Your New & Huge Checklist of Things to Do on Vacation--and Before!

Prepare for the perfect family trip with our guide on essential things to do before leaving for vacation to have a stress-free time with your loved ones.

Your New & Huge Checklist of Things to Do on Vacation--and Before!

So many seemingly insignificant things can cause your entire family vacation to flop. Often, we’re more focused on all the vacation activities we’ll enjoy once we get to our destination. And that’s good; you should be excited about an upcoming trip. But it’s the getting there that needs to be planned down to the last bit! Only then will you be able to have a stress-free time.

And that’s what we’ll take care for you in this blog. Use our readymade checklists to figure out what you need to do before & while on vacation:

What’s in this Blog

  • Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation
  • Things to Do on Vacation

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation

Vacation preparations involve things to take care of from the time you look up where to go to when you return home! Does that sound like a bit much? That’s okay; we’ll tell you exactly how to complete yours successfully.

So, let’s begin with:

Planning Your Trip

Selecting the perfect destination

Consider the factors below when choosing your vacation spot:

  • Interests—what you want to enjoy once you’re there
  • Budget—how much money you can set aside just for this trip
  • Season—also ties in with the budget since off-season trips are less costly
  • Weather check—climate outlook for your travel dates
  • Whether our favorite places are family-friendly destinations

Want a more detailed look at the choice of destination? Check out this blog.

Booking accommodations and transportation

Your travel checklist should include securing lodging and transportation well in advance. Doing so ensures availability and potentially saves on costs.

It's a good idea to compare options and book the most suitable ones for your trip. Find out which sites give you the best options here.

Creating an itinerary

It’s best to sketch out an initial plan of your daily activities to make the most of your time at your chosen destination. When making such plans, mix up visits to must-see attractions with leisurely exploration.

You won’t overtire yourself if you can balance between adventure and relaxation. If it’s a long trip, plan slow days and list down things to do on your day off, such as uploading pictures, calling up family, planning the next few outfits, etc.

Here’s a sample itinerary to help flesh your trip out:

Day 1: Arrival
  • Arrive in the city and check into your hotel.
  • Begin exploring the city center.
Day 2: Landmarks and Museums
  • Visit iconic landmarks and museums.
  • Enjoy local dining in the evening.

Day 3: Day Trip
  • Take a short train or bus ride to a nearby town.
  • Explore the town's attractions and return to the city for dinner.

Day 4: Culture and History
  • Visit cultural and historical sites.
  • Attend a cultural performance or event.

Day 5: Nature and Relaxation
  • Take a short trip to a natural attraction.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities or relaxation.

Day 6: Further Exploration
  • Explore more local attractions and neighborhoods.
  • Try out the local cuisine.

Day 7: Last Day
  • Visit markets or shop local brands.
  • Explore any remaining points of interest and enjoy a farewell dinner.

Family vacations are awesome, but you know what’s even more awesome? Knowing the types of holiday pictures that should go in your vacation album.

Packing Smart

Making a packing list

Put together a detailed packing list to ensure you don't forget any essentials. Start this list well in advance of your trip to avoid last-minute rush and potential forgetfulness.

Organizing your essentials

Deciding which outfits should go into your suitcase? Consider versatile clothing items you can mix and match for the maximum outfit options & minimal luggage weight. Other essentials, like chargers, cash/cards, etc. go in your carry-on for quick & easy access.

Packing tips and tricks

Utilize these packing techniques to optimize space & keep everything organized:

  1. Start with a well-organized list.
  2. Roll clothes to save space & minimize wrinkles.
  3. Packing Cubes = better organization.
  4. Protect things from dirty shoes with shoe bags or shower caps.
  5. Either opt for travel-sized toiletries or buy them at your destination.
  6. Downsize your makeup; stick to small containers.
  7. Fill empty spaces with socks or accessories.
  8. Compression Bags for jackets & other bulky stuff.

Home preparations before vacation

Returning to find your house has been broken into is the worst way to come down from your post-vacation high! Prevent that with these important recommendations:

Securing your home

Follow these tips to ensure your house will remain secure:

  • Ensure you lock all doors and windows.
  • Invest in a security system with cameras you can access through your phone.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property.
  • Install lights you can turn on and off remotely to create the illusion of an occupied home.

Handling mail and deliveries

Remotely operated lights won’t keep burglars if they can see a mail pile-up in front of your door! So, do one of these:

  • Postpone scheduled deliveries.
  • Have your neighbor hold the mail, or alternatively, ask friends to collect your mail.

Arranging for pet care

Make arrangements for the care of your pets while you're away. You can choose to:

  • Hire a pet sitter.
  • Booking a stay at a boarding facility.
  • Request friends/family to care for your furry companions.

Financial Considerations

It’s best to be ready for everything, from knowing how much you can comfortably spend on a family trip to being prepared to shell out more cash for unseen emergencies.

Here’s what we recommend you do:

Budgeting for your trip

Set a clear budget for your vacation and stick to it by:

  • Dividing & researching costs for everything, including lodging, food, activities, transport, & souvenirs.
  • Prioritizing to spend on what matters most to you.
  • Using apps for expense tracking and currency conversion.
  • Reserving money for unforeseen costs.
  • Securing core bookings ahead for potential savings.
  • Dining on local cuisine to save.
  • Traveling during off-season or less busy times for reduced prices.
  • Comparing expected & actual expenses daily.

Packing foreign currency or travel cards

The most important recommendation from our bag of travel tips? Carry local currency/travel card. Doing so is convenient and potentially saves on currency exchange fees.

Taking out some cash for emergencies

Banking before vacation is not only advantageous but also necessary if you’re heading to these five countries where cash is still the preferred method of payment:

  • Morocco
  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines

Health and Safety

Want your trip to go smoothly without any visa hassles, someone falling ill, or misplacing important travel documents? Follow these tips:

Checking your travel insurance

Review your travel insurance policy so you can:

  • Understand your coverage for medical expenses, accidents, and potential loss of property.
  • Access contact information in case of emergencies.

Gathering essential documents

Organize these essential travel documents and store them where they’ll remain safe and easily accessible:

  • Passports
  • IDs
  • Visas
  • Plane tickets
  • Travel itineraries
  • Reservation confirmations

Vaccinations and medication

Check whether your destination requires specific vaccinations or medications. Consult your healthcare provider well in advance to ensure you have the necessary immunizations and prescriptions.

For instance, you may need these vaccinations depending on where you’re traveling to:

  • Africa and South America: Yellow fever, rabies, & cholera.
  • Saudi Arabia (Hajj Pilgrimage): Meningococcal meningitis.
  • Asia: Japanese encephalitis, typhoid, & hepatitis B.
  • Africa & Asia: Polio.

Final Checks

You’re almost done with the things you need to do before leaving for a vacation. Just a couple of final checks to make you travel-ready!

Confirming reservations and travel details

Confirm these details to prevent unexpected issues:

  • Bookings
  • Flight times
  • Accommodation reservations
  • Special arrangements, such as hotel-airport pickups

Turning off appliances and utilities

Do these before leaving home to save energy & reduce accidents:

  • Electronics unplugging
  • Turn off lights
  • Switch off utilities

Packing a carry-on with essentials

Pack a small carry-on bag with essentials, such as:

  • Medications
  • Chargers
  • A change of clothes
  • Travel documents
  • Cash/cards

Having these items easily accessible can be invaluable in case of delays or lost luggage.

Informing a trusted friend or family member

Share these details with a trusted friend or family member to ensure someone you trust is aware of your whereabouts and can assist in case of emergencies:

  • Travel plans
  • Itinerary
  • Emergency contacts

Had enough? Don’t worry; we’ve summarized all the things to do before leaving for vacation into a handy checklist below:

Your things-to-do-before-going-on-vacation checklist

Have you completed your office tasks before vacation? Did you check off everything on the list above? Then, it’s time you found out about:

Things to Do on Vacation

Knowing what to do allows you to make the most out of your multi-generational family trips. You’ve already done most of the work by creating an itinerary & booking everything beforehand.

