You have the flights booked, the hotel room reserved, and you are packed for travelling. But being prepared for your holiday starts before you depart on your travels. Cover-More's ultimate checklist will prepare you and your home before you leave town and will help ensure you return to your home just as you left it.
#1. Pay your bills ahead of time or schedule automatic payments
While you are relaxing by the hotel pool, the last thing you want to stress about is that forgotten electricity bill - and you definitely do not want to be responsible for any late fees. Make sure all your bills are taken care of ahead of time, or schedule an automatic payment so you do not have to worry about it during your trip.
#2. Make copies of your important documents
Do not underestimate how easy it is to misplace important items while travelling. No one expects to arrive at the airport gates missing a boarding pass or get to the hotel with no ID. Make a copy of all your important documents ahead of time and keep the copies in your suitcase or locked in the hotel safe. Having copies will help you return home in case the original documents are lost or stolen.
#3. Call the bank
The high level of security banks now offer for your accounts is very helpful—that is until you are on holiday in New Zealand and the bank freezes your credit card because of 'suspicious activity'. Let your bank or credit card provider know you are going to be out of town and that international charges will be expected.
#4. Unplug and turn off gadgets and devices
Remember to turn off everything before you head out of town. This includes the computer, your television and the lights in your house. Better yet, unplug the devices even if they are not on. Unplugging devices like the TV, toaster, and radio will conserve energy and save you money.
#5. Clean out the refrigerator
Before you leave on holiday, quickly do a once-over of your refrigerator and throw out any perishable items. This is especially important if you are going away for weeks on end, so you are not in for a nasty surprise when you get back. After you are clean the refrigerator, make sure to toss out the trash before you leave.
#6. Make plans for the plants and pets
If you are going to be away for a while, make plans for all the living things in your home. You will need to find the best means of care for your plants and your pets. You can hire a neighbour or a friend to swing by your house to water your plants, and you will have to decide if you will have someone stop by to care for your pet or pay for boarding at a kennel or veterinarian's office.
#7. Hold your mail
Even if you are only gone a few days, make sure to put your mail on hold. Mail and any newspapers that are delivered to your home while you are away will pile up in front of your door, and that is a sure sign to strangers that you are away. If you do not have a friend or family member who can pick up your mail, ask your postal service to hold your mail until you return.
#8. Freeze a ready-made meal
After spending days travelling, the last thing you will want to do when you arrive back home is go to the market or prepare dinner. Save yourself the trouble and set a side of a ready-made meal in the freezer, so all you have to do is heat it up when you get home.
#9. Call to confirm and check the weather
You do not want to arrive at the airport ready for departure to find out your flight has been cancelled or get to your hotel for the night to find out that your room was double booked. Make things easy for yourself and call a few days before you leave to make sure your hotel and any other accommodations are correct and properly booked, and check your flight status in advance for any last-minute changes. While you do that, check the weather to make sure you are prepared for the latest forecast.
#10. Check on your insurance
Most importantly, check up on your travel insurance policy a few days before you depart. No one wants to get injured while surfing in Bali only to find out that they did not include medical coverage in their travel insurance policy. Knowing what your insurance policy covers will save you time and money if something does happen while you are away.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Kate Ter Haar; cropped from original