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Top 10 Checklist Before Leaving for the Airport

Anyone who has left the house for the airport knows that moment of panic as you pull into the parking lot: What did I forget? Is the iron/toaster/hair dryer unplugged? Did I put those shoes I wanted in the bag? There’s always some nagging voice in the back of your head trying to shake you up with doubts.

As someone who traveled – usually by air – about three weeks out of every month for more than six years, I became somewhat of an expert on packing light, with the minimal amount of risk of getting stopped at security. I also quickly discovered the difference between essential and unnecessary items to worry about and check on before leaving home.

A list of what is essential to do before leaving for the airport requires understanding what is NOT essential. It is NOT essential to check your toiletries case five times to see if you’ve remembered your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, and other bathroom items. Unless you’re traveling to the remotest of places, all of these items will be available to purchase, or complimentary in most hotels, at your destination. Throw what you think need in and don’t worry about it. What you DO need to be sure of is that you have any medication that you won’t be able to obtain at your destination, or that you may need while traveling.

The same holds true for clothing. If you’re traveling in the US, rest assured, virtually every town has a strip-mall row, complete with a few Targets, Wal-Marts, and K-Marts, where you can get any underwear, socks, or shoes you may have forgotten. For travel outside the US, again, unless you are going to a remote location, there will be similar stores at your destination. Pack your clothes with a list of what you want to take, but once the suitcase is closed, don’t sweat it. What you DO need to be sure of is items like prescription glasses, hearing aids, support hose, braces, or specialty items are packed.

If you are traveling for business, be sure you have what you need for any meetings, but again, in this day and age, that isn’t very much. Files and paper you’ve forgotten can be emailed from the office, copies of any paper you forgot can be printed at any office supply store, and your cell phone keeps you in constant touch.

While you can travel far without cash these days, what you CAN’T do without are travel documents – your identification, passport, and credit card. If your wallet is empty of cash, don’t worry. There are ATMs on every corner all around the world – again, with the exception of the most remote destinations.

As you can see, what you take with you – other than items that can’t be purchased elsewhere – becomes a non-issue. The top-10 things to remember are those things that you will have no control over and no ability to change once you have left. Those are items in your home. Did you leave a key with the neighbor or pet-sitter for entry into the house in your absence? Have you arranged to have mail and other signs of your absence removed on a daily basis? Are all electrical appliances not only off, but unplugged?

The following check list of ten most important things to do before leaving for the airport won’t keep you from wondering what you forgot, but they will ensure you haven’t forgotten anything too important.

Top 10 Checklist Before You Leave for the Airport

  1. You have your travel documents (drivers license, passport, ticket (although most people have e-tickets these days), and itinerary) and they’re readily accessible.
  2. All electronics are unplugged.
  3. Pets are taken care of – either at the boarders, or the pet-sitter has a key.
  4. Essential, irreplaceable medical items are packed – prescription medications, support hose, prescription glasses, hearing aids, braces, mouth guards, etc.
  5. You have confirmed your flight. This can save hours of waiting at the airport if your flight has been delayed or changed!
  6. Doors (including garage) and windows are locked.
  7. Electronic timers are set for lights, or arrangements have been made for a neighbor/friend to turn lights on/off so house doesn’t look empty.
  8. Arrangements have been made for mail, packages, and newspapers to be picked up each day to ensure house doesn’t look empty.
  9. Power cords for recharging electronics are packed. Be sure you can recharge your cell phone, camera, and computer while on the road. These items are usually brand and model specific and so may be difficult to replace or find an alternative for while on the road.
  10. Kiss your loved ones. Not that you want to panic that it could be the last time you see them every time you walk out the door, but whether you’re going to the airport for an extended absence, to work for the day, or to the store for thirty minutes, there’s nothing more important than letting those you love know it. Always kiss them and tell them you love them when you leave their presence.
  11. In addition, you should be able to make sure that all your bookings have been made properly. For instance, if you are travelling to Denver, always ensure that you have booked aspen to Denver airport shuttle or vice versa.