Don’t leave home without it: 20 Things you should always do before you travel

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Don’t let your “Bon Voyage” become a “Bomb Voyage.” A simple checklist to avoid an unpleasant journey.

We all love to travel. Well, most of us do. But even the most intrepid traveler could be plagued by the “What ifs.” The last thing anyone wants to do is spend their entire trip worrying, or God forbid, having to cut their trip short due to an entirely avoidable mishap. Here are 20 things that should be on your checklist, be it a trip across the state, or cross-country or even to the other side of the world.

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Take pictures before your trip

Use your cell phone to capture your passport, driver’s license, copies of prescriptions, and anything else you feel is relevant. Also get a picture of where you parked your car if you are flying.   It is much easier than writing it all down. Don’t leave the photos on your phone in case it is lost or stolen. Instead, send to yourself as an email.

Alright, one exception

You may consider making a paper copy of your passport. Or forwarding a photo to the hotel when you go out, in case of emergency.

Set up an email auto response.

You should make it somewhat vague. It isn’t necessarily a good idea to let everyone know you are away from home, but just that you are busy and will get back to them at a later time. This will help you not spend so much time answering emails. Indeed there are more fun things to do than that.

Be very careful letting people know you are on vacation on social media. 

A simple picture of you in Bermuda that you sent to a friend who forwarded it onward could get you some unwanted attention. Sure we all want the world to know about the cool place we are visiting. (myself included) But if you tell people how long you are going to be out,  and your home is unoccupied while you are gone, burglars know they will have a free for all. You never know who might see your posts.

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Make sure your speed dial is fully loaded

Have the numbers of the airlines, any hotels, and friends or family members you are visiting on speed dial.  The last thing you need is to try to look the numbers up, and you are somewhere where you don’t have internet.

Let your bank, credit card company and cell phone provider (if traveling abroad) know you are going.

The last thing you want is to have your card or phone service frozen. It is very common for this to happen, so make the calls before you leave, not after the fact.

Remember the airplane mode on your phone. 

This is especially true if you are overseas or on a cruise. I have been burned a couple times by this.

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If you are planning on being gone awhile, consider having someone mow your lawn  (or shovel your driveway in the wintertime) while you are gone. 

This serves two purposes, it discourages burglary and means you won’t come home to an ugly lawn and some additional avoidable work when you return.

Consider a purchasing a timer. 

An electric timer will automatically turn lamps on and off during designated times. Perhaps even include a radio. This creates the illusion someone is at home.  Just use a couple lights, Also unplug any of the other things that require an outlet to avoid the risk of a short while you are out. The Refridgerator, of course, would be an exception but…

Clean out the Fridge before you leave.

This will save you from having to deal with rotting food when you return. And make sure the garbage is out too.

Clean out your Purse/wallet

Take out everything but what is essential that way if it is stolen you will have less to deal with. Also, consider a dummy wallet to keep in your back pocket and keep your real wallet in a money belt you have hidden in the front. Pickpockets won’t check and will just move on.

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Have your utilities and recurring charges on auto pay

You don’t want to have to worry about if the bills are being paid while you are gone.

Put baking soda in the drains and toilet. 

Stagnant water can get pretty foul after a couple days. Do not shut A/C or heat off entirely, Too little A/C can create mold in summer, and too little heat can freeze pipes in winter.

Keep your shades down

This will help with room temperature and will also keep people from snooping in the windows while you are gone. If you do keep the blinds up, try to keep anything of significant value out of the sight line. You may also consider bringing any outdoor furniture inside. This will help keep them safe.

Check your drains and gutters.

Should you have a rainstorm, clogged gutters lead to flooding.

Check your batteries

Especially important for smoke detectors

Clean your house before you leave

Coming home to a messy house is a real buzzkill. That and you may already be a bit down from having to arrive home from your vacation.

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Follow up with your insurance provider

Especially important when traveling abroad. Ask questions. Make sure you know your liabilities. Consider purchasing supplemental travel insurance.

Check the weather outlook for where you are going.

Often overlooked but can really mess up your trip if you didn’t pack accordingly or you aren’t able to see the things you want to visit. You should also look up the websites of all the places you want to attend. Make notes f the hours and days they are open. Also, check to see that there isn’t a special event going on which may increase crowds are prevent your visit altogether.

And finally…

You may consider freezing a meal for your return. That way you won’t have to prepare anything and can relax a bit.  Afer all, coming home to a clean house and a readily prepared meal could just be the cherry on top of a beautiful and memorable vacation.

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