Printable Preflight Travel Checklist

Your flights are booked, your trip is planned, the date of departure is approaching. Do you find yourself frazzled from the myriad of things to remember before heading to the airport to board your flight?

Whether you are flying out for a much needed vacation or traveling for business, making sure you are prepared takes a lot of the stress out of traveling. We want to help make your trip as enjoyable as possible. Here is the Preflight Checklist we put together to help us travel comfortably and stay at home on the go. Maybe you will find it helpful, too!

Printable Preflight Travel Checklist [Download]

We’ve provided links below where you can download the printable checklist to use as you get ready for your flight. But if you would rather just give it a glance, here you go.

To do the week before you travel…

  • Download your airline’s app

Airlines these days hook you up pretty good with their apps. Among other things, the app allows travelers to easily check flight status, check-in and get digital boarding passes, and even watch movies in flight.

  • Check baggage allowances

Maybe you will be on one of the few airlines that still allow you to check a bag without extra charges. Honestly, we’ve become accustomed to traveling with just a carry-on. It is so nice not having to worry about checking bags, but even better is not having to wait with the crowd eyeing the conveyor belt hoping that your luggage actually shows up.

  • Verify hotel and itinerary

It is always a good idea to make sure your reservations and itinerary are in order. Email yourself copies of reservations and receipts so they will be handy on your phone in case you need them.

  • Notify bank and credit cards of your travel plans

Trust us, you don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way. It is no fun for your funds to be placed hold in the middle of a trip. Notify your bank and credit card companies for the cards you plan to use while you are traveling. This way when charges suddenly pop up in a new location they know that it is you and not fraud.

  • Print or email yourself copies of ID, bank cards, and other important documents you would be lost without

Hopefully, you won’t resort to using them but in case any of these things do get lost or stolen you will be glad you have the phone numbers and account numbers handy.

  • Do your homework

Recon the neighborhood where you will be staying with TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. for cool places to eat and other good stuff. It is nice to get an idea of the lay of the land before you arrive.

  • Load/Unload your device

Download any books, music, apps, or maps onto your smartphone or tablet that you might want to have access to during your trip. And while you are at it, free up any extra space you can for all those awesome pics you will be taking.

  • Sign up for Uber 

This obviously only applies if you are headed somewhere that has Uber available. If you are headed to a major US city, Uber is a must. Headed to Central America, probably not. Download the Uber app and setup an account. Uber is just fun to play with if you have never used it. Aren’t you curious? Use this Uber coupon code for your first ride free (doing so gets us free rides, too …thanks!):


24 – 48 hours before departure

  • Check in with your airline

The day before your departure, now that you have downloaded your airline’s app, check-in and get your boarding passes sent to your phone or email. We used to print off the paper boarding pass ‘just in case’ but don’t bother anymore. You always have your phone on you, keep your boarding passes handy that way. One less thing to juggle.

  • Check the weather at your destination

With limited baggage allowances these days, the lighter you can pack the easier it will be to travel, although, nobody likes to be stuck unprepared. Sometime the week before you leave, check the weather forecast for your destination. Or maybe you have already looked into the climate of the region you will be visiting. Knowing what to expect weather wise will help you decide if you should pack those shorts, or if a rain jacket is in order. Or both.

  • Decide on needed wardrobe

Now that you’ve checked the weather forecast or climate information you can make an educated decision as to what to wear. Think layers and versatility. Keep in mind where you are headed and the kind of activities you will be doing. You don’t want to cut yourself short. Make sure you are prepared for situations you might find yourself in. At the same time, you don’t want to overpack. It is a real drag to carry around a bunch of extra weight you don’t need. Which leads to our next tip…

  • Pack like a minimalist

How many times have you come back from a trip, and set to work unpacking your bags, just to be reminded of all that stuff you thought you might need but didn’t give a second thought to once your trip was underway. Here you go… You have permission to leave that stuff at home! I always pack a book and/or magazine and a journal and pen. I always think I will get to use these things when I am out, but then I never do. Decide if you can go without extra items. With a smartphone, we can use the Kindle app for reading and Evernote for journaling. And bonus… you always pack your phone anyway!

  • What toiletries do you need?

If you are staying somewhere like the Hilton use their shampoo, conditioner, etc. Again, think minimalist. Don’t pack it if you don’t have to. However, this only works when staying in predictable places. It is a nice way to cut down on things to pack, but we don’t risk it if we are headed into an unknown situation.

  • Pack earbuds for in-flight

Even if you are not a big earbud user, stow a set just in case. Even if you don’t usually use them, they are nice to have so you can take advantage of the in-flight movie if there is one offered.

  • Chargers… For all your devices

It SUCKS to get where you are going and find you left your charger. Cell phone, tablet, laptop… Run through a mental checklist of electronics as you pack. Last time, we walked out the door having grabbed the chargers and completely spaced the little white one for the iPad. Oh well… we adapted.

At the airport…

  • Grab coffee (or food) after going through screening rather than before

If you want to be able to enjoy your coffee and maybe even take a snack on your flight, grab it after you go through the security checkpoints because they won’t let you keep it.

Give it over and enjoy the adventure!

As you are leaving for the airport, if you are anything like me, your mind is racing about things you might have forgotten. But really, at this point, if there is something you did forget, it probably wasn’t all that important.

You have planned, packed and prepared for your trip. Now, let go. Give it over, and enjoy the adventure!


Download a printable preflight checklist in PDF or Word.

What else do you do preflight to get ready for a trip? Share your tips in the comments below. We would love to hear how you make traveling easy!

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