Traveling Soon? Here’s What You Need To Do First

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Traveling Soon? Here’s What You Need To Do First

By Natalie Augustin

Travel checklist

“Summer” has officially begun and though it’s the busiest travel season of the year, I can’t wait to get packing. Whether you’re planning a mini trip, whirlwind tour, experience of a lifetime, or a weekend getaway, there’s one basic step that every traveller must take as they prep for their adventures. 

Any guesses? 

We’re talking about leaving home – the first, most overlooked step that every wanderer takes on their way to greater things.

Leaving home might seem like the least of your travel worries, but smart globetrotters know that what you do before you leave home is every bit as important as the trip itself.

If you want to guarantee a smooth send-off, peace of mind, and a relaxing return, here are some helpful tips to check off your list before you exit your front door.

Summer Travel
Natalie Augustin

Clean Up

Let’s start at the basics – cleaning up. Now you might say “I won’t be home, so why bother?” Well, your future self will thank you, for one! When you’re jet-lagged and tired, the last thing you want is a home and fridge that looks like an incubator for a science experiment. Rather than face that future discomfort, take a few hours out of your pre-travel schedule and use that time to tidy up your place. 

Here is your list of pre vacation chores:

  • Do the washing and empty the washing machine and dryer
  • Take out the garage
  • Wash the dishes and empty the dishwasher
  • Change the sheets
  • Check around the yard for anything that could collect stagnant water
  • Pour some vinegar and baking soda down the drain and in the toilet bowl, to keep smells at bay
  • Rid your fridge of any perishables

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Pay Bills and Disconnect Services

No one wants to come home to a dark house or waterless pipes. Ensure all utilities are paid in full before you leave. If you’re looking to save, ask your telecom and cable operators if you can temporarily disconnect their services for the duration of your holiday. 

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Plan a meal for your return

It’s no fun returning home to an empty fridge and pantry, especially if you have kids in tow. Preparing and freezing a simple meal that the whole family can enjoy is a great welcome home gesture to yourself. 

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Tell friends, family and neighbours

Unless your trip is a covert operation, telling your family or a friends about your departure and travel details is a key safety tip. That way, they can be alerted to any unusual activity in or around your home, and can contact you in case of an emergency.

While travel safety is an ongoing concern, thankfully technology these days can help you keep your home secure. Here are some apps to help you stay connected to to your home, and give a little bit more peace of mind when traveling.

  • Bsafe – Used to privately alert friends of your arrival to your destination. And sends GPS info about your destination.
  • Kitestring – Checks in with you and sends a message to a pre-selected contact should you fail to respond.
  • ICE (In Case of Emergency) – this app allows your smart phone to be searched for emergency contacts.
  • STEP (The Smart Traveller Enrollment Program) – Allows you to be updated by the embassy in your travel destination should and unsafe condition arise. 

While staying in touch with friends back home is key, advertising all your travel plans on social media is is foolhardy. Less is more when it comes to publicising your adventures, so keep tabs on those daily Instagram posts and tweets until you return home.

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Secure it all

It’s important to keep up appearances when you travel. Your home must look lived-in everyday, so as to deter any unwanted attention or intruders.  

  • Keep the lawn and the front of your home as well maintained as you do when you’re around
  • Put at least one light in your house on a timer
  • Go ahead and apply security company stickers to your windows/doors to advertise that your home is professionally protected, even if it’s not  
  • Install motion sensors and keep the perimeter well-lit.
  • Request a trusted friend to check in occasionally while you are away
  • If you have valuables at home, don’t choose obvious places as hiding spots. A good place to store documents and paper currency is at the back of the freezer, wrapped in plastic and aluminium foil. Try placing valuables under the trash bag of a bathroom or kitchen bin.  Or better yet, store them in dummy containers like old food cans and boxes, in kitchen cupboards, under the sink, and in your bathroom
  • Don’t be afraid to use technology. Home safety apps keep you alert and connected to your home during your travels. Doorbells with video cameras connected to your mobile phone, help you screen visitors and give the impression of an occupied home. Skybell HD, Vivint Sky App, Door bots, and Ring video bell are all useful services that place security in your hands

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Unplug and turn off the water

Disconnecting seems natural while you’re on a holiday, but make sure that extends to your home too. If you are anything like me, I usually leave to many things plugged in on a daily basis. For both safety and economic reasons though, unplugging appliances and electronics before leaving on vacation is a good idea.

Similarly, turning of the water supply main to your home can save you big time, and prevent any regrettable leaks.

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Pets and Plants

Our beloved pets still need TLC when we travel. Although pet cameras, monitors, and automatic feeders are great ways to keep you connected and your pets fed, the best option would be to have someone pet sit or drop in frequently to ensure all is well.

Likewise, remember to water all plants before you leave, or leave them with a professional or fellow enthusiast if you’re gone for an extended period.

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Mail and newspapers

Stopping newspaper deliveries and having someone clear your mailbox can help keep up appearances that it’s business as usual at your home.

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Traveling the world is a luxury. But that privilege can soon become a nightmare if you return home to find your belongings violated and plundered. These simple tips  can help you keep your absence under wraps while making your return home as stress free and seamless as possible. Enjoy your summer travel!

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