Let’s see what other tips we have in store for you:

Arrival and Settling In

So, you’ve crossed the tarmac and are now officially on vacation! What should your next steps be? Do you drop off your bags at the hotel and embark on your first sightseeing trip? Or, do you stay in your room to lose the exhaustion from traveling?

We may have some family vacation ideas:

Make the most of your first day

Prioritize relaxation over travel fatigue. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean staying in, you can also do the following things:

  • Take a leisurely stroll
  • Indulge in local cuisine
  • Unwind by the beach
  • Join a city tour for an overview of the area's history and landmarks.

And if you’re hitting the beach, use this guide to take great pics.

Familiarize yourself with the surroundings

The better you know your surroundings, the smoother your vacation experience will be. So, don’t forget to check the location of nearby attractions and essential amenities digitally before venturing outside.

Do this to get a bird’s eye view of your destination:

  1. Find history & facts on Wikipedia.
  2. Use Google Maps to figure out key locations and their proximity.
  3. Talk to locals, friends in the area, or your hotel staff.
  4. Skim through Reddit for city-specific insights.
  5. Browse Zillow’s housing options to learn about neighborhoods.
  6. Check the local Chamber of Commerce’s website for resources.
  7. Put Google Search to good use to find specific local events, such as activities for families with young kids.

Unpack and get comfortable

Unpack & arrange your essentials for easy access. Organize the things you'll need first, like toiletries, change of clothes, or board games for vacation to keep the kids busy.

Exploring Local Cuisine

What good is a trip to Japan if you forget to indulge in Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream? Or Sicilian Arancini while sojourning in Italy? Or…you get the drift!

Have delicious gastronomic adventures with the help of these tips:

Try local dishes and beverages

Want food-related fun vacation ideas? Begin by immersing yourself in the local food scene. Try signature dishes and beverages. Then, seek out local restaurants and street vendors for authentic flavors.

Dining etiquette and tips

Respect local dining customs, such as tipping practices and table manners. Engaging with locals can provide insights into cultural etiquette.

Exploring food markets and street vendors

While it’s true that food markets and street vendors offer a culinary adventure, you wouldn’t want to eat something that disagrees with your gut.

So, use these guidelines when savoring street food specialties:

  1. Opt for crowded vendors favored by locals.
  2. Pick clean and well-maintained setups.
  3. Go for food prepared on the spot since it’d likely be fresh.
  4. Consume thoroughly cooked meats/seafood.
  5. Go for peeled or cooked vegetarian/vegan options.
  6. Limit the use of exposed sauces.
  7. Drink sealed bottled water.
  8. Skip food that appears/tastes off.
  9. Don't overeat.
  10. Be ready for spice with a cooling drink.
  11. Trust the local opinion about stalls, foods, etc.

Sightseeing and Activities

You know you can’t visit Paris & not go see the architectural wonder that is the Eiffel Tower! It may be plain in design, crowded, & cost a pretty penny, but it is worth at least one visit. In other words, don’t miss out on seeing the must-see attractions no matter where you go.

That said, ending up in front of a hidden gem can be equally rewarding! Like being in on a local, well-kept secret. So, leave some space in your itinerary for off-the-beaten-path excursions.

Try dividing & conquering by checking out as many of these as you can:

Must-visit attractions

Prioritize must-visit attractions over other places.

The usual haunts for travelers include:

  1. Historical Landmarks
  2. Museums
  3. City Parks
  4. Local Markets
  5. Architectural Wonders
  6. Religious Sites
  7. Food Markets
  8. Waterfront Areas
  9. Shopping Districts
  10. Theaters & Music Halls
  11. Gardens
  12. Observation Decks/Viewpoints

Unique experiences and tours

Look to resources like local guides & Reddit if you want to have unique experiences.


