When you’re traveling for any amount of time, you have a lot of thing to remember before you go away. What to bring and what not to. All your prescription and over the counter medications. All your electronics and the stuff to ensure you don’t fry them. And the list goes on and on.
There are also some things you should do that may not be utmost in your mind when you’re getting ready to go out of town. Here are a bunch of them:
Confirm all reservations
I don’t just mean checking your airline software to make sure your plane is still on time. Also double check your hotel, car rental, restaurant and entertainment/attraction reservations, to make sure everything is all OK. If something’s not right, it’s easier to take care of any possible problems ahead of time than when you’re at the check in desk and stressed and/or pressed for time.
Oh, and no matter what, have copies of your confirmation numbers with you, either on your phone or on paper.
Check the weather
Sure, it sounds like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t check the forecast of where they’re going. Unless you don’t mind having to go shopping for long/short sleeves, a heavier/lighter jacket, shorts/pants, snow boots, etc., it’s probably better to check the weather and plan your packing accordingly.
And don’t forget to see what the weather will be when you get home, too, so you don’t wind up wearing long johns and a turtleneck and it turns out they’re having a spring thaw at home.
Tell your home security system operator
This is especially important if you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, with no one in the house. Some people also tell their local police department – they may go past your house a bit more than usual, just to make sure everything is OK.
Clean out your fridge
If you have stuff that’ll expire while you’re gone, or will just stink by the time you get back, get rid of it before you leave. Plan it a few days ahead of time and either eat it, freeze it, throw it out, or give it away.
Don’t forget to clean the sink, take out the trash and run the dishwasher, too. Not only will leftover food rot and smell, but it can bring bugs, too.
Leave an itinerary with someone you trust
You never know when an emergency could happen. Your emergency contact should have a copy of your travel plans, your cell number and, as needed, any info about pets (where they are, veterinary info, etc.) . Also have your emergency contact’s contact information easily accessible so YOU can contact HIM/HER.
Check with your cell phone company
We purposely switched from AT&T to T-mobile because at the time, T-mobile’s international plan was much more reasonable than AT&T’s. Several U.S.-based phone companies have reasonable international plans nowadays, so you can still use your phone out of the country.
If not going that route, plan ahead of time. If you plan on buying a SIM chip when you arrive, decide what you’re going to get, and where to buy it, ahead of time.
Empty out your wallet
Besides making your wallet that much thinner, if your wallet is stolen, you won’t have to worry about replacing your library card, restaurant loyalty card with 9 out of 10 punch holes, Whole Foods gift card, etc.
Pay your bills ahead of time
The road to hell is paved with good intentions and I’m sure you plan on paying your bills while you’re out of town. Still and all, there’s a good chance you’ll forget. So avoid late fees and do what you need to do to ensure all your bills will be paid on time.
Alert your credit card companies
I’ll never forget when I had a brand new American Express card and the first time I used it was when I was in Tokyo. The card was flagged with possible fraudulent activity (in 20/20 hindsight, of course it was; I had never used it before and the first charge was in a country I had never visited before. Hey, I was young.) and I couldn’t use it for the rest of my vacation. Fortunately, I had other credit cards I could use, but I learned my lesson – always tell your credit card companies when you’re traveling, so they don’t see charges from places that are unusual for you, and deny the charges.
Put your mail delivery on hold
Years ago, if you wanted mail delivery to stop, you had to fill out a card and mail it to the post office weeks ahead of time to ensure your mail would be held while you were away. Nowadays it’s a matter of a few keystrokes on a computer.
You could also ask a neighbor to collect your mail, as well as to be on the lookout for any boxes you forgot or didn’t know were going to be left on your porch.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary