The Intangible Pre-Travel Checklist

There are plenty of lists out there on how to pack for a trip – what to take in terms of clothes, jewelry, shoes, toiletries, etc.  But what about the countless intangible things you have to take care of before you can put your feet up and relax?  Those nagging, pesky little issues that you think you’ve squared away until your plane takes off and you say to yourself, “Wait – do I have enough money in my checking account?”  Well, I’ve made a list of all the little things I have to do before jetting off to my next destination.   It may come in handy for you too!


If you want to relax, take care of these things first!

  1. Make sure you have enough money in your checking account so you can withdraw cash from foreign ATMs.
  2. Notify your credit card company and/or bank that you’re going away, to ensure they won’t put a lock on your card when they see foreign transactions.
  3. Sign up for travel health insurance.  I always do this because my U.S. health insurance doesn’t cover me overseas.
  4. Print out a map from the airport to your hotel.  Google Maps works well for this.  Even if you’re taking a taxi, this is a useful thing to show the driver.  If you’re taking public transportation from the airport, print out directions for yourself.
  5. Make sure you have at least $200 USD with you in case you can’t use an ATM and need to exchange some money.
  6. Take out unnecessary ID cards from your wallet and leave them at home.  They take up room and, in case your wallet gets stolen, it’s better you don’t have them with you.
  7. Make note of the exchange rate for the country you’re going to.  I like to write out the foreign currency equivalents of $1, $5, $10, etc., so I have an idea of what things cost.  I also figure out how much to take out at the ATM when I arrive at the airport.
  8. Make a copy of your passport so, when you’re in vacation-land, you can carry that around instead of your actual one and risk having it stolen.
  9. Make a list of all your credit card companies’ contact numbers, in case your wallet gets stolen and you have to cancel your cards.
  10. Make a list of any website passwords you’ll need while on vacation.  I always forget my Skype password, for example, so I write that down.
  11. Notify hotels of your expected arrival time, especially if they’re small hotels that may not have a 24-hour reception desk.
  12. Forward your travel information (flights numbers, hotel contact information, etc.) to a friend or family member.

What are some of your intangible checklist items?

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