It’s the eve of your departure — the day before you leave for that long-overdue vacation you’ve been dreaming of for months. But before you embark on your trip, there are some important steps for you to take.
Here are 11 items to cross off your to-do list before you head out.
1. Alert your credit card company
To ensure your credit card works while you’re traveling, your credit card company needs to know your travel plans. If you've waited this long though, you may have to call instead of submitting an online form.
And there's one other very important thing. “Make sure you have enough available credit on your credit cards,” said Tammy Levent, CEO at Elite Travel Management Group.
2. Contact your cell phone company
Traveling abroad? Call your service provider to help you set up the cheapest plan for making calls, sending text messages, and accessing Internet from your smartphone. Many cell phone companies — including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — offer affordable day passes to U.S. customers for International talk, textand data plans.
3. Notify your home security system operator
“If you’re leaving two weeks or longer, it’s a good idea to tell your local police department you’ll be gone,” Levent said. “If you ask, they may do extra runs by your house.”
4. Confirm all reservations
Double-check all your reservations: your flight, hotel, car rental, restaurants, attractions and any other services or experiences you've planned. You don't want any surprises at a check-in counter.
If you have access to a printer, it's not a bad idea to print out confirmations. If you don't, write down confirmation numbers (and customer service phone numbers) and keep the paper easily accessible in your wallet or carry-on.
5. Make advance payments on bills that have due dates during your trip
Don’t want to get hit with late fees? Make sure all credit cards, housing expenses (e.g., rent, utilities) and other monthly bills will be paid on time.
6. Check the weather
This may seem like an obvious one, but “many travelers forget to do it,” said Levent. Check the forecast for your destination and your hometown when you'll be returning, and pack appropriately.
7. Eat, throw out or give away any perishable food
The last thing you want is to return home to a stinky fridge. Also, run the dishwasher, take out the trash, and clean the sink to be sure there’s no food in the drain that could rot or attract bugs while you’re away.
8. Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member
Your emergency contact should have a copy of your travel plans, Levent advises.
9. Clean out your wallet
Sift through your wallet and remove any items you don’t need on your trip. Leave loyalty cards, gift cards, extra credit cards and any other unnecessary contents at home.
10. Place a hold on your mail delivery
This is a smart move if you’re going away for more than a couple days, Levent says. Alternatively, you could arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail until you get home.
11. Bring in outdoor furniture
Don’t leave any outdoor wares (e.g., patio chairs, cushions, pool equipment) unguarded, especially lightweight items that are easy for thieves to steal.