Prepare for a holiday in less than a week

13th June 2014

Booking a holiday last minute is a great way to secure a real bargain. However, it can be a completely mad idea, especially when you realise you have a week, or maybe even less, to prepare for travel. But it is possible to get ready in such a short period of time. You just need to stay calm and do a little bit of planning as soon as you’ve book to ensure that things goes smoothly.

Today I’m sharing my steps for preparing for travel in less than 7 days. This technique will also work for those of you who have booked your holiday in advance but have a tendency to leave things to the last minute. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!

Before you even book!

Make sure you have a valid passport and valid health cards (if a UK resident travelling in Europe). These things can’t be obtained in a week so a little bit of prior preparation is required. Once you have these you are ready to book your last minute break.

Also, make sure you have a good supply of any prescription medications you need well before you go. It can be a nightmare getting a doctor’s appointment a week before you go on holiday.

Make some lists

Start by making three lists on some spare paper or in a notebook:

  • Things to buy
  • Things to pack
  • Things to do

Now, lets look at these lists in a little more detail.

Things to buy

Make a list of all of the things that you need to take away with you but don’t already own. For example, before going to Italy I need to buy sun cream, travel adaptors, weighing scales (for the suitcases), and so I wrote these down on my list.

You then need to decide when you are going to buy these and where you are going to get them from. If you know exactly where you can these items for then you can head straight to that particular shop to purchase it. You might want to dedicate a whole day or half a day to heading into town to get all of these items in one go. If you need to order things off the internet this might be a little more difficult.

Things to pack

Produce a list of everything you need to pack for your holiday, and decided whether each of these items is going to be packed in your hold bag or hand luggage. Make sure you use your week of preparation to wash any clothes that you are taking with you, and to plan out what you will be wearing based on the weather. Tick off each item on the list as you put them in your bag.

Things to do

There’s always so much to do before you go on holiday. It might be getting your legs waxed/shaved, or finishing something off for work/school/college/university, or paying any bills that will need to be paid when you are away. It’s a good idea to make a list like this so you can allocate yourself enough time to get these all done.

Now make a plan

Create a schedule and stick to it! You might decided to make a table like the one below. This one allows you to set a task for the morning and the afternoon of each day before the holiday.


When you are creating a schedule, make sure that you are realistic about things. Always allow extra time from each task, just in case they take longer than expected. Also, don’t cram too many tasks into one day. You need to relax a little before you go on holiday so you are in the right mood when you arrive.

Just before you go

On the day before you travel, make a list of all the last minute things that you need to do and pack. Here are the sorts of things that are on my list.

  • Bin any food that is going to go out of date while you are away.
  • Take the bins out. Nothing worse than coming home to a stinky house.
  • Turn everything off that can be turned off.
  • Lock the doors and windows.
  • Pack toothbrush, brace, hairbrush, etc. (things that can only go in last minute).

I hope my organisation tips help you. Happy holidaying!

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  1. Richard

    I’m always the person that doesn’t check anything until a week before. I went on holiday in May and didn’t even realise that my passport was expired. I had to go to the Liverpool passport office 2 days before my holiday and get a new one hahaha.

    • Holly

      At least you got a trip to Liverpool, which in my eyes is never a bad thing, haha! But no, seriously, that sucks. :/

  2. Christa

    This is a great idea! I usually just wing it (seriously, I’m the worst procrastinator) but this way, it’s much easier to organise yourself for a holiday. Great tips, especially the schedule. I tend to not follow schedules all the time, but this way it keeps you accountable for things you have done/need to do!

    • Holly

      Thanks! I am super organised when it comes to most things, and it just helps my life to run a little bit more smoothly. 🙂

  3. These are really good tips in preparing for a holiday/getaway! Especially for people who are super busy, they can just read through the list and check off whatever they have finished instead of thinking up stuff from scratch. Having a passport to begin with gives the initial clearing for traveling! I’m not sure how long it takes in Europe but it takes from 1 to 3 months over here. Buying things you need beforehand is the better option. I find necessities like shampoo and such are more expensive when you’re already out because businesses tend to raise the price knowing that you’re in need for these things.

    Having a schedule and sticking to it is really helpful in making the best out of the trip. I hate trying to come up with things to do in the last minute so I can’t imagine having to do that on a vacation. I mean you don’t need to plan it minute to minute but having “go to the ___ museum” is better than nothing :p.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Holly

      Yeah, it takes just as long to get a passport in the UK. Fortunately, if I were to have any issues with getting a passport, I live right by the UK passport office. 😛

      I find sun cream is the most expensive thing to buy while abroad. They charge like 3 times the price!

  4. I gotta agree with all of these! I think I was a bit rushed when it came to planning my trip to Hong Kong and Japan last year. I didn’t even realise my passport had less than six months until it expired, and some of the airlines would not accept that!

    Also super thumbs up for the planning, haha. James and I tried to cram a lot of things into one day and it didn’t work out. It is definitely a good idea to relax and just “live” in the city you’re visiting. Holidaying isn’t all about visiting all the attractions :3

    • Holly

      I always have a reoccurring dream before I go on holiday in which I’m on the plane and then I realise that I have absolutely nothing with me. I think that’s what motivates me to be so organised when it comes to packing!