Last-Minute Travel Checklist

by Paul Konrardy

Last-Minute Travel Checklist

Before You Leave

Make arrangements for your home, if you haven’t already done so.

  • Have a friend, family member or trusted neighbor check on your house, take care of pets, water your houseplants, take out the trash, get the mail and newspaper.

WHN TIP – Don’t Advertise Your Absence: Don’t cancel your newspaper or wait to take out the trash until you get home. You want your house to look lived in!

Reconfirm all your reservations.

  • Hotel Reconfirmed/Date/Person Spoke With:______________________________
  • Car Rental Reconfirmed/Date/Person Spoke With:_________________________
  • Train Reservations Reconfirmed/Date/Person Spoke With:___________________
  • Other Reservations Reconfirmed/Date/Person Spoke With:__________________

Reevaluate itinerary.

  • Make any necessary changes and leave at least one copy with a friend, family member or trusted neighbor.

Check the weather for your destination(s). Take out or add items to your luggage, if necessary. Worried about driving through certain weather hazards?

Inside Your Home

  1. Empty the refrigerator of items that might spoil – dairy, meat, and produce – and adjust the temperature to a lower setting.
  2. Unplug your toaster, coffeemaker, and any other kitchen appliances.
  3. Unplug electronic items – TV’s, radios, phones, and your computer to protect them if you have a storm while you’re gone.
    • If not unplugging your computer or other electronics, make sure your surge protectors are properly installed.
  4. Turn the water heater down to the lowest setting.
  5. Turn your air conditioner up in summer to protect pets, electronics, and other items.
  6. Turn your heat down or off in spring or fall.
  7. Set automatic light and radio timers.
  8. Leave shades or drapes as you normally do. This will make your house look lived-in.
  9. Put your valuables and jewelry in a safety deposit box or safe.

WHN TIP – Your Valuables: If you don’t have safe or safety deposit box, put your jewelry in a nondescript cardboard box in your closet. Why? Thieves won’t think to look there.

  1. Empty trash cans
  2. Lock all doors and windows including basement & garage.


  1. Bring in any mail or newspapers.
  2. Pick up any toys, tools, objects, ladders, etc. that might be in your yard.

Departure Day

  1. Do a quick car maintenance check before heading out on the road – check your oil and gas levels; check headlights, turn signals, brake lights, inside lights; test your brakes, horn, windshield wipers, etc.
  2. Double-check for driver’s license, auto insurance card, money, medicine and all bags.
  3. Double-check all locked doors and windows.

Photo Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

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