Mar 8, 2017

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Things to do Before Leaving Home on Your Vacation

planning to travelDepending on where you live, heading off on a European tour can be major exercise.

Preparation is maybe not such a task if you live in Europe and are just taking a few days to visit a neighbouring country or two, but if you are in the States,  Asia or down under it will be a longer trip and a few things need to be handled before you leave.


Your Passport 

It might seem obvious but take a good look at your passport expiry date. In some cases you might have trouble getting in to some countries if your passport is getting close to expiring. If your return date is within 3 months of the expiry date, renew your passport before you leave and avoid frustration and disappointment.


travel insuranceMake sure that your travel  insurance,  home and contents insurance, life insurance, and health care covers are all  up to date, and have all the cover you need.

Prepare a schedule of all the valuables you are taking with you. In the case of electronic devices include model and serial numbers. Take clear photographs of all valuables  both as an aid to Police, and for your Insurance Company in case anything is stolen. Obviously these need to be both printed and digital, just in case it is your device that is stolen or lost.

Credit Cards  and Debit Cards   

Make sure that you have all of the necessary Pins for your cards. It might pay to check with the card companies to see if there are any nasty surprises in relation to fees in the countries that you are planning to visit.  Whilst think about banks etc, talk to yours and make sure you have your a direct phone number so you can call them collect if there is an emergency


If there are specific hotels, tours, restaurants etc that you simply must get into during the trip, make your reservations early, and double check them. In peak seasons you will almost certainly be disappointed otherwise.

Driving Holidays

Traveling by carIf you plan on hiring a car you will need a valid drivers licence. Many countries also require an International Drivers Permit, so play it safe and organise one for all drivers before you leave.

Mobile Phone

Wherever you are in Europe, buy a local data plan  or have your devices completely disconnected from the net.  I returned from my European adventure to find a data bill of over $3,000. If this happens there is nothing your local provider can do for you as all the charges are straight from Europe.

Before you leave be sure that your phones have International Calling enabled.

Travelling with Children

Traveling with childrenIt might seem obvious, but make sure all of their documents are in order also. If only one parent is travelling with the children you will need a Letter of Consent from the other parent, preferably notarized, and if any of your children are adopted you will also need the adoption documents as well.


Whilst on the subject of documents, have a back up copy of everything, preferably both photocopies and digital.


Make sure that everyone travelling has a check up with both Doctor and Dentist, and attend to anything that needs to be done before departure.  Also ensure that you have sufficient  supplies of all prescription medications. It is also smart to get details of your prescription eyewear (glasses or contacts lenses), just in case.

Rail Travel

If travelling by rail inside Europe, organise your rail pass before you leave home.


There are numerous Apps that will assist you with Maps, Translation, Timetables and Weather. Install them all before you leave


Give a trusted friend or relative a complete copy of your Itinerary, and arrange agreed contact methods and timetables. This person will alert the authorities for you if contact is not maintained and  Consular assistance is required.


Ready Things at Home


Children cleaning the house before travelingIt is hard enough returning to a stuffy home after an extended trip, without walking in to additional issues that come from lack of preparation.

Remove all open or perishable foods from your pantry and refrigerator.  If the Refrigerator is to be turned off, empty it and the freezer completely, and fully defrost before you leave.

Set blinds and window furnishings so as to look “normal” and allow the timed lighting to be seen without granting too much visual access to anyone snooping around.

If you have a monitored alarm system, make sure it is activated and the monitoring service is fully aware of your movements.

Make sure all laundry is done, and that all floors, be they carpet or rugs, have been toughly cleaned with your best vacuum for carpet 2017. So that when you return, your home won’t have too much dust which could be bad for your health.

Follow these steps and your European tour will be a memorable for all the right reasons, you will minimize disappointments whilst away, and return to find things just as you like them


mailbox outside the houseThis list can be extensive, but make sure that your mail is being held or directed to a suitable person, prepay any regular accounts, stop newspaper deliveries etc.  Ensure that there are functioning deadlocks on all windows and doors. Install a timer and link it to lighting within the home.

Make sure that there will be no external signals that you are away.  Have a neighbour take you bins in and out as usual, make sure someone is mowing the lawn etc. have your car garaged if necessary.



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