For a carefree vacation and homecoming, what you do before you leave home can be as important as what you do when you are away.
With Labor Day looming and Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays coming soon I thought that this might be a good time to take a look at this old but too often neglected topic.
Here's the check list we send to all our guests a couple of weeks before they leave home.
- Take photographs. Bet you thought that taking photographs was for during your vacation rather than before you leave. No longer true. Use your cell phone or digital camera to take photos of your passport, the label on all prescription medicine bottles and anything else that you think you might need. Beats carrying around (or losing) lots of paper.
- Photocopy your passport. Even if you have a digital copy of your passport its worth it to have a paper copy with you as well. That way if you need to leave your passport for some reason you can leave the copy instead of the original.
- Turn on your email auto-response. Do this even if you are planning on checking email. It will relieve you of the pressure to answer quickly and reduce the number of emails you get.
- Put the phone number of your airline in your cell phone speed dial.
- Tell your credit card company you are going to be using the card away from home, so they won't assume the card was stolen and refuse the charge.
- Hold all your mail and newspapers -- unless you want everybody (including burglars) to know you are not home.
- Consider having someone keep an eye on your house when you are gone.
- If have you have a lawn and are going to be away for long time, arrange to have somebody cut it.
- If you've got a spare key hidden somewhere outside your house, you may want to remove it, unless of course, you've forgotten to take your key on vacation with you.
- If you have windows where people can see in to your house, close the curtain.
- If you live in an area where burglary is a real concern you might want to looking into timers so a lamp or two turns on at night -- and off during the day.
- Consider some steps to save energy and money while you are away.
- Consider turning off all the water, but at least turn off the water supply to your to washing machines, dishwashers, ice-makers and toilets.
- Unplug toasters, computers etc. If you don't want it to turn on when you're gone, unplug it.
- Remove from your wallet anything you won't want or need when traveling.
- Pay all bills that will be due while you're away.
- Give any food that might spoil while you are away to a friend -- unless of course you are trying to grow the next miracle antibiotic.
- Make sure you have not left any wet clothes in your washing machine or drier. Exception: See # 17.
- Ditto for dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
- Sprinkle a little baking soda in toilets and down the sink drains to avoid coming home to the stench of stagnant water.
- Water your plants. If you are going to be away for a long time arrange to have them watered periodically.
- Take out the garbage.
- Make sure the proper people know how to get in touch with you if they need to.
- If you left your car in an airport parking lot, write down exactly where you left so you can find it when you get back.
- Arrange for pets to be taken care of while your gone. We know you wouldn't just abandon your pets, but we couldn't think of anything else for #25.
Got any great tips that we missed? That's why there is a place for comments!