Even if you're a frequent flier, the night before a trip can be chaotic. You might find yourself lying awake, wondering what you've forgotten. A mad dash to the airport in the morning can leave you starting your trip off on the wrong note. Developing a pre-trip routine can save you stress and ensure you're ready to go. Here are 10 things you should be doing the night before a trip.
Settle Your Pets
Whether you’ve booked a house sitter or a family member is to be entrusted with their care, it’s still a wrench to leave your beloved pets. The night before a trip, make a special fuss of them. Before the grocery store closes, check they have plenty of their favorite treats and you’ve remembered to stock up on food. Jot down anything that will help their carer stick to their routines: do they have a go-to toy, perhaps, or a favorite walk?
Make Sure All Devices are Backed Up
It’s so easy to take photos with our smartphone that sometimes we forget how much we’d have to lose if it was misplaced or stolen. Make sure that you back up your phone and other devices such as tablets before you leave – and if possible, throughout your trip. That way, any special memories will be preserved if you’re careless, forgetful or just downright unlucky while you’re away.
Charge Your Batteries
It’s easy to overlook this one, but there’s nothing more frustrating than a long layover in an airport with free WiFi if your batteries have died. Though some places are fitted with charging points, you can’t rely on this to be the case. Charge up devices and spare batteries the night before a trip. Don’t forget things that you don’t use every day at home, such as camera batteries. Once you’re done, pop that charger and an adapter straight in your bag so you don’t leave them behind.
Download or Print Out Maps
We’ve come to rely on our smartphones to navigate, but if you travel, you might find you can’t get a signal or data is prohibitively expensive. Check out data plans and local SIMs before you set off, but cover all bases by downloading the maps you know you’re going to use while you’re still at home. It’s also helpful to have a paper print out showing the location of your hotel plus its address, just in case you or your taxi driver can’t find it.
Run Through Your Itinerary
Whether you’ve designed your own itinerary or outsourced the job to a travel agent, go through your confirmations one last time to check they are all in order. If you’re traveling around, make sure you haven’t missed a night or booked a hotel you don’t need thanks to an overnight plane or train – a spreadsheet will help. Check in online, if you can, to save time at the airport. And did you remember to sort your airport parking and rental car?
Check You Have Enough Cash
It’s often easier to rely on credit and debit cards these days, but pack some cash just in case. Exchange kiosks at the airport rarely offer competitive rates. If you’ve forgotten to pre-order your holiday money from your bank, pop some of your own currency into a wallet to change when you arrive at your destination. If you plan to carry cards that you don’t use routinely, make sure you know their pin numbers and if required, inform your bank you’re going away so that they don’t mistake genuine transactions for fraud.
Check Your Medicines are in Date
Organize yourself a medical kit with any prescription medication you need to take plus everyday over the counter items to deal with headaches, sore throats and indigestion. For travel meds like diarrhea relief and rehydration salts, look at the use by dates to make sure they haven’t expired since your last trip.
Make Sure Your (Insert Item Here) is Packed
If you travel a lot for work, you’ll have a packing routine. When you’re prepping for that much-needed but much less frequent beach vacation, however, you’ll be at risk of going onto autopilot. Take a look in your case to make sure you’ve included those all-important holiday items – sunscreen, shorts, flip flops and a hat.
Pack Your Bags
Don’t leave your packing until the morning; even if you have a late flight, it’s nice not to be rushing around. Get out your case, give it a wipe over if it’s been in the attic a while and shake out any sand. Lay out your clothes. Pack versatile items that mix and match to cut down on the amount you need to carry. Roll soft items such as T-shirts and tuck socks into shoes. Leave out anything that might crease and save it to lay on top right before you leave.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Traveling is tiring, there’s no two ways about it. Even if you’re not flying long haul, you’ll enjoy your trip a great deal more if you get a good night’s sleep beforehand. If you have an early start, set two alarms five minutes apart. Make sure one is plugged into your main power and the other has a back up battery. You’ll sleep better if you’re not fretting about oversleeping.