Going on a long trip and wondering where to start? Here’s our family’s checklist for what to do before leaving for vacation. I hope you find it helpful!
1. Hire a house sitter or someone to check-in on your home regularly: It’s important to keep up the regular maintenance such as grass cutting, plant watering, pet care, and mail pick-up. If you are not going to have someone living in your home, then be sure to read #2 below.
2. Read the fine print on your insurance policy: Did you know that if you don’t have someone checking in on your house regularly that you may not be eligible for an insurance claim? Read the fine print on your policy to ensure you know what your responsibilities are as the owner. This gets particularly important in the winter when a broken pipe could causes thousands of dollars of damage!
3. Take photos and give the memory stick to a friend: Would you be able to itemize everything in your kitchen right now? Because if there was a fire in your home, you’d need to be able to provide a complete list of everything inside each room. So, take some photos of each room in your house. You’ll also want to take photos of your passports, the 1-800 number on the back of your credit cards, and any additional travel insurance you’ve purchased for your trip.
4. Eat your way through the fridge: About two weeks out from departure date, start to really take a close look at what you’ve got stocked in your fridge. Get creative and see if you can eat through it all before you go! For a really long trip, we’ll do this for both the fridge and freezer and then unplug them both to save energy.
5. Unplug everything that won’t be in use: The average home has about 40 appliances constantly sucking energy. Save on your electricity bill by unplugging everything you won’t be using while you’re away … televisions, video games, computers, modems, lamps, toasters, coffee makers …. they all suck some energy even when they’re not turned on!
6. Turn off water and set the thermometer: Generally, you’ll want to turn off the water supply while you’re away. This can cut the risk of a leaky pipe causing damage. Even though you’re not at home, you’ll want to keep the house at a constant temperature — in the winter to avoid frozen pipes, and in the summer to avoid condensation.
7. Pre-pay bills: Who wants to come home from holiday only to find stacks of bills to be paid? Review your previous months’ usage fees and estimate what you’ll owe while you’re away and pre-pay it using online banking.
8. Call your credit card company: There is seriously nothing more annoying than trying to use your credit card on holiday only to find it declined. You scratch your head, knowing that you have room on it for your purchase. And then you remember that any non-standard purchases (like something out of country) sets off a security alert, which then closes down your card until you call them. Been there, done that. Now, we always call ahead before we go anywhere.
9. Clear off your credit card: Before leaving on any big trip, we clear off our credit cards in case we might need them for an emergency … a car repair, an emergency flight, and even a medical need. Often, even if you have insurance coverage, you might need to pay for an expense up-front. It’s a safety net that gives me some peace of mind.
10. Ensure that garbage will be picked up: Last but not least, you certainly do not want to come home to a garage or house that has had garbage sitting still for flies and maggots! **shivers** Ensure that you’ve cleared out everything from the kitchen and bathrooms garbage bins and then ensure that someone will take the garbage out of your garage to the curb for you.