The lead-up to a long vacation can be quite exciting, to say the least. But there’s still no denying that plenty of preparation and consideration still lies between you and your highly anticipated holiday. There’s a lot that must be done to keep your house and your life back home in order prior to embarking on a long vacation.
To help provide a little guidance, we’ve outlined 7 of the most important things to do before you go jet-setting for any long period of time. Read on to help provide you and your fellow travel companions with a little checklist that’ll help take the guesswork out of preparing for your next holiday.
1. Get an emergency pair of keys cut
The first thing you should think to do is get an extra pair of keys cut with your local locksmith. In any other instance where somebody gets locked out of your home, chances are high that you can come to the rescue with your own set of keys, or a neighbour who you’ve entrusted with a spare key of their own can even make themselves available.
But the last thing you’ll want to deal with when travelling abroad is finding out that the holders of your spare keys have all managed to misplace them! In this less than ideal scenario, a set of spare keys could be a genuine godsend. And if the spare happens to go missing too, at least your family knows just who your locksmith of choice is, and thus, who they’ll need to call in order to seek emergency locksmith assistance if it’s required.
2. Secure babysitters and petsitters, if needed
If you’re leaving behind some fur babies or some actual literal babies (aged anywhere between 0 to 18), then chances are that sorting out a babysitter or a petsitter has also been high on your list of to-dos. These professionals are likely to also require a spare set of your house keys to ensure that they can go in and out for feedings, or to handle the school rush if you’re going away in the middle of a school term.
Alongside ensuring that your favourite babysitters and petsitters are available while you’ll be away, you should also try and organise payment and other logistical arrangements with them as soon as possible. Be sure to outline all your expectations or requirements and conduct trials here or there with a weekend away. You can even invite your babysitters over one evening to spend time with you and your kids so you can both get a good gauge of how they get along with your children, and they can ask you any and all questions they may have when spending time with you and your family.
3. Set up your home’s security system
A primary concern that many people may have before heading out on a long vacation is concerns that passersby may be able to clearly see that you’re not around. As most recorded break-ins occur when people aren’t home, it’s reasonable for homeowners to invest in a good home security system prior to heading overseas for a long period of time.
Installing a home security system with smart functionalities can help you stay in the loop with any potential security concerns as they occur in real time. Cameras with thermal sensing can send push notifications straight to your mobile phone to alert you to the presence of any unknown persons on your property.
Similarly, other smart home technologies like smart doorbells, can help you maintain video access to your home’s front doorstep, allowing you to monitor the comings and goings of your loved ones who may be tending to your home while away, as well as any package deliveries, or other unexpected guests. On the off chance that you do experience a break-in attempt while you’re away, chances are high that you’ll have plenty of footage to show to the police in order for them to find the culprits with ease.
4. Alert your bank and mobile phone provider
If you’re preparing to spend using your own credit or debit cards while you’ll be away, then it’s definitely worth calling up your bank and credit card provider before you board your flight and providing them with the dates you’ll be away and the destinations across your trip itinerary. Doing so can help reduce risks of these financial service providers locking your cards and cutting off your ability to make payments due to them detecting your ‘unusual’ spending patterns and assuming it to be fraud or signs that your card has been stolen.
While you’re calling up your bank and card providers, you should pencil in some time to give your network service provider a ring too, just to ensure that you have the right plan to make calls overseas if need be. If both your mobile phone provider and bank or credit providers have outlined that you don’t require the necessary plans or cards needed in order to make payments or phone calls overseas, then they can help you secure these plans, allowing you to stay connected to your loved ones and your money when travelling abroad.
5. Make advance payments on your bills
One all-too-common mistake that many holidayers make is failing to consider bills that may be due while they’re away. If you have rental payments or even mortgage repayments whose due dates just happen to fall within the dates of your trip, you’ll want to ensure that you make those payments ahead of time to minimise risks of those payments falling into arrears.
Allowing these time-sensitive payments to fall into arrears can lead to legal issues and perhaps even negatively impact your credit rating, so it’s of the utmost importance that you make advance payments wherever they’re required. Other payments that may require you pay in advance in order to avoid legal action or late fees include your home’s utility bills, your mobile phone bill, and your car registration payment, if this also happens to fall within your travel window. Be sure to check thoroughly for any and all bills that may be due during your time away to ensure that your household doesn’t fall behind on any of these payments.
6. Make a copy of your travel itinerary for loved ones
It’s always a good idea to make sure that your friends or loved ones know where you’ll be travelling to, just in case they may need to reach you or to provide information to any relevant authorities on your behalf. You should feel encouraged to pass on a copy of your travel itinerary to your friends and loved ones to make sure that everybody can predict your movements and expect you to be in select locations at outlined times.
Not only will providing your loved ones (and ideally also your emergency contacts) with a copy of your trip itinerary equip them with their own peace of mind, but it can be a superb way of also ensuring your safety during your holiday. For example, if your loved ones can reach you at any point in your itinerary, they can expect that something’s gone awry and seek emergency assistance on your behalf if it’s required, all without wasting any precious time.
7. Give your house a thorough cleaning
Last but certainly not least, you should take efforts to ensure that your home is spotless out of respect for the people you’ve entrusted with taking care of your house while you’re away. It’s simply not courteous to force your housesitter, petsitter, or even your babysitter to clean up messes that you’ve left behind rather carelessly. By doing some cleaning yourself before packing up and heading out, you can help your loved ones or other entrusted persons to move in and out of your house comfortably.
A good place to start is by clearing out your fridge and pantry spaces. Remove any spoiled or expired foods, and wipe down surfaces before organising the areas thoroughly. You should also consider making space in these areas specifically for housesitters or other people who may be in and out of your home while you’ll be away.
Alongside cleaning out kitchen spaces, you should also remove all dirty laundry from your hampers, and put all your own belongings away neatly, before doing a thorough sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming to make absolutely certain that nobody else is being saddled with your mess. If you’re leaving during storm season, then you may even consider cleaning out your gutters and getting your home’s roofing and perhaps even your electricity system inspected by professionals to reduce the risks of your home requiring any emergency repairs while you’ll be away.
With all these considerations being made, chances are high that you’ll be able to wake up on the day of your departure without a care in the world, and a feeling of total security that your home and family will be perfectly taken care of during your absence.