You plan your trips months in advance. You scour the internet looking for the best deals on airfare and hotel rooms, and you check out all of Rick Steves’ guides from the library. You plan your vacation days meticulously, scheduling every meal and every tour down to the very last detail.
But the night before your scheduled flight, you can’t sleep. Even though you packed your suitcase the night before (and then repacked it several times), you can’t shake the nervous feeling that you’ve forgotten something.
Then you start to worry that your lack of sleep from anxiety will make you sleep through the alarm, like the family from “Home Alone.” You have visions of yourself waking up half an hour before your flight, forgetting your carry-on, and sprinting through the airport with bedhead-only to miss your flight.
You also worry about forgetting to properly close up your house (another “Home Alone” nightmare) so that burglars tamper with your belongings. And no matter what you do, sleep and peace of mind won’t come to you.
To avoid anxiety in the moments leading up to your big trip, read our last-minute travel checklist. We’ve arranged all of the things you’re most likely to forget when you feel rushed, so take a few minutes the night before your dream vacation and scan it over.
1. Check for All Documents
Put your passport and boarding pass in your purse or right next to the door where you’ll see it on your way out. Though you can live without your favorite outfit on vacation, you won’t get far without your ID or your credit cards.
Even if you planned your entire trip online, you also want to have physical proof of your reservations in case you wind up stranded somewhere without Wi-Fi. Take the time to print out your confirmation emails for any hotels, guided tours, or rental cars that you’ve paid for in advance.
2. Pack the Items You Need to Use the Night Before
Your toothbrush, phone charger, and deodorant fall into the category of items most likely left behind because you need to use them right before you leave. To make sure you don’t forget these essentials, pack them right after you use them last. Some travelers even go so far as to keep their phone charger plugged into their phone so that the two never separate.
For other essential items, like extra underwear or your DLSR camera, put them in an outside pocket of your carry-on luggage or in your purse where you can easily spot them on your way out the door.
3. Make Sure You Have the Phone Numbers You Need
Check through your phone contacts or your old-school planner for the babysitter, the pet sitter, your insurance agent, your mom, your credit card service, your travel agent, and maybe even your boss. When you remember that your child needs medicine before he or she goes to sleep, or when you realize you need to explain your strategy to your boss before a board meeting, you’ll feel glad to have all the numbers in one easy-to-find place.
Also, make sure to transfer your phone plan if you intend to leave the country.
4. See If Your Flight Has Been Delayed
You don’t need to rush to the airport if your flight leaves an hour after its scheduled time. Check the airline’s website the night before you leave, and then double check a couple hours before takeoff.
If you discover that you have extra time, you’ll feel more relaxed. You’ll also be able to grab a bite to eat before you check into security, or you can play with your child before you say your final goodbyes.
5. Turn off the Lights in Your Apartment
If you don’t want to pay for utilities while you’re out of town, walk around your house and turn off lights and close all windows.
For security reasons, you may choose to leave a porch light on to give the impression that the house still has surveillance, and a single light won’t cost you too much. Don’t forget to close and lock your doors as a last precaution.
6. Call a Taxi
You need to arrive at the airport two hours early for a domestic flight and three hours early for an international flight. If you plan to take a red-eye, or if you don’t want to deal with the stress of airport traffic, call a taxi or shuttle service. A local company will time your arrival just right, and you’ll enjoy a relaxing backseat ride without fear of showing up late.
Travel should provide you with an exciting new experience-not nerves and anxiety. When you prepare adequately in the moments leading up to your vacation, you’ll feel confident that you can take on whatever comes your way on your trip. Remember these tips before your next flight, and keep reading our blog for more travel insights.