Before leaving on an extended trip outside the country, make a comprehensive list of everything you need to do ahead of time. And, as you complete each item, check it off your list. This way you’ll know that when you check off the last item you’re leaving the right way with all the loose ends tied up neatly.
Secure Your Home
Unfortunately, we live in an age where predators are always one step ahead of their victims. Make sure you take proactive steps to secure your home. If you have a security system, let the company know that you will be away for a while. This way they will know that if the alarm sounds, it’s not an accident. Additionally, have a neighbor go to check the home at least once weekly to remove the mail and make sure that everything is ok.
Send Mailings Early
While you’re away out of the country, your bills will pile up. Make an effort to pay your debts a month in advance or provide a temporary address where you will be so that you avoid paying late or late fees. You can also take advantage of the online bill pay services offered by many companies. Also, if you have relatives with birthdays coming up, you can either send the cards out early by mail prior to leaving or use your computer to send birthday greeting cards by email. In some cases, you can set them up in advance and your email program can send them at the appropriate time.
The Clean Up
Since you will be away for a while, it’s in your best interest to put lightweight and loose items indoors away in storage and to cover your heavy equipment and furniture. It’s also important to do things such as mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and cut back tree limbs, especially any that may pose a threat to your property. Additionally, move the trash barrels inside the garage or basement and make sure to lock the shed.
Contact Utility Companies
If your extended vacation is more than a few weeks, you should notify the gas, water and electric companies of the time frame that you will be away. They will more than likely advise you to turn the water off and lower the heat or raise the temperature on your air conditioning.
Inside the Home
Before going away, it’s always in your best interest to give your home a good, thorough cleaning so that you reduce your workload upon your return. You should also empty the refrigerator and place a box of baking soda inside. Discard any opened boxes of things like cereal and flour, unless you have them preserved in airtight storage containers. To save money, and prevent the possibility of an electrical fire, disconnect all appliances and electronic devices such as your television, DVD player and stationary computer.
More than likely you have some sort of television service that you pay month-to-month. If your vacation will last for a month or longer, contact the service provider. Advise them of your plans and ask if they can suspend the service. This way you’ll save money and then when you return, you can have the service restored to normal.
If you or any member of your immediate family take medications regularly, make sure that you contact your doctor to have them refilled so that you have them on hand. The last thing you want is to be out of the country, need medication, and have to wait a week or so before you receive it.
Leaving on a long vacation, whether it’s to Italy or the Arctic, doesn’t have to cause you grief and heartache. Create a list of the things you need to tend to ahead of time so you can enjoy your time away.