things you’ll need to have on your checklist. 

Note! Those same things can be found on the pre-written checklist also. 

But if you have different things you’d like to have on your checklist, I’ve got you covered! There’s also a blank checklist so that you can write your must-do list on that one. 

So what are the things you need to do and arrange before booking your trip, a few weeks and a few days before your departure day and on the day of the departure?

What to do before booking your trip

1. Check your budget

You want to have a budget when you travel and the best is that you have the money to travel already saved in advance. If you need to worry on your vacation how you’ll pay it after, it’s not that enjoyable.

I put some money aside each month on my travel fund account and that’s my budget and I stick to it. If it’s not enough for a fancy hotel then I need to postpone my trip and save more money or settle for a more affordable hotel. 

2. Check the expiration date on your passport

When traveling to some countries your passport needs to be valid 6 months after your trip ends.

So check the passport requirements of your destination and then check the expiration date your passport.

Also make sure to check the passport of all the people you’re traveling with so that there won’t come any surprises. 

3. Check the visa requirements and apply if needed

4. Check your travel insurance policy

5. Check the cancellation policy

Before you book your flight and hotel check their cancellation policy.

And this goes both ways.

If something happens and you need to cancel your trip, can you cancel your flight and hotel and be refunded?

But you also want to check if the hotel or the airline has the right to cancel your reservation if they’re overbooked.

This happened to me.

I wanted to travel to south of Europe. I booked a flight and then I booked the hotel months in advance. And they were both perfectly aligned with my budget.

But then a few weeks before my trip the hotel said that they’re overbooked and can’t accommodate me. By that time all the hotel prices had gone up and I couldn’t have afforded another hotel. And my flight was one of those that you can’t cancel and get a refund.

It was a mess!

Thank goodness I was able to find a solution and didn’t have to pay extra, but after that I’ve always been extra careful when checking the cancellation policies.

I don’t want you to deal with what I had to deal with so make sure before you book anything that the cancellation policy both on your flight and your accomodation work for you if something happens. 

6. Check the hotel reviews

I like to check the hotel reviews both in Booking.com and Tripadvisor.com.

Before I choose any hotel I check the hotel reviews. I first glance the plusses and minuses people are saying about the place and if the former guests all write about the same things, like “great location” or “the air-conditioning didn’t work”, I believe them.

If there are some alarming things that multiple guests have complaint about, I move on to the next hotel. You don’t want to book a hotel and wish for the best. To stay in a hotel room with a broken air-conditioning and a constraction site next door, is not a fun way to have a vacation.

If there are no alarming reviews then I dig deeper and read more.

For me the location is one of the most important things when choosing a hotel, so I check that one. And then comes the cleanliness and noise. 

So think first what are the important things for you and then read the reviews and make your decision. And don’t let one bad review master your decision making. There’s always someone who complains about everything.

7. Arrange house sitting if needed

If you have a big house and a lot of plants to take care of, even a pet you can’t take with you, then you might like to have someone staying at your place when you’re away. 

You can ask a friend or a relative or even use a website to find the perfect house sitter for your needs.

8. Arrange baby sitting and/or pet care

If you’d like to go on a romantic weekend trip with your significant other, it’s better to arrange the baby sitting before you book anything.

And the same applies to arranging pet care. Find out if you have someone who could come and take care of your fur-baby/babies or if there’s a place you could take them to when you’re away.

Even though you’d have a friend or someone in your family who normally takes care of your kids or pets when you’re away it’s still nice to ask their help before you book anything and give them the possibility to also say that they can’t do it, even though you know that they’re always available. 

And always remember to bring some extra nice souvenier to the one that takes care of your loved ones!

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} | Blank | US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

What to do 1-2 weeks before your trip

1. Check weather forecast

Even though the weather might change it’s good to check the 10-day weather forecast before you’ll start writing your packing list and see what the temperature is going to be and if they’ve predicted some heavy rains or other weather conditions that might affect your packing list.

2. Make a packing list

It’s good to make a packing list a little before you start actually packing. This is the perfect time to check if you need to buy something for your trip and which clothes you need to start washing  for your trip.

Check out also the post about the complete travel packing list.

3. Buy things you’ll need for your trip

But before you go buying things, double-check if you really need them. Sometimes we’ll just keep things that we rarely use in the back of the closet. That’s why it’s good to create the packing list first and then see what you might need.

4. Wash clothes you’ll need for your trip

This is important to start even a week before especially if you’re packing for multiple people. 

You don’t want to be putting in your dryer clothes the last day before your departure just to notice in your destination that you shrunk your favorite shirt because you didn’t start preparing your vacation clothes early enough. 

Been there. Done that. Not fun. At. All.

5. Tell your neighbors about your travel plans

This is important. You want your neighbors to know that you’re away so that if they see something suspicious when you’re not at home, they know what to do.

But when you do tell about your up-coming trip, you don’t want to brag about it. It’s not nice.

You also want to inform them if someone is taking care of your house or comes to take care of your pet when you’re away so that they don’t have to second guess if they see someone they don’t know entering your home.

And always remember to bring some nice souvenir to your neighbors so that they’ll look after your house the next time too!

6. Double-check passports, visas and travel insurance

A week or two before your departure is good to double-check the passports, visas and travel insurance.

If there’s something you’ll need to do, you still might have time to do that, even though it’s pretty last minute.

But better a week or two before than on the departure day!

7. Inform the hotel of your arrival time and special requests

It’s good to inform your arrival time to the hotel so that they know when to expect your, especially if you’re arriving during the night time.

This is also a good time to write to your hotel about your special requests and see if they can fulfill them. If you tell the hotel your special requests too early (like months before) it might be that they don’t have a system to add them to and the information just disappears. But if you do it a week or two before (and you’re extra nice about it and tell them how excited you are about your vacation), it might be that all your requests are fulfilled.

