1. Eat all your perishables.
This may seem obvious, but it’s SO important! Unless you’re only going for a weekend, it’s imperative that you eat or get rid of all the perishable food you have. It’s disgusting coming home to a rotten fruits and moldy veggies. Once, I forgot about my potatoes (that we had already had for a bit), and came home to them being devoured by fruit flies. The stench took ages to get rid of.
2. Hold your mail service
Depending on how long you’re going for, having your mail get held during your vacation isn’t the worst of ideas. You could be getting important bills, tax information or notices that will just be sitting in the mailbox for the length of your time gone. Getting mail held is as simple as visiting the USPS website, at this link. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting your mail looked through or it just not fitting anymore.
3. Clean your house
Coming home to a dirty or messy house is the worst homecoming you can get. The last thing you want to do when you get back from vacation is have chores to do like laundry/dishes/tidying up. Cleaning before you go ensures that you’ll have nothing to worry about when you get back. I start with making sure the dishes are clean and not sitting in the sink, and then putting all my clean clothes away. After that, I quickly tidy up the house and I’m done. Oh, and don’t forget the trash!
4. Copy important documents
Depending on where your vacation is, you’ll want to make 2 copies of your:
- travel insurance
- driver’s license
- credit cards
- prepaid confirmations (hotels, tours, etc)
You’ll want to leave a copy with a close friend or nearby relative. I leave my copies with my parents every time I travel in case something gets stolen or if I have any issues abroad. I keep the other paper copy with me while I travel, but store it in a safe at my hotel or hostel. I don’t take these items with me out on the town.
Another thing several travelers do is store these important documents online or on a flash drive. If you do go this route, it’s highly recommended to password protect them. I can’t emphasize enough how necessary it is that these documents are secure.
5. Let your credit card company know you are traveling
Most credit card companies allow you to do this simply on their online websites. Each one is different, but if the company does not have an easy online section, you can simply call them and they will put a note in your file so your cards don’t get suspended while traveling.
6. Pay your bills or schedule automatic payments
Pay rent ahead of time if you need to. Make sure all the bills are taken care of. Nobody like extra fees! And sometimes it’s easy to forget.
7. Don’t wait till the very last minute to pack.
I’m notorious for waiting till the day of to pack, and it always ends badly. Pack for your vacation at the very least the day before your trip to save yourself the hassle of forgetting tampons or your charger. It also gives you time to assess what you have and don’t have, and gives you enough time to go buy anything else you need for your trip.
8. Lower the heat.
I keep the heat at 62 when I leave on vacation. There’s no point in keeping it any higher then that. The house may be freezing when I get back, but keeping it at 65 is a little much when nobody will be home for 2 weeks.
9. Tell your friends/family.
I don’t see why anyone would keep traveling a secret, I sure don’t. I tell everyone because I’m usually counting down the days! But if for some reason you are going someplace without anybody important knowing (your family, close friends), you should definitely rethink it. In case something tragic happens, your go-to people should be able to quickly get ahold of you. This means giving them your general itinerary and them knowing where you are staying in case of an emergency.
Those are all the things I make sure to do before any trip I take. I paid my January rent yesterday, and am paying my electricity/water bill first thing tomorrow. I also have my internet bill set up for automatic payments, and credit card bills are already taken care of! All Carlos and I really have left is to clean up the house, pack, and eat the rest of our food! We leave Wednesday for Curacao!!