Quick weekend getaways are easy and so are week-long trips but when it comes to taking a long vacation such as a month-long retreat to Europe or an around-the-world cruise, things are a bit more complicated.
Make A List Of Things To Do Before Leaving On Vacation
This is more than just a packing list for your trip. Before doing anything else, sit down and make a to-do list of all the tasks that need to be done before your departure. That's ultimately what this list of things to do before you leave on an extended trip are all about. Before we dive in, let's take a quick look at some of the top things you should do ...
- Appoint a trusted person to check on your house
- Have your mail forwarded or held for pickup
- Cancel or place on hold any magazine or newspaper subscriptions
- Notify banks and utilities of your plans
- Prepare the house for your absence
- Check your security systems to ensure they are functioning properly
- Create a list of important contacts in case of emergency
- Set automatic bill pay options so you don't miss any payments
- Refill any medications you might be low on
- Unplug any electronics that you don't need
- Check the status of your insurance policies and make any necessary updates
- Make backups of important travel documents and credit cards and store them safely online
Find A House Sitter Or Family Member To Check On Your Home
Finding a dependable house sitter is one of the most important things to do before you go on a long vacation. If possible, try to find someone who can stay in your home while you are away so they can check in regularly and keep an eye out for any issues that might arise. If you have a pet then this person can also double as pet sitter.
There are many services out there to help you locate an appropriate person if you don't want to select a friend or family member to do the job. Most of those agencies that will help find a good person ensure that the person has been fully vetted. However, if you are choosing a neighbor, you might want to run a background check to ensure that there aren't any red flags.
Even if you don't choose to have that person do routine checks inside of your home, it is important that you have someone that you trust who has access to a spare key and full knowledge of your travel plans as well as emergency contact information in case of emergency.
Make Arrangements To Have Your Mail Forwarded Or Held At The Post Office
Before going on vacation, it's important to make arrangements with the post office to have your mail forwarded or held until you return. This will help ensure that nothing gets lost or stolen while you're away. Additionally, this will also prevent any bills from piling up and potentially damaging your credit score while you are away.
Cancel Or Pause Any Newspaper And Magazine Subscriptions
One part of your pre-vacation house checklist is taking care of newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Since you won't be coming home for several weeks or even months, it's important to either cancel or pause your subscription until you return.
Not only will this help to save money but you don't want them piling up in front of your house - an obvious sign that nobody is home.
Notify Your Banks And Utilities Of Your Vacation Plans
To prevent any issues with unexpected fraud alerts, you should notify your credit card company, bank, and utility companies of your plans. This will help ensure that any payments are made in a timely manner and that no late fees or penalties are incurred while you're away. Additionally, this is a good way to make sure that all of your accounts remain secure during your absence.
Nobody likes to get their credit card shut off while they are traveling abroad and it can be difficult to get it turned back on when you're on the other side of the world.
To avoid this scenario, make sure that you contact your bank before leaving for vacation and let them know that you will be out of town for a certain period of time - this way, they won't flag any international purchases as suspicious and freeze your account. This may also be a good time to ask for extra credit cards so your child can access funds if needed and check and make sure you have enough available credit.
Having a travel notification also provides some peace of mind in case there is a problem with any transaction – if your bank knows that you are out of the country, they can take action quickly.
Prepare Your House For Being Empty For An Extended Period Of Time
Depending on if you own or rent and what climate you live in, there are many things that you may need to do to prepare your home for being empty for a long time. By creating a vacation checklist of things that need to be done you can avoid common problems.
This includes basic things like making sure there are no open containers of perishable food in the fridge, trash is taken out, and counters, as well as floors, are cleaned of any spills, as well as running the garbage disposal and seal boxes of dry food so that animals can't get into the food.
You should also make sure to do any routine maintenance that may have been postponed such as fixing doors and windows that need to be sealed to prevent leaks. While you are doing this double check of all the doors and windows, you should also make sure that the locks work properly as well.
However, it can also include things like making sure that pipes are winterized if you are leaving on an extended vacation during the winter or if you are a snowbird and won't be returning north for several months. If you are traveling during the summer, make sure to have a plan to keep your lawn cut.
Don't forget outdoor items either. Pool equipment and outdoor furniture should be put away and any long term maintenance items should be addressed. Additionally, consider basic things like making sure to close blinds and curtains to make it more difficult for people to peep into your windows.
Finally, you may want to do other chores to ensure a tidy house when you return. This includes taking care of bed sheets and adding fresh sheets to the beds so that they are comfortable when you return.
