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What to Do Before Going on Vacation

Kelsey Tharp | Aug 4, 2021

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This blog post was updated January 9, 2020.

You’ve found the best activities, you’ve checked out vacation packing lists, you’ve budgeted for months, and now you’re ready to get out of town and enjoy a nice, long trip.

Soon you’ll be relaxing on your favorite beach or maybe skiing down a new and exciting mountain. Delightful. 

Before living your best vacation life, you’ll need to tie up all the loose ends of your regular life.

Here’s pretty much everything you need to accomplish before an extended trip: 

At Home 

Man cleaning his house with his son before they leave on a vacation.

Clean Your House 

Coming home to a clean house after a long trip is the best feeling ever. So, change your sheets, clean the bathrooms, pick up clutter — your future self will thank you. 

If you can’t commit to a full-house scrub-down, at least clean your fridge and take out the trash. Ignoring these chores means you may come back to a house filled with an unpleasant mystery smell. 

Freeze a Home-Cooked Meal 

After going out to eat all week, enjoying a home-cooked meal will feel like a treat. 

If you order groceries, schedule their delivery for the day you’ll be back, so you can quickly restock your pantry and not be tempted to order take out. 

Adjust the Thermostat

This is an easy way to save some money. You’re not going to be home, so there’s no need to keep it at the optimal temperature. In the summer, try for 85 degrees and in the winter, keep it at 60 degrees. If you have pets staying at home, you’ll need to keep it at a comfortable temperature for them. 

Staying Organized 

Renew Your Passport 

If you meet the requirements, you can renew your passport online. It can take up to eight weeks to renew through the mail, so give yourself plenty of time before your trip start date before doing this.  

An important announcement: If your passport expires in six months or less, you may not be able to enter your destination country. 

Check Visa Requirements 

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need to apply for a visa. If you’re a U.S. resident, check out this handy list of country visa requirements. 

Take Photos of Important Items 

Snapping pictures of your IDs, passport, hotel reservations, and any other important documents is always a good idea. These pictures should be stored both in your phone and a cloud-based location (in case your phone is stolen). If these documents are lost or stolen, having these pictures can make getting replacements much easier. 

You can also make copies to carry with you. A copy can sometimes be accepted in lieu of the original, but this isn’t always the case. 

Create an Automated Response for Your Email and Voicemail 

If you aren’t checking or won’t have access to your phone or email, don’t forget to do this for both your work and home accounts. In case of a major emergency, you may want to leave the number of where you’re staying with a trusted friend. 

Man calling the post office to pause his mail while he's away on a trip.

Call Your Bank 

Let your bank know when you’re going on an extended vacation, so they don’t think your credit card was stolen. You don’t want to be in the middle of a big European vacation and have your card frozen. 

Talk to Your Phone Provider

If you haven’t taken your phone to another country, call your phone provider to learn what options are available. You may be able to purchase an international plan or a mobile hotspot.

Another option is using an app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to message anyone important back home. These free options will work whenever Wi-Fi is available. 

Protect Yourself

Pause Your Mail 

If your mail starts to pile up, this could alert potential thieves that you aren’t home. Call the post office and ask them to hold your mail while you’re on vacation. Or if someone is house-sitting, make sure they’re picking it up for you, daily. 

Before you leave, don't order anything from Amazon or another online retailer that will arrive while you’re gone. A package sitting on your doorstep for a few days is a major indicator you aren’t home. 

Lock Your Doors and Windows 

Test each of your doors and windows to ensure everything is locked. This simple check can bring you peace of mind during your vacation. 

Turn on Your Lights 

The longer your lights remain off, the easier it is for anyone watching your house to realize you aren’t home. Turn on a light or two before leaving, so that it looks like someone is home at night. 

Subscribe to STEP Alerts 

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) alerts from the State Department will let you know if your travel destination is experiencing any unsafe conditions like political unrest or a strike. 


Prepare for a Higher Altitude 

If you’re going to an area of high elevation — 8,000 feet or higher — you may experience altitude sickness. Stave off this condition by slowly acclimatizing to the height, staying hydrated, and using pain relievers to help offset any headaches or nausea. 

If you’re particularly susceptible, speak to your doctor about taking a preventative medicine before leaving on your trip.  

Person who has travel insurance getting vaccinated before a trip to Africa.

Get Vaccinated 

Talk to a travel clinic about any necessary vaccinations for your vacation destination. This is something to do a few months in advance in case you need to receive multiple doses or if it takes a few weeks to build up an immunity. Take your vaccination certificate with you in case it’s needed to enter the country.

A Few Days Before Leaving 

Purchase Reading Material and Snacks Before Getting on the Road 

There’s nothing like waiting for a flight and realizing you’re hungry and don’t have anything to read. If you wait until you get to the airport to buy snacks and reading material, you’ll be bound to whatever bagged snacks and best-selling novels you can find in the limited airport store, so stock up beforehand. 

If you’re a big reader, invest in a Kindle. With this, you can load up as many books as your heart desires and not have to worry about filling your suitcase with heavy novels. 

Charge Your Electronics 

Before you leave, charge your phone, e-reader, Nintendo Switch, and any other super important electronic devices. Make sure to bring all your chargers, too! 

If you’re embarking on a road trip, invest in a car charger, in case you need more juice during your long drive. Buying an external charger is also a good idea, especially if you’re traveling by plane or another mode of transportation where you don’t have regular access to charging ports. 

Check Your Wallet and Purse for Unneeded/Not Allowed Items 

If you’re a chronic over-carrier, this is a must. When you’re out and about in another location, you won't want to carry a ton of heavy items for an extended period of time. This can hurt your back and shoulders. 

Before leaving, go through your purse or wallet to ensure you’re only bringing what’s necessary. Also, if you carry something like a pocketknife or pepper spray, that isn’t allowed on your mode of transportation, remove that as well. 

Download the Essentials

If you’re a music or podcast nut, download what you need before your trip starts. In case the TV in your plane malfunctions, load your laptop or phone with movies and TV shows. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime will let you download these to watch.

Downloading offline maps for your destination is also a great idea. Even though you may be able to find Wi-Fi in your destination city, having maps saved is a 100 percent reliable way to have the directions you need, without draining your battery or data. One of the easiest ways to get maps is through Google Maps.  

General travel insurance image.

Research Your Destination

Learning about the place you’re visiting will help you better understand the region’s culture. By reading up ahead of time, you can learn how to avoid looking like a tourist.

You can also learn about tipping, important cultural norms, currency exchange, and the best places to visit. This is a great way to better appreciate the culture you’re visiting and start getting excited for your upcoming vacation! 

Travel the Right Way

Purchase travel insurance! 

This is one of the most important ways to prepare for your vacation. Travel insurance is a protection against the wild and unpredictable things that can occur on a trip: animal attacks, illnesses, natural disasters, and everything else.

Purchasing a travel insurance plan is one of the best ways to keep the trip of a lifetime from turning into a nightmare. 

If you have questions about purchasing reach out to the Seven Corners sales team at 800-335-0611 or sales@sevencorners.com. They can answer any questions you have about the purchase process.    Whether you’re going somewhere new or an often-traveled favorite spot, these tips will serve you well. Now that your preparations are done, bon voyage!

*Trip insurance is included as part of a travel protection plan, which consists of insurance coverages underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company as well as non-insurance assistance services provided by Seven Corners, Inc. Insurance coverages are subject to the terms, limitations and exclusions in the plan, including an exclusion for pre-existing conditions.


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