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8 Do’s and Don’ts On the Night Before a Big Trip

8 do's and don'ts - don't drink too much.
Written by Going Places

This blog post was updated on December 13, 2021.

In roughly 6 hours, I will be getting up for my early flight to Colorado. I won’t find myself in Denver until 5 pm, if all goes well. That puts me at 1 am in Dublin, my current location. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, to say the least. Travel is one thing most people don’t mind getting up early for, that is if you’re headed somewhere amazing in the morning. Now we all do things the night before a big trip that probably help make the next morning more bearable. However, there are also those things we really shouldn’t be doing. From going on benders to resting up, here are a few dos and don’ts to consider the night before a big trip.

Don’t Pull an All-Nighter

8 dos and donts - dont stay up all night

Somewhat along the same lines as drinking, if you have loads of work to do before a big trip, don’t try to do it all the night before. Some travelers just stay up all night if they have early morning flights. The thought here is that you can sleep on the plane. However, that sleep on the plane is never as good as the sleep you missed out on the night before. If you’re somewhat rested and ready for a long journey, chances are you won’t miss connections due to being rundown and listless from that all-nighter you pulled.

Do Rest and Relax

8 do's and don'ts - relax

Watch a movie. Get a few hours of sleep. Whatever you need to do to rest and relax will help you in the morning when you are catching buses, trains, and maybe even hovercrafts. A big travel day is far from restful. Soak up being able to stretch those legs for a few hours, they’ll be confined to a space smaller than a bread box.

You may also like: 7 Packing Rules to Keep You Traveling Light

Don’t Drink Too Much

When I studied abroad in Sicily, one of my roommates missed his flight to Sicily due to a drunken bender the night before his flight. While it may seem appealing to throw back a few the night before you take off, don’t do it. Missing flights won’t make it worth it in the morning or afternoon, depending on when you wake up from your stupor.

Do Drink a Lot of Water

8 dos and donts - drink water

The night before a big trip home or to some foreign land, I always drink a lot of water. Eat an apple while you’re at it. Traveling can be detrimental to one’s health with germs lurking everywhere, from the bathroom to the airplane tray table. It’s always best to go into a long travel day as healthy as you can possibly be. Drinking fluids (alcoholic drinks not included) can help quiet that sore throat you feel coming on the night before a 16-hour flight.

Don’t Start Packing at the 11th Hour

While I am guilty of this on almost every trip, packing the night before always leaves me stressed and tired in the morning. A tote bag strap can break. You have too much to bring and you need another suitcase. If you leave everything until the last minute, you might forget key items. The best thing to do is to start packing as soon as possible, even as early as a week before your flight, especially on longer trips. Make a packing list on your phone or a piece of paper and check off everything you pack as you go.

If you have last-minute items to pack, such as toiletries that you’ll need to use in the morning, make sure you leave them out where you’ll see them so you’ll remember to take them with you. Nobody wants to scramble last minute, or worse, have to turn around because you forgot something invaluable. And bring back-ups of everything!

Do Find a Reliable Alarm

8 dos and donts - set an alarm

There might be nothing worse than either forgetting to set your alarm for an early flight or sleeping right through it. If you need to be up at a certain time for a big travel day, let someone else know. If you need your mom to call you while you are in Dubai all the way from Kansas, so be it. Don’t rely on just one alarm. Set several, especially for flight. If you want to wake up to the loud ringing of the telephone, schedule a wake-up call at your hotel.

Don’t Leave Travel Planning for the Morning

 do's and don'ts - don't pack at the last minute

If you’re not sure what time your plane leaves or you don’t know when the only bus to roll through the village that day comes, you may find yourself in trouble in the morning. Sort out all of your planning details at least the night before, if not sooner. The time you always think you’ll have in the morning is usually non-existent.

Do Shower

For the sake of those who will be forced to sit next to you on long flights or 10-hour bus rides, please shower. Some travelers just throw being clean out the window when they anticipate a long travel day. However, those around you might not appreciate the smell. Without a good scrubbing, you’ll also feel a thousand times more disgusting when you finally get to your destination.

What other tips help you feel prepared on the night before a big trip? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

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