A Month Before a Flight
Double-check passports and visas
While you should apply for passports and visas well in advance of a trip abroad—since those applications can take weeks to process—make sure to double-check the terms of your visa and the expiration date of your passport about a month or two before your trip (expedited passports can take up to three weeks to process and come with an added fee). If, gasp, there’s something wrong, you have time to try and fix it.
Book your stay
If you haven’t already made plans for where you’re going to sleep at night, now is the time. Peruse the best Airbnbs in an area of your choice, look at hotels with rave reviews, or even see about the best places to set up a tent. Whatever your lodging choice may be, get that all squared away.
Make a reservation for any popular activities
Maybe you want to go to a buzzed-about restaurant in New York City, or perhaps you’re itching to take the train to Machu Picchu. If a popular activity is on your list of things to do, make sure you reserve it if it requires reservation.
A Week Before a Flight
Reach out to loved ones in the area
If you’re traveling somewhere where friends, family or even acquaintances live, give them a heads up so that they can possibly spend time with you. Notifying them ahead of time will help the both of you.
Confirm vacation time with work.
You should officially inform your office and other work related areas at this time. Make sure you’re wrapped up any projects ahead of your getaway and let them know the parameters of your work schedule while on vacation. Perhaps you might want to check in on a certain day if something is really pressing.
Make two copies of your passport, immunization card, visa, and driver’s license. Keep one pack of copies at home and another pack separate from the originals as you travel.
Buy any necessary clothing
Let’s say that you need a good pair of snow boots and a heavy jacket before your trip or a carry- on bag and travel-size toiletries. Give yourself enough time to shop for these items in person or for the items to arrive by mail.
Research daily things to do
Whether you like to travel with a strict schedule or you’d rather leave big chunks of time open to serendipity, it’s a good idea to have a list of things in mind for what you’d like to do. It can be visiting a certain area, seeing a famous monument, or wandering through a beach.
A Few Days Before a Flight
Confirm hotel or accommodations.
Reach out to your home-stay host or hotel and ensure that your reservation is set and ready to go. Also, ask when check-in is so that you can plan ahead.
Research public transportation.
Going to your accommodation right after getting down from the plain, being jet-lagged. Make sure you spend a few days before your flight researching your destination’s public transportation. What’s the route from the airport? How much does it cost? Is there a different night schedule? You can also check to see if there are ride-sharing services in the area, and if so, what the difference in cost may be.
Now would be the right time to put out all of the clothes, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics you think you’ll need for your trip. Spend some time doing some edits and spot anything else you might need and discard those you won’t need.
The Day Before a Flight
At this point, you should know what to take or leave for your trip. Make sure you finish packing
Put together food for the plane
Eating outside can be expensive. You can save yourself lots of money if you pack an easy meal or a few snacks for a mid-flight feast. This is also a good idea if you have any dietary restrictions too.
Place all necessary paperwork in your carry on. It’s easy to get baffled right before leaving for the airport. Make sure you place your passport, ID, plane ticket, hotel reservations, copies, and any other necessary items—like the address of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate—in your carry-on bag the night before your departure date.
Hours Before a Flight
- Turn off the water in your home, if possible, and set timers for your lights.
- Do some stretches. By stretching ahead of your flight, you’ll keep cramps at bay.
- Eat something substantial.
- Drink lots of water.