10 Things I Always Do Before a Trip

Ah, vacation time. It’s upon us over here, and I’m so excited. However, that also means that I’m currently in a state of stress and mild panic. Ha! I might be acting a little over-dramatic, but I’m sure several of you can relate. Don’t you ever feel like you need a vacation just from getting ready to leave for vacation? There seems to be so much to do and even less time to do it all than usual. Maybe that’s just me, though because to be honest I do like to pile a fair amount on my plate the week or so before we’re due to go. 😉 That said, there are 10 things I always do before a trip. I always find a way to manage to get this all done, and it makes for both a more enjoyable trip and minimal stress when we get home!

10 things i always do before a trip

Create a travel folder.

Once we decide on a trip and start booking everything, I create a folder in my email to save any and all important documents. This way, everything is in one easy reference spot that I can pull up in a snap to check confirmation numbers, reservations and so on. Also an easy way to forward anything to family members in the event of an emergency.

Schedule a mail-hold through USPS.

This is an easy, free service through the post office that we always take advantage of. The post office will just hold your mail for the week and deliver everything on the end-date of your choice. This way we don’t have bills or any important pieces of mail simply sitting in our mailbox.

Pay bills.

Pretty self-explanatory. We tend to take trips at the end/beginning of the month when a majority of our bills are due. So, I just make sure to have everything setup and scheduled.

Meal plan.

Did you catch my meal-planning “strategy” earlier this week? I don’t follow that too strictly leading up to vacation, but it also doesn’t get thrown out the window either. We still stick to our Wednesday grocery shopping date and make sure that we only plan and purchase the bare necessities so nothing goes to waste. I also use this opportunity to think about any snacks, drinks, etc. that we may want to bring or pack whether we’re going on a plane or driving.

Make a packing list (and actually pack!).

Lists rule my life, and for someone who HATES packing a list comes in extra-handy. I go so far as to break my lists down into carry-on bag (if necessary), toiletries, clothes, shoes/accessories … yeah, it’s a bit much. But, it works for me. This also forces me to take the extra time to actually lay out outfit options for each day of the trip and see any gaps that I need to fill. I’m less-likely to over-pack when I do this! Usually, I’ll start this process a week or so before we leave doing a little bit each day.

Clean the house.

Some people think this is silly – we’re leaving, who cares if the house is clean or not? Well, I do! There’s nothing worse than coming home to a dirty house. To me, that’s the quickest way to early-onset vacation blues! I make sure to do our normal cleaning routine – bathrooms, dusting, fresh sheets and towels, etc. – so it’s one less thing to worry about when we get home.

Do laundry.

Similar to the above, why would I leave any laundry unfinished (within reason)? We accumulate enough dirty laundry that has to be taken care of when we get home! Besides clothes, I usually try to make sure to wash bigger items such as blankets, our comforter/quilt, rugs and such so that it adds to the overall cleanliness level I’m going for when we get home.

Take care of any personal/beauty appointments.

If time allows, I’ll schedule an extended afternoon off to take care of some pre-vacation pampering. Getting my hair freshly highlighted and cut always is nonnegotiable, but I also try to get my brows done and a pedicure. If I can’t swing all of that, I block out some time at home to do my own brows and nails. I love to feel at my absolute best while we’re away, and this also guarantees a few hours to myself away from the craziness of getting ready to go!

Set-up light timers.

I’m overly paranoid about people noticing that we’re gone – even though we do live on a pretty quiet, safe street. But, there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. Ryan sets up a timer on our family room lights to turn on/off at what would be normal times for us.

Unplug all electronics.

A while back, my parents had an incident when they were out of town for the weekend (I’m pretty sure they were visiting me at college!) and a bad storm went through at home, resulting in a power surge that fried a lot of their electronics. Even with the correct plugs/power protectors! Lesson forever learned. I take two minutes before we leave to turn off and/or unplug anything major, particularly my laptop.

What do you do to get ready to leave for vacation? Am I alone in wanting to come home to a clean house?!

Leave a Comment


  1. 9.27.19
    Samantha said:

    Such a great post! I should be doing these things too…haha!

    • 9.28.19
      Karly said:

      They’re definitely helpful things to do! 🙂

  2. 9.25.19
    Debbie said:

    I think a little bit of time and effort before a trip just makes the trip more enjoyable and a little less stressful when you come home! I like your tip about creating a travel folder!

    • 9.28.19
      Karly said:

      That has been very helpful on all our trips!

  3. 9.25.19
    Biana said:

    We do a mail hold if it’s a longer trip – one of my favorite services! Now with Sophia, I feel like I’m always scrambling and never prepared for trips….like the one we have this weekend lol! xo, Biana-BlovedBoston

    • 9.28.19
      Karly said:

      I can only imagine! I’m sure all of this will change drastically when we have a child to take care of as well!