The Best Vacation Planning Check List

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Family vacation planning starts way before we head to the airport or get in the car. It can be exciting and build anticipation. Managing all the deadlines and getting to things as soon as you should can be stressful. So here a check list to keep you organized. It remembers all the things you have to do so you can get them done quickly and move on to the fun part: Looking forward to your trip with your kids.

Print it: vacation planning check list

Like our Planning List? Check out our Packing Lists!

Vacation Planning To-Do List

 Have we forgotten anything on this to-do list? Tell us Below!


3+ months out

___ Choose your destination

___ Book major lodging (hotel, campsite, home rental)

___ Book air travel

___ Reserve car rental

___ Book European trains or domestic trains for peak weeks

___ Book must-see and popular attractions/tours

___ Check passports for expiration dates. Renew/apply as needed

___ Research, apply for visasas needed for foreign travel

Don’t forget travel insurance! Allianz Travel offers insurance to protect your vacation from bad weather, illness, missed connections, lost luggage and more.

1+ months out

___ Plan an approximate daily itinerary and driving route

___ Book secondary or in-transit lodging

___ Book non-peak domestic train travel

___ Book attractions that need prior ticket purchase

___ Haircuts for you and/or the kids

___ Schedule pet boarding or drop-by care as needed


1 week out

­___ Pre-packing laundry

___ Pack (with our Packing List)

___ Schedule a mail hold

___ Suspend newspaper delivery

___ Call credit card companies to inform them you are traveling

___ Schedule any utility/service suspensions (for extended travel)

___ Check the car for tire pressure, oil, wiper fluid, etc.

___ Make 2 photocopies of passports, drivers license, credit cards, AAA card for emergencies (pack them separate from your originals and leave a set at home)

___ Email your travel details to friends/family as needed

___ Schedule salon/do at-home pedicure (beach and wedding travel)


36 hours out

___ Confirm flight, lodging, car rental as needed

___ Print and pack boarding passes as needed

___ Book your taxi (airport)

___ Fill the gas tank

___ Pack passports, tickets, online reservations/receipts as needed

___ Pack (or have kids pack) their carry-on/backseat bag (games, toys, art supplies, snacks, hoodie, blanket, cuddly toy)

___ Pack your own carry-on/car bag (maps, guidebooks, water, snacks, glasses, sunglasses, wallet, reading, shawl/sweater/hoodie.

___ Charge up laptops, tablets, phones, mp3 players, e-readers, cameras.

___ Pack laptops, tablets, phones, e-readers, mp3 players, cameras (extra memory card) and chargers.


Walking Out the Door

___ Dishwasher: On or empty?

___ Plant watered?

___ Kitchen appliances: off or unplugged?

___ Electronics: off or unplugged?

___ Are there wet clothes in the washing machine?

___ Luggage

___ Carry-ons

___ Essential documents, cash, credit cards, eyeglasses, phone

___ Has everyone gone to the bathroom one last time?

___ Essential outerwear, plane-wear and shoes for everyone

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Our vacationing planning check list begins when you start planning your family trip and ends when you walk out the door. Everything you need to prepare your family to travel.

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