And by special requests I mean the normal things like a quiet room.

I travel a lot with my sister and we like to have twin beds instead of a king bed. So I always ask the hotel before if they can arrange it and every time they can. Exept one time. They didn’t have room like that available with the view that we paid for. But it was ok. They gave us a huge suite instead – because a promise is a promise. 

8. Book day-trips and buy tickets to attractions

If you travel during the tourist season it might be that you end up queueing a lot and your whole trip goes to standing in lines.

So to avoid that book day-trips and buy tickets to attractions before your trip. You might even get them more affordably this way. 

9. Arrange watering plants

Ask your neighbor or a friend if they can water your plants when you’re away. 

Give them a list of all the plants that need watering with instructions on how much and how often they need to be watered.

And if they can, remember to bring them a nice souvenir. 

10. Order/exchange currency

Nowadays you can easily get local currency from an automat with your credit card or exchange money when you get to your destination, but I always like to have at least some local currency when I travel. 

It might be that your plane is late and you’ll arrive to your destination during the night and you need to get a taxi to your hotel and the taxi doesn’t accept your card and when you finally get to your hotel you’re starving and you want to buy some food and all the restaurants are closed already and the only place to find something is a local bar and they only accept cash.

Not that that has happened to me. Well, actually it has. A few times. But luckily, I had local currency. And I want you to be prepared too.

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

What to do 1-2 days before your trip

1. Check weather forecast again

This is the time you can actually almost trust the weather forecast. So make some adjustments if needed to your packing list.

2. Pack your suitcase/suitcases

Use a packing list to make sure you pack everything needed. 

Check out also the post about the complete travel packing list.

3. Prepare your hand luggage

Prepare your carry-on, but don’t pack it yet. There are normally so many things you’re still using (like the electronics) so prepare what you can and use a packing list so that you won’t forget anything.

4. Do last-minute shopping

To buy needed things for your trip is better to do a week or two before, but this is the moment you can do the last-minute shopping. It’s better to do that a day or two before your departure day, rather than at the airport.

5. Do last-minute clothes washing

This is the same as the last-minute shopping. Don’t leave all the clothes washing for the last minute, but wash and prepare your clothes a week or two before. 

This is the moment to wash those clothes that you couldn’t wash before because you needed to wear them or to wash the ones that you bought (last-minute). 

6. Print tickets/boarding passes

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve printed the tickets way too early and when I need them I don’t find them.

So it’s better to print them a day or two before.

And if you can do online check-in you might even be able to print your boarding passes. 

7. Pay bills in advance

Pay all the bills that are due during your trip in advance if you can.

8. Return or renew library books

Return or renew your library books, so that you don’t have to worry about them on your trip and then even pay penalty for returning them late. 

9. Give extra key to a neighbor or a friend

If you leave your house empty and take your keys with you it would be good if someone would have an extra key to your place. 

It might be that the airline loses your luggage or someone steals your bag and your keys go with it so it’s better to have someone close to you that can let you in after your trip so that you get to rest before you need to start taking care of the lost key.

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

What to do on the departure day

1. Pack your hand luggage

You already prepared your hand luggage and now it’s time to pack it.

2. Remind your family and friends that you’ll be away

Even though you might have already told them, it doesn’t hurt if you remind them that you’re going on the trip. It’s also nice to let them know that you’re thinking about them.

One of my friends actually sends a long I-love-you message to all her children and husband before the plane takes of when she goes on business trips. She told me that if something would happen she would want that message be the last thing she said. Even though it sounds a bit “dark” I think it’s such a wonderful thing to do. 

3. Turn on auto-reply on your email

It’s good to let others know that it might take you a while to answer your emails.

4. Plug out needed appliances

Plug out all the appliances that you can, but leave the important ones, like the fridge and freezer on, if you have stuff in them. 

5. Empty fridge

There’s nothing worse than to return from your vacation to find rotten food in your fridge.

6. Water plants

7. Take out trash

When I said that there’s nothing worse than returning from your trip and find rotten food in your fridge… well, there is. Trash that has been inside for way too long. 

Remember to take the trash out before you leave the house.

8. Lock all doors and windows 

After you’ve locked all the windows and doors you’re good to go! Have a great trip!

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

How to use the complete traveling checklist printables

So there are two versions to choose from. One that has all the things to check and arrange on it and another blank one that you can fill in yourself.

The checklists come in US letter size, but you can resize and use it for example as half letter or A4 size paper (or A5). 

You can also keep the checklists in your planner, in your travel binder or in your home management binder so that you can revisit them and use them multiple times.

The complete traveling checklist has a place to write

  • Your destination
  • When you’re traveling
  • And who you’re traveling with

And then there are four different parts. 

There’s a place to write things you need to check and arrange/what to do:

  • Before booking
  • 1-2 weeks before your trip
  • 1-2 days before your trip
  • On departure day

You can either use the pre-written one or make your own. 

Check out also the post about the complete travel packing list.

And this is how the complete traveling checklists look like.

This is the pre-written complete traveling checklist:

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

And this is the blank traveling checklist printable:

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} | Blank | US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift
The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

How to download the complete traveling checklist printables

You can download these printables by clicking the download links under the images. These are printable gifts so please feel free to print out as many as you need for your personal use.

The printables (of course) come without the big bow logo.

The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} | Blank | US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift
The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

DOWNLOAD: Complete Traveling Checklists (PDF – printables) 

© SaturdayGift Ltd. For personal use only, not to be copied, distributed, altered or sold.

This printable/article is part of the travel series:

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The Complete traveling checklist {Free printables} US letter | Pretty printables | Template | Checklist | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #saturdaygift

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