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7 Things to Do Before You Leave on Your Next Long Vacation

Vacation Checklist: 7 Things to Do Before Boarding the Plane for a Long Vacation

You’ve finally booked that extended vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years! It’ll be just you and your loved one(s) on the adventure of your fondest desires — minus the stresses and hassles of work.

But you’re only guaranteed a relaxing time if you’ve taken a few minutes to prepare yourself properly before you take off. Here are a few things to do before heading out.

1. Secure Your Home

A home that’s been vacant for several days is the perfect target for burglars. The odds of it happening to you might be low, but you don’t want to take any chances if you’re planning an extended vacation.

Make it look like somebody’s home by leaving a light on in the house, having a neighbor collect your mail and newspapers, and calling a landscaper to mow your lawn. If you’re seriously concerned, you might consider hiring a house sitter.

2. Take Care of Those You’re Leaving Behind

If you’re not taking everyone on vacation, make sure their care is squared away before you go. You’ve probably thought about having a relative watch your kids, or a friend your pet(s), but don’t forget to write up their schedules, list their medications, and leave other appropriate care instructions.

A typed-up list makes babysitting much easier when you’re away. Also, think about others who might depend on you when you’re at home, such as an aging parent in a nursing home.

What if your mother were to fall and injure herself while you’re away? Leave contact information and instructions with the facility before you hoist the sail.

3. Call Your Bank

If you’re traveling within your state, you shouldn’t have any trouble using your debit and credit cards. However, if you travel across the country or outside of it, your bank might flag the transactions for potentially fraudulent activity and freeze the card.

It’s great that banks have such security measures in place to protect our assets, but it’s a nuisance if they swing into action when we’re traveling. Give your bank a call before heading out, and inform them of your travel dates and destinations. This will keep you from having your fun interrupted during your trip!

4. Check into Travel Insurance

Most of the time, when an airline or train tries to sell you travel insurance, it’s just an upsell. But you shouldn’t discount the option completely when you go on vacation.

Travel insurance can be useful if you undergo an emergency that forces you to have to cancel your trip. Travel insurance might also cover your rental car and even minor health insurance claims.

Sometimes, your credit card or insurance companies will offer travel insurance. Before going for the travel insurance upcharge, see if your credit card will cover the issues.

5. Clean Out Your Fridge

Depending on how close the milk is to its sell-by date, it will spoil in your fridge between five and seven days from when you put it there. Other food typically spoils around the same time.

If you’re heading on vacation for a week or more, refrain from buying perishables an appropriate amount of time before you go. Cleaning out your refrigerator is also a good idea. It makes for a much more pleasant entrance into your home after a long break.

And when you’re done cleaning, don’t forget to take out the trash! There’s nothing worse than the smell of rotting garbage to welcome you home; take the trash to the curb before leaving and ask a neighbor to put it back for you after the trash collectors come.

6. Keep an Eye on the Weather

The weather at your vacation destination will dictate the clothing and accessories you should pack. Don’t assume the sun will always be shining in California or the slopes will unfailingly be powder in Colorado.

The weather in many regions can switch at the drop of a hat, so pack accordingly. Be flexible with your wardrobe. Throw in a light sweater in case your beach destination is cold or your snow vacation is warm, and always bring a pair of tennis shoes: They’re handy more often than not on vacation.

7. Pay Your Bills

The last thing you want to have to worry about while you’re on your vacation is whether you paid the water bill. Get organized and take care of all your bills before heading out on vacation.

This is a great opportunity finally to take advantage of automatic payments. Most payment centers accept automatic online payments, or you can use your bank’s version of Bill Pay. This way, you’ll never forget to pay a bill again and won’t receive any late fees.

You’ll be grateful you took a few minutes before leaving to handle these details. This will allow you to have a fun, relaxing vacation without a care in the world.

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