Who hasn’t forgotten to do something really important before leaving on vacation? ✋
No matter how long I leave, pretty much always have the same items to check off my travel checklist.
To help both you and me for our next vacations or digital nomad wanderings, I put together this list of things to do before you leave on a trip. I found those to be the ultimate checklist, at least for my friends and me.
As you’ll see, it’s all about automating and systemizing your life at home to support you being away. Surprisingly (or not), I’ve kept most of those systems and automation in place for when I’m home. Way fewer things to think about and way easier to leave again!
Bank Things to do Before you Leave
You don’t want to 1) be restricted from doing what you do on travel 2) have to worry about invoices and boring stuff.
Here is how to prepare so that your finances stay afloat while you sip a mojito on the beach:
- Let your bank know you’ll be traveling so that they don’t block any transactions you might do abroad.
- If it’s possible, withdraw a little bit of your destination’s local currency for at least the start of your trip. This way you won’t have to pay increased ATM fees at airport and safely get a taxi to your accommodation. If not possible, get some US Dollars as they’re accepted pretty much everywhere. (This saved my ass more than I would like to admit!)
- If better credit cards give you more travel perks & insurance, upgrade your credit card! You could get reimbursement if your plane is late or your luggage are lost. If you have a choice, get an airline credit card to rack up points that’ll make you fly! (sounds nice, huh? ✈️)
- On that note, always have a “backup” credit card with you. You can usually ask for a second credit card for free.
- You can also get a fee-waiver travel card such as Revolut that won’t charge you foreign transaction fees, plus it comes with a handy app, and you can transfer money between friends easily.
- Make sure you know your credit card fees by heart: abroad transaction fee, conversion rate fee as well as withdrawal fee.
- Set up auto-reimbursement of your credit card and never pay late fees again. For instance, it could be 50$ every week. If you’re a nerd like me, you can even estimate how much you’ll spend during your trip and schedule your credit card payments accordingly. This will also easily let you know if you’re running under or over-budget. That’s something everyone should have set up, even when at home!
- Put all your Invoices on autopay so that you never have to worry about them. If something can’t be automated, then pay more than you owe to have a credit that’ll pay your future invoices!
Backup & Digitalize Important Documents
If I’m not mistaken, traveling involves moving from home hence not having access to your documents or even your laptop. You need a plan: backup & digitalize those important documents and assets. Why not even have systems in place to automate those backups?
- For your physical and digital documents, I strongly recommend Evernote as it ‘s really easy to scan documents and digital documents and more importantly search for them while abroad.
- For your important physical documents, you can give them to family or friends. Not only is it safer but they could make copies if needed.
- Whether you take it with you or not, make sure your laptop is backed up.
- Why not back up your website as well if you get hacked while hiking a volcano? I’ve talked about it in my productivity hacks article.
Insurance that Really Covers
Don’t play with insurance! Make sure you’re properly covered both at home and abroad:
- Get a travel insurance that covers you well (at least emergency medical expenses and repatriation if things go south and you get bitten by a tiger.
- Make sure your home is insured if you get stolen while you’re away.
- Third-party insurance is also a must-have.
- While you’re there, why not read your credit card insurance covering for once?
Communication while Abroad
What’s up with your phone and mail while you’re gone?
1️⃣ Email Stuff
- Activate your email auto-responder (even if you’ll check email). It can be as simple as mine:
Thank you for your email. I’m currently in Europe for holidays until January 10th. During this period I will have limited access to my email. Even if I occasionaly will read them, I will only answer the most important and urgent ones.
Thank you for your cooperation!Ambroise
2️⃣ Phone stuff
- Change your answer machine message and tell people to send you an email instead. See what I did there? 😉
- Put your phone on the lowest available plan so that you keep your phone number but get to keep your precious phone number. It will usually be a tablet data plan.
3️⃣ Mail Stuff
- When possible, set your invoices & mail to be sent to you by email, not classic mail. Seriously, are we in 2017?
- For the rest, either
- Get a very nice friend to pick up your mail who will send you pics of your letters (you’ll bring that friend something nice from your trip!)
- Forward your mail to an equally nice friend who will equally send you pics of your letters (you’ll bring that friend something equally nice from your trip!)
- Ask the post to hold your mail
- Forward your mail to a company that does Mail-to-PDF-to-your-email service
Hack your Home
Wouldn’t you rather have someone pay for your hotel AND take care of your place while you travel?
- Sell or give away stuff you don’t need. You’ll thank yourself later!
- You can also sublet your place while you’re away and have it pay your abroad accommodation as I usually do! I recommend Airbnb for a no-hassle, no-worry experience. If you choose to sublet your place via other ways, sign a contract and plan for payment amounts & dates (or better: everything beforehand) to avoid surprises.
- Whether your sublet your place or don’t, always give an extra key to a trustworthy friend.
- Have someone take care of your plants. RIP dear Cactus.
- Don’t hesitate to automate everything you can think of; it’s always good for traveling. IFTTT & Zapier are your friends, here is what they can automate for you!
- Don’t miss my next travel article about What & How to pack light: subscribe here!
What are YOUR Travel Checklist items? Comment 👇