It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining and you’re about to go on that much-needed vacation you’ve been dying to go on.
Planning is key to a smooth vacation. Here are 10 essential things I’ve learned to never forget to do from my past travel experiences in this post.
1. Clean your house
Have you ever come home to your place that you left messy and untidy before you left for vacation because you didn’t have time to clean and you were rushing to pack?
It’s not exactly the greatest feeling.
One way to avoid this is to not leave your house cluttered and untidy because it honestly never feels good to come home to a complete, total mess.
The first thing I always make sure to do before going on vacation is to clean, clean, and clean some more! Vacuum the entire house, wash the dishes, empty all the garbage and recycling bins (especially if there’s food), and tidy everything up so that it’s at least close to immaculate condition.
All your hard work will be well worth it when you come home to a spotless house. Cleaning up beforehand (especially food that’s been left out, unclean dishes, and trash) will also give you peace of mind that insects and other rodents won’t start to infest your place.
2. Re-direct your mail
If you’re going to be gone for a while, you’re going to have to prepare to deal with incoming mail that will inevitably pile up. It’s easy for people you don’t want to know (a.k.a. burglars!) to know you’re gone if there’s a huge pile of mail accumulating in your mailbox.
If you live in a condo, ask the concierge store them for you until you’re back. If you live in a house or your building doesn’t have a concierge, you can pay a small fee to your local postal service to hold your mail. Or even better, try to get a friend or family member to come pick up your mail every few days until you’re back.
3. Empty Out Your Fridge
One thing that’s often overlooked is the amount of food left in your fridge. If you’re going to be gone for a long time, remember to empty out anything that will easily spoil such as fruits and vegetables. You don’t want to have food left in there in case there is a power outage when you’re gone.
4. Don’t forget about your pets & plants
If you own pets, you’re going to have to find a place for them while you’re gone unless you’re bringing them with you. When I’m going on vacation for more than 2 days at a time, I always either leave my cat with friends or hire a cat sitter. Leaving your pets at a kennel is also an option if you’re fine with that. If you have fish, get an auto feeder.
Houseplants also tend to be forgotten, so make sure they’ve been watered before you leave. You can also give them to friends and family to take care of if you’re going to be gone for a long period of time.
An additional thing you must do in preparation for your trip is to figure out how you’re going to travel to your mode of transportation.
If you’re going to catch a plane at the airport or you need to get to the train or bus station at a certain time, will your family member or friend drop you off? Reserve a taxi ahead of time? Catch an Uber ride?
All of these are important to plan and consider in order to get to your destination on time and without added headaches.
6. Automate your house lights
If you live in a house, use a timer to automate your lights to turn on and off at times when you’d normally be at home. It’s a great way to make it seem like someone is still at home. It’ll help ward off burglars and other unwanted guests. If you live in a condo, then you can skip this tip of course.
7. Minimize Your Utilities
If you’re not going to be home for an extended period of time, you might want to think about minimizing your utilities such as heating and air conditioning. Unless it’s super hot and humid or really cold outside, you don’t need these to be on at maximum if you’re going to be away from home anyway. You’ll save a few bucks while helping the environment out at the same time.
8. Pack Early
Are you the type that scrambles at the very last moment to pack?
If you do, you’re bound to forget something important, skip much-needed sleep (if you’re catching an early morning flight), or risk missing your flight altogether (because you didn’t pack everything on time).
All of this can be avoided with just a bit of preparation!
Prepare what you need to take with you early. The last thing you want to do is to pack everything you need at the very last minute.
I like making a list of things that I need to bring and group them under different categories (such as toiletries, clothing, electronics, etc) about a week before going on vacation. This way, as the day gets closer, I’m able to add items to my list as they come to mind. You can also create a general master list of items you tend to pack when you travel to save you time and work.
If you’re just going for a short trip, here are some of my essentials I always bring on vacation.
9. Tell Your Bank You’re Traveling
Before you leave, make sure you let your bank know that you’re going on vacation. If you’re going to be using your credit card, you don’t want the bank to decline your transactions because they think that someone else is fraudulently using your card.
10. Pay Off Your Bills
Don’t forget to pay off any outstanding or upcoming bills that will be due before you leave. This is especially important if you’re going to be gone for a while and won’t be certain if you’ll have Internet access. You can set up automatic bill payments beforehand so that you can rest assure that your bills will be paid on time with no penalties. You don’t want to come home to find that you’re owing a large interest tab when it could be easily avoided!
That’s A Wrap
These are just some tips that I learned in my past experiences with traveling. Make sure you remember to consider these things so that you’ll be prepared and have peace of mind before heading out!
What are some things that you always do to prepare yourself before going on vacation? Feel free to share!