7 Things To Do Before You Leave To Travel
It’s the time to travel and there’s one thing we know for sure, Murphy’s Law for travelers ensures us that if something can go wrong, it will – and it will be while you are on vacation. But not all prepping has to be for the safety of your home or ease of your travel arrangements.
Some things are just easily forgotten and for the enjoyment of your trip – and comfort when coming back to real life – these are seven things you need to do before you travel.
Handle Home Services
Once you know when you are leaving and how long you’ll be gone, place stop orders on regularly occurring deliveries or home services you won’t want done while you are away. Most mail carriers and newspaper services make it easy to place stop orders online, though they may need at least one or two business days’ advance notice. Don’t discontinue your landscaping service, as a well-kept yard is a deterrent to burglars. If newspapers are piling up and the grass is three-weeks overgrown that is an obvious sign to burglars that you are gone and the house is empty.
Prep Your Place
We all know you should lock your doors and turn on your home security system, but what about double checking windows and unplugging the garage door? According to interviews taken by the Reader’s Digest of convicted criminals, often times burglars have already been inside your home before they break in. The carpet cleaner or person delivering your new refrigerator who asks to use the bathroom may unlatch a back window while they are at it and return much easier while you are gone. Double check all locks, set your alarms and prep your place for your absence.
Call a Friend
Even if you put a hold on your mail, stray papers and fliers can pile up, making your house look unlived in and vulnerable. If you are going on a trip, call a friend to see if he or she can check on your house from time to time while you are gone. Better yet, ask if he or she will house sit. An occupied house is way better than one that just looks occupied. But make sure to tell your neighbors if you plan on having someone come over while you are gone. Wouldn’t want the neighborhood watch to call the cops on your house sitter!
Pull the Plug
Myth: Appliances use no energy when turned off. Fact: These “energy vampires” as energy experts call them can actually use up to 30 watts of power when on stand-by, according to consumerenergycenter.org. Unplug your portable stereo, DVD player, kitchen appliances and home office devices. The top power suckers in most homes are the cable box (24.7 watts max when turned off) and compact system (28.6 watts).
Manage Your Cash Flow
If you are traveling domestically, visit your bank and withdraw enough cash to keep you out of tight situations – even if you plan on only using your debit or credit cards. You’ll save on ATM fees if there isn’t a branch of your bank nearby, and cash can keep you safe if something were to happen. If you are traveling overseas, contact your bank to set up a travel notice. Most banks consider an unexpected overseas purchase to be credit card fraud and might cancel your card if you don’t alert them first.
Phone the Police
Plenty of police departments have set up volunteer vacation drive-bys where officers will patrol the neighborhood of homeowners who are traveling. Let police know you will be gone and they’ll check up on your home. See if your community has a watch program like this, and if you should call for weekend getaways or only more than one week travels.
Plan the First and Last Day of Your Trip
Granted you probably know what attractions are in the area and what your general itinerary will be, but before you head out plan your first and last day of the trip. Print off any directions you may need, grab a map and most importantly, program the phone number of your hotel and airline into your cell. You may have a smart phone and be able to web search or Map quest locations, but be prepared in case all else fails. For your last-day preparation, include a packet labeled “going home” in your bag. Keep it somewhere easily accessible so you don’t have to unpack at the airport or in a taxi looking for your house or car keys.
Blane Boynton is a travel aficionado that has visited over 20 countries. Whether for work or pleasure he is always on the move and is ready to see new things and take on big adventures.