Although it’s always travel season around these parts, we are coming up on the busy vacation season since students are about to be out for the summer. We have several must-do items that we always do before we travel, and we thought you might like to know what they are. Mostly, they are precautions, but they also take the worry out of something happening at home while we are away. If you aren’t leaving the country, you can skip a few of them.
1. Notify Your Credit Card Companies.
I travel with two credit cards in case one of them does not work in an ATM that I am using or in a country where we might be. One of my cards requires me to notify them of my travel dates and destinations, which I do online. The other card does not require any type of notification about my travel plans. Know which cards you will be traveling with, and if they require you to contact them about your destinations and travel dates, do it before you leave. It will save you from having your card frozen while you are traveling, and that is never good.
2. Stop Your Mail Delivery.
Notify your local post office to hold your mail until your return. You can probably do this online.
3. Place a Vacation Hold on the Newspaper.
Since we travel so much, we now have a digital subscription to our local newspaper. However, if you get a hard copy, notify your delivery person to not deliver while you are away. You might want the hold to begin a few days before you leave because sometimes they forget to stop delivery. That’s why we went digital. Our delivery person just couldn’t get it right.
4. Give Someone Your Travel Itinerary and Contact Info.
Make sure a family member or friend has all of your travel information including flight numbers, hotel names and addresses, and your contact information. You never know when you might need to ask them to help you rebook a canceled flight or cancel a reservation for you. If they have this information ahead of time, life will be easier if a “situation” arises.
5. Ask a Neighbor to Watch Over Your House.
Knowing that a neighbor is keeping an eye on your house while you are away eliminates any worry you might have about your home’s security. Even if you cancel your paper and mail, a pizza delivery service or a politician might leave a flyer on your front porch. If it stays there a few days, you are telling the world that you aren’t home. Do this even if you have a security system. Also, if you will be away more than a week, have a lawn service mow your yard.
6. Make Sure Your Passport, Global Entry, and Driver’s License Are Not Ready to Expire.
If your passport or driver’s license is ready to expire within six months, some countries will not let you enter. Global entry renewal takes months and months. (I have been waiting for mine to be renewed since February!) If you enjoy the convenience of going through customs quickly, be sure to keep your documents up to date.
7. Check Your Insurance and Buy Travel Insurance.
Check your health insurance to make sure you have coverage, including medical evacuation coverage, while you are out of the country. Not all health insurances are created equally, so know what yours covers. Also, buy travel insurance in a timely manner. If you wait too long after you have booked your reservations, some companies will refuse to cover you.
8. Clean the House.
Although this certainly isn’t a “must do”, it sure is nice to come home to a clean house with clean sheets waiting on your bed and clean towels hanging in the bathroom. Also, toss out any items in your refrigerator that will spoil while you are gone, empty the dishwasher, and empty the trash. Water your house plants, too.
9. Charge Your Electronics.
Leave the house with your phone, camera batteries, ipad, Kindle, and ear pods all charged up. It’s nice to know that you have hours of usage before you need to plug into an outlet to recharge. And if you are traveling to a foreign country, be sure to pack an electric converter plug.
10. Turn Off the Water and Adjust the Thermostat.
The very last thing we do before we walk out the door is to turn off our main water valve and set the thermostat to vacation mode. We learned the first one the hard way because we returned home to a basement full of water once upon a time, and it wasn’t fun. Also, you don’t need to be heating or cooling your home as much while you are away.
We hope you all have some exciting travel plans in the works this summer. Do these tasks before you leave to make your trip more fun.