  • Cultural tours
  • Eco-adventures
  • Secret gardens
  • Tucked-away cafes
  • Lesser-known spots

Here are a few examples of you may know about (Popular Spot), but do you also know about (Lesser Known Place):

  • You may know about Rome's Colosseum, Vatican City, and Pantheon, but do you also know about Matera's ancient cave dwellings?
  • You may know about Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and La Rambla, but do you also know about Ronda's dramatic cliffside town?
  • You may know about Kyoto's historic temples like Kinkaku-ji and Fushimi Inari Shrine, but do you also know about Takayama's preserved old town in the Japanese Alps?
  • You may know about Bangkok's Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and vibrant street markets, but do you also know about Pai, the bohemian mountain town with waterfalls and hot springs?
  • You may know about Dubrovnik's (Croatia) medieval walls, historic Old Town, and Adriatic Sea views, but do you also know about Plitvice Lakes' natural beauty with cascading lakes and waterfalls?

Outdoor adventures and recreation

Outdoor enthusiasts can embrace recreational activities and add an adrenaline rush to their trips with:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Zip-lining
  • Snorkeling
  • Hot air ballooning.
  • Paragliding
  • Scuba diving

P.S. It’s good to try & push your boundaries, for instance, by hiking to remote locations. Even though, such adventures create lasting memories, always ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Take precautions, such as noting down numbers of emergency services, informing your hotel reception about your plans, etc.

Nature enthusiasts

Whenever you’re planning to engage with wildlife as part of your group trip activities, do so ethically.

Some options you can try include:

  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Wildlife sanctuaries
  • Safaris

Find out more about eco-travel here.

Relaxation and Wellness

Your trip shouldn’t be all about sightseeing & binging on great food. Think about the following to recenter & relax your body & mind:

Spa and wellness activities

When going to a spa, opt for a local tradition with ingredients unique to the place you’re visiting, such as a Balinese massage or a Moroccan hammam. Also, check out hot springs for instant rejuvenation.

Yoga and meditation

Attend a local yoga or meditation class to unwind. Practicing in a different setting can be a unique and calming experience.

Tranquility in nature

Nature lovers can find solace in serene natural surroundings through:

  • Long walks capturing scenic photographs
  • Drawing/sketching/painting while there

Cultural Immersion

For a deeper and more authentic dive into your destination’s culture, consider:

  • Attending cultural events, such as music performances & theater, and festivals.
  • Learning the local language and customs.
  • Meeting locals and making friends
  • Taking International cooking classes

Souvenirs and Shopping

Wondering what to do on vacation now that you’ve had your fill of sightseeing & are packed to the gills with delicious, local food? How about shopping?

And while shopping may come easily to you, it also pays to keep these in mind:

Finding the perfect souvenirs

Hunt for unique souvenirs that reflect the destination's culture at the following places:

  1. Local Markets
  2. Artisan Shops
  3. Craft Fairs
  4. Art Galleries
  5. Antique Stores
  6. Boutiques
  7. Street Vendors

Bargaining and haggling tips

In some regions, bargaining is customary. So, get with the program, but:

  • Start with a friendly tone
  • Be respectful
  • Enjoy the process of negotiation

Supporting local artisans

Support local artisans and crafters by purchasing handmade goods. When shopping for souvenirs, look for fair trade products and support initiatives that benefit local communities. This can make a positive impact on the community.

Documenting Your Journey

Capture proof of your travels because If you don’t have pictures or videos of the trip, did you even do it?   **

Photography and Videography

Capture your travel memories! Newbie photographers can use this guide to experiment with angles and lighting. Experienced shutterbugs can consider collaborating with local photographers to snap the destination in a new light. You can also hire a local expert on the subject. In any case, your mission should be to create stunning visual records of your journey!

Keeping a travel journal

Journaling allows you to reflect on your experiences. Write down your thoughts, observations, and memorable moments in your travel journal to preserve your travel memories.

Creating an everlasting album on DropEvent

Utilize modern technology to create digital albums of your travels on platforms like DropEvent. You can also add captions, videos, and create neat galleries for every trip.

Staying Safe and Healthy

Can’t decide where to go on vacations or how to protect yourself from scammy behavior & other mishaps? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Safe Solo Travel in the USA!