Double Check Your Security Systems To Make Sure They Are Functioning Properly
Before you leave on an extended vacation, it's important to make sure that all of your security systems are functioning properly. This includes surveillance cameras, security lights, and motion detectors. Additionally, if you have a home alarm system, make sure that the batteries are fresh and that everything is working as it should be.
If you have a managed security system, you should also notify your company and let them know that you will be away from home so that they can enact any policies and procedures on their end to ensure your home is protected.
Create A List of Important Emergency Contacts
When taking an extended vacation, it's important to make sure that you have a list of important contacts in case of an emergency. This should include close friends and family members as well as any neighbors who can help out if needed.
You should also include contact information for your home security company, handyman, trusted neighbor, housekeeper, insurance providers, and doctors or specialists that you rely on. That way, if something does happen while you are away, you will know who to contact for help.
Turn On Automatic Bill Pay
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while traveling is to miss a bill payment - or several. At best, this can negatively impact your credit and at worst, you could come home and find that your electricity is turned off or that there's an accident and you failed to pay your insurance bill and are no lacking coverage.
The best way to ensure that you pay bills while you're away is to turn on automatic bill pay. This way, everything will be automatically paid on time and you won't have anything to worry about while you're away. While you can also do online payments manually, you are on vacation and distracted. Additionally, some service providers may not accept connections from foreign countries.
Make Sure You Have Enough Medications Packed
Traveling overseas can be a bit of a culture shock regarding getting medicines. Even common over-the-counter medications such as Mucinex or Claratin can be impossible to find in foreign countries. On the other hand, when visiting places like Mexico, where independent pharmacies are common in tourist spots like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun - you can't always trust that what you bought is what you think it is!
To ensure that you are properly prepared while taking an extended vacation, make sure that you have enough of your prescription medications already packed. Some may require a doctor's note or prescription even if they are available over-the-counter in the country where you live. It's also important to pack any medical documentation and information regarding treatments or surgeries in case of an emergency.
Save Money And Energy By Unplugging Any Electronics
Most people don't realize that electronics use power even when they appear to be turned off. If something is plugged into the wall, it is using energy. A small bit of power isn't that big of a deal if you are home but it can add up over time. Plus, since nobody is home you don't want to waste resources.
Additionally, by physically disconnecting things like TVs and game consoles from the wall, it helps protect them in case of electrical surges.
The exception to this guidance of making sure you unplug electronics is that you may want to leave your computer connected so that you can access files remotely or send photos to be backed up.
Review Insurance Policies To Ensure Coverage On An Extended Vacation
Before leaving, review your insurance policies to ensure that you are covered while traveling. This includes both your home and health insurance policies. These policies can vary greatly depending on what type of coverage you have so be sure to read through the fine print and look for exclusions related to being away from home for extended periods or travel outside the United States.
Also, if you are planning on participating in any activities like scuba diving or skiing, make sure that those activities are covered under your policy. Some companies may require additional coverage for certain types of activities so it's best to check ahead of time rather than taking the risk of assuming that you are covered. Finally, don't forget to bring copies of all your insurance policies with you on your trip in case of an emergency.
Have Mobile Phone And Internet Plan That Works Where You Are Going
Depending on where you are going, it may be impossible to connect to Wi-Fi or very expensive. To avoid hefty roaming charges from your cell phone company when traveling abroad, make sure that you purchase an international data-plan that will allow you to use your phone as normal in foreign countries. These plans usually come with a set amount of data for a certain period of time – just make sure you understand the details of the plan before signing up. Additionally, keep in mind that you need to turn off any automatic updates while using this type of plan since they can eat through data quickly – this is especially important when apps like Spotify and Netflix are involved.
Finally, if you don't have a data plan or can't get access to Wi-Fi, consider getting an international sim card or look for a plan that will work in your destination. The cheapest plan here will be more than worth the convenience of knowing that people can reach you in an emergency.
Make Backups Of Any Important Documents
I always make a copy of my passport, credit cards, and other important documents so that I can access them no matter where I am. This allows me to travel safely knowing that if something happens such as I leave my wallet in a taxi that I can still pay for a hotel or provide some sort of identification to the police by accessing my secure online wallet.
Proper Planning Before Leaving On Vacation Will Allow You To Relax!
It is always a good idea to plan for any eventuality before leaving on a trip. Before you leave, it should be your goal to return home from vacation mode to a house ready to welcome you home. By following our advice on things to do before leaving on vacation, it will help you be able to relax once you leave.
With proper planning before leaving on long vacation, you will be able to relax and enjoy the experience without worrying about anything going wrong!