A Passion for Travel, Part 6: Departure Checklist

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, 2006

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, 2006


Once you have a master trip calendar and are working through a travel planning checklist, reviewing a packing checklist, and making sure all travel technology is in order, thoughts turn to departure day.

It may sound complicated, but it’s just a calendar and three checklists (planning, packing, and departure), which cover ‘known items’.

Checklists save time, reduce stress, and leave us free to deal with unknowns or unexpected events, should they occur, as they often do when travelling.

Apartment Living – ‘Close the Door and Go’

In our past lives, before we met each other, Clive and I both owned houses which, like many in Australia, had a backyard swimming pool and a garden that required regular care and maintenance.

As part of our decision to share our lives and living space, we each sold our existing home and bought an apartment together.  We wanted a simpler lifestyle, and talked about our goals of travelling together and being able to ‘just close the door and go’.

After years of home ownership, I adore living in the apartment.  It’s a secure building, and we are blessedly free of many homeowner worries, and expenses.  But there are still certain departure tasks that must be done before a big trip.

As opposed to the travel planning checklist, which we use in the weeks leading up to departure, the tasks below are done in the 24 hours before we leave, either the night before or the same day, depending on flight time.

Online Check-In

Korbel Winery, near Santa Rosa, California, 2006

Korbel Winery, near Santa Rosa, California, 2006

I highlight this item because of its relatively recent importance in our ‘travel life’.

We used to get to airports early mainly to confirm (or in some archaic instances, to get) seat assignments.

On several trips, we were disappointed in what seemed a meagre selection available.  Then
we noticed, when boarding, that everyone from children to white-haired grandmothers were holding home print-outs of their boarding passes.

Since then, we’ve added online check-in to our master trip calendar, the day before every flight.  It’s also now number one on our departure checklist.

Departure Checklist

This is, yet again, another simple spreadsheet, with only two columns:

(1)  Who does it – both (meaning either of us), Carolyn, or Clive

(2)  Task

Checklist items:

1.    Both – online check-in 24 hours before

2.    Both – pay last-minute bills (I’ll cover our ‘bill monitor’ in a future post)

3.    Both – mailbox key to neighbours

4.    Both – park car in best place

5.    Both – empty and lock car (including e–tag)

6.    Both – run dishwasher

7.    Both – empty dishwasher

8.    Both – empty fridge

9.    Both – garbage out, including bathrooms and study

10. Both – recycling out – both bins

11. Clive – remove local items from wallet (I do mine earlier; Clive does his while packing)

12. Clive – set DVD for recording favourite shows

13. Clive – turn off hot water

14. Clive – turn off selected power

15. Clive – lock windows

16. Carolyn – hide jewelry

17. Carolyn – move cuticle scissors to checked luggage.  This item was added after I lost count of how many times little pairs of nail scissors were confiscated from my carry-on when we went through security.

18. Carolyn – organise water bottles and fruit/food from home (more about airports and security in my next post)

19. Carolyn – call Mom.  Despite having mobile phones (not to mention having been an adult for many years), I’ve kept up a tradition which started when I went to college, of ringing my mother just before we leave for the airport.  She appreciates it, and I know I’m lucky we have a close relationship.

20. Call for taxi

21. Close the door and go!

Even with check-in taken care of online, we still like to get to the airport early rather than late.

Time at the airport will be the subject of my next post.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Fog, 2006

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Fog, 2006

More to come.

Related posts:
  A Passion for Travel, Part 1:  Introducing the Series
  A Passion for Travel, Part 2:  The Master Trip Calendar
  A Passion for Travel, Part 3:  Travel Planning Checklist
  A Passion for Travel, Part 4:  Packing without Panic
  A Passion for Travel, Part 5:  Travel Technology

4 Responses

  1. My husband has made a check list of things to do before we leave our house. Because we are gone for so long it includes things like turning off the water and unplugging everything electrical. I’m always passionate about making sure the garbage is empty-hate coming home to that smell-that the kitchen is clean, and that the bed is made.

  2. Linda, I agree about the garbage! Also making the bed is very good 🙂

  3. I love your Golden Gate picture…I wish I’d been able to catch it in the fog.

  4. Elizabeth, thank you!

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