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6-12 Months Before Departure


  • Passports:

    Apply or renew early to avoid expediting fees. Passport expiration needs to be greater than 6 months past end date of travel, with at least 3 blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
  • Wardrobe:

    You have time to carefully plan your travel wardrobe.
  • Luggage:

    Now's the time to find or replace your luggage. Check all zippers, wheels & lining of older bags. Consider both checked & carry-on options.
  • Points:

    Look at all frequent flyer, hotel accounts, and credit card points for possible purchases toward trip.
  • Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check:

    Consider applying for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
  • Airfare:

    Shop airfare on various sites and consider various routes and airlines. No need to purchase yet unless fares are on sale.
  • Cancellation Insurance CFAR:

    If you want cancellation insurance (CFAR=cancel for any reason) on your airfare, you typically need to purchase the insurance within 14 days of purchasing the tickets.
  • Lodging:

    Staying with friends, at a hostel, or hotel? Research options, read reviews. Reservations can be made closer to departure, unless in a high demand area.
  • Popular Attractions:

    If these are on your must see list, purchase tickets early to insure availability. This can easily be taken care of closer to departure, if there is no risk of tickets selling out.
  • Time-off Requests:

    Reminder to turn in notice for time-off with employers, if needed.
  • House Sitters:

    Time to consider and research renting out your house/apt short-term, or employing a house sitter.



  • Required Immunizations:

    Research immunization requirements for your destination.
  • Visa Requirements:

    Research the visa requirements for your destination.
  • Airfare:

    Continue to shop pricing & routes, purchasing during sales.
  • Airline Issues:

    Join the frequent flyer account for the airline/alliance you are flying with. Also, be sure to secure seat assignments for all flights.
  • Luggage Allowance:

    Check your reservation and the airline website for luggage allowances for your trip. More info here.
  • Lodging:

    Make decisions & reservations. If staying in a hotel, use hotel member account or join to obtain points for stay.
  • Activities:

    Use sites such as Trip Adviser(link) to research activities & restaurants for destination. Hint: Read user reviews & comments for off the beaten path ideas.
  • House Sitters:

    Follow-up with house plans, if needed.
  • Credit Cards:

    Check all credit cards/debit cards that you plan on taking on the trip for expiration dates - order new cards if needed.
Download the
Trip Planning Mini-Guide here

1 month before departure


  • Medical:

    Order Rx refills needed for trip. Complete required recommended immunization series.
  • Visa:

    Apply for Visa (if required).
  • Airline:

    Log in to airline website with flight confirmation and check for any route/flight changes. Set up text notifications from airlines.
  • Airports/Airline Clubs:

    If itinerary has long layovers, research airports & airline club availabiity.
  • Packing:

    Start pre-packing in luggage.
  • Ground Transportation:

    Reserve rental car, arrange airport transfer, research city bus lines, train, taxi/Uber availability
  • Wardrobe:

    Make final selections & purchases of needed travel clothing.
  • House Sitters:

    Follow-up with house plans, if needed.
  • Accessories:

    Purchase any needed accessories, adaptors, travel size items.
  • Money Exchange:

    Order foreign bills from local bank, if desired.
Download the
Trip Planning Mini-Guide here

1 week before departure


  • Mail:

    Put mail on hold.
  • Banking:

    Alert bank & credit cards with foreign travel dates.
  • Reconfirm:

    Reconfirm airfare, lodging reservations, ground transportation.
  • Travel Insurance:

    Purchase travel insurance, if not previously purchased with CFAR Insurance.
  • Packing:

    Finish any purchases of missing itmems. Pack checked bags and check weight.
  • Register with Embassy:

    US Citizens, register with the US Department of State online with the STEP program. Locate the contact info for the US Embassy at destination.
  • Empty House Issues:

    Confirm house sitter, dog sitter, lawn care, cancel newspaper delivery.
Download the
Trip Planning Mini-Guide here

1 day before departure


  • Update Friends/Family:
  • Give friends & family copy of final itinerary.

  • Entry Paperwork:
  • The following information is typically needed for entry paperwork - Dates in destination, lodging phone & address, reason for trip.

  • Transportation to Airport:
  • Confirm transportation to airport & parking, if needed.

  • Transportation at destination:
  • Have ground transportation contact numbers with travel documents in carry on.

  • Travel documents:
  • Print copies of itinerary, travel insurance, hotel reservations, passports, credit cards. Keep copies securely tucked in carry-on. Scan & email backup copies to yourself.
    Download the
    Trip Planning Mini-Guide here

    departure day!


  • Passport:
  • Put passport in neck pouch or other RFID carrier.

  • Travel documents:
  • Put copies of itinerary, travel insurance, hotel reservations, passports, credit cards. Keep copies securely tucked in carry-on, with itinerary available at checkin.

  • Luggage:
  • Carry on & checked bags (previously packed). Lock checked bags with TSA locks. Put luggage tags on all bags with name, cell, & hotel name/number at destination.

  • Airport Arrival:
  • Plan on arriving at departure airport 2.5 hours in advance of departure time.
    Download the
    Trip Planning Mini-Guide here