But mainly, do these to keep you & your loved ones safe:

Take Health and safety precautions

  • Follow health and safety guidelines.
  • Carry necessary medications.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.

Avoid common travel scams

Research common scams in your destination & stay vigilant while on the trip.

Keep Emergency contacts and medical facilities

  • Download a list of emergency contacts to your phone.
  • Locate nearby medical facilities.

Making the Most of Your Time

You may have dozens of things planned, like a vacation activity a day. And that’s great. But if you aren’t prepared for these, your trip may not go as smoothly or be as stress-free:

  • Efficiently manage your time by prioritizing activities that align with your interests and goals.
  • Stay adaptable and calm in unforeseen circumstances.
  • Turn challenges into memorable experiences through problem-solving.
  • Create lasting memories that you’ll cherish later.
  • Be open to new adventures.
  • Explore creative ways to preserve your travel memories, such as through journaling, travel blogging, creating digital photo libraries, making travel-themed art, or crafting personalized keepsakes.

We hope our things to do on vacation checklist will lighten your load:

Your things-to-do-on-vacation checklist

Heading Back Home

Ready to go back home? Here are things you should take care of before you do:

Packing up and checking out

Make your check-out process efficient with these tips:

  1. Get an early start.
  2. Repack using packing cubes.
  3. Give your room a thorough check, including drawers and closets.
  4. Charge devices.
  5. Empty the room safe.
  6. Verify hotel bills before settling.
  7. Clean up.
  8. Double-check for forgotten items.
  9. Secure valuables & important documents.
  10. Return keys & borrowed items.
  11. Confirm your transportation.
  12. Express gratitude to the hotel staff.

Reflecting on your journey

Reflecting on a trip that’s coming to an end should be more about giving your finances another look! Do this for a well-rounded session of rumination:

  • Start by uploading everything on DropEvent if you haven’t been doing so already.
  • Ensure you've captured enough memorable photos for your travel album.
  • Collect photos from the family members with you on the trip.
  • Share your adventures with friends and family via DropEvent. All it takes is either a QR code or a link. Enjoy when they engage with your pictures.
  • Offset the impact of your travels on the environment by reducing your carbon footprint or contributing to local conservation efforts.

Planning your next adventure

As one journey ends, begin planning your next one, keeping the excitement of travel alive.

Dunno where to go next? Find our recommendations here! The Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe while Solo Traveling + Top Safe Solo Travel Spots (Updated June 2023)


Family trips can be great sources of creating unforgettable memories & bonding with each other. However, ensuring that everyone—that includes you—has a great time, they must be planned well. And that’s what we hope to do for you with this blog & its checklists.

Finally, don’t forget to immortalize your journeys. so you can revisit every precious & enjoyable moment later on.

Have pictures of your previous travel? Share them on DropEvent to relive those beautiful moments.


1. What can I do to enjoy vacation?

To enjoy a vacation:

  • Align activities with your interests
  • Explore local attractions
  • Try new foods
  • Take time to relax
  • Stay flexible
  • Photograph every moment & save it on DropEvent

2. What do people do on vacation?

People on vacation typically do these things:

  • Explore new destinations
  • Visit tourist attractions
  • Engage in outdoor activities
  • Sample local cuisine
  • Unwind by the beach or pool

3. What are fun things to bring on vacation?

Ready for a vacation? Here are some fun things to bring:

  • Camera
  • A good book
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Reusable water bottle

4. What are relaxing things for vacation?

Relaxing vacation activities can include:

  • Spa visits
  • Beach walks
  • Reading
  • Enjoying local delicacies
  • Taking in beautiful scenery while staying unplugged from work

5. What to do before leaving home for vacation?

Before leaving home for vacation, ensure you've:

  • Packed essentials
  • Secured your home
  • Informed trusted people
  • Set up travel insurance
  • Made any necessary reservations

6. What should I do 3 days before vacation?

Things to do before vacation with three days left:

  • Double-check your packing list
  • Confirm travel arrangements
  • Inform your workplace
  • Ensure your home is secure