13 Things to do BEFORE You Leave for Vacation

Unplugging small appliances before leaving on vacation can save on your electricity bill.

I’m pretty excited. As of today, there are only FOUR chains left on our count-down-to-vacation paper chain. That’s right, this Friday we are packing up the car and heading south to New Orleans and a 5-day cruise.

All told, we’ll be gone for about 10 days. That’s a pretty serious vacation. And not just for packing, but for all those other little things you have to do before you leave. My mother was reminding me about a few of them last night.

Anyway, I need a list of things to get through before we leave. And I thought, “Why not compile it here, where we can all get good out of it?” Why not, indeed. So, here you go:

Other than packing, 13 things to do before leaving on a long vacation:

  1. Call your credit card company. You need to let them know that there might be strange purchases in strange places during the coming days. This is especially true if you’re traveling out of the country, but it’s a good idea even for U.S. trips. Technically, your card company should call you if they are worried about purchases. But if you miss the call, you may be stuck who-knows-where with an unusable credit card.
  2. Figure out mail delivery/grass mowing/fish feeding/etc. You may not need to actually stop your mail delivery. We like to pay the neighbor kid a few bucks a day to grab our mail and water a few plants.
  3. Set automatic timers to turn on/off lights, etc. Of course, the idea is that you make it look like you’re home.
  4. Think ahead for prescriptions. This can be one of those, “Oh, shoