There are so many things to consider when leaving for vacations longer than a few days. I have found that the easiest way to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything is to check off the task from a list. Also, make sure you do not publicize when you are going to be away. You don’t want any unwanted visitors at your residence while you are traveling.
Here is my checklist:
- Notify the US Postal service that you will be away. You can do this on their website. You can select the last day of mail delivery and the day you want mail delivery to resume. You can also specify whether you will pick up the accumulated mail or have the post office deliver it.
- Suspend your newspaper delivery. They will suspend for the duration, then add that time to the end of your subscription term. No wasted papers.
- Notify your credit card companies if you plan to use the cards abroad. They must know you will be there, or they will deny your purchases. And that is no fun.
- Notify your financial institution that you will be using your debit card while abroad. Again, if they don’t know you will be there, they will deny your transactions.
- Make sure your passport is valid for the length of your stay. This is something you need to keep tabs on well in advance, as the time it take for a new passport has increased over the last few years. I would submit your renewal application six months before the passport is scheduled to expire.
- Do some research online to determine if there are any attraction tickets that need to be purchased in advance. For example when we went to Paris, I was advised to purchase tickets to the Eiffel Tower and Louvre in advance to avoid long lines. This proved to be true. The ticket lines at both attractions were hours long. We were able to go directly to the entrance as we already had our tickets.
- Check the weather forecast at your arrival city a few days in advance and pack accordingly. Pack a travel umbrella just in case.
- Pack light. We use only carry-on bags. Luggage can be heavy after an eight hour flight. No sense struggling through Europe with bulky unwieldy bags.
- Setting up a timer to turn a light on and off at specific times at your home is a good idea also. You can use a conventional timer and plug in a lamp and set the stops for the times, or you can try one of the new wifi switches such as the Belkin WeMo switch I reviewed recently. It will look like you are home, even when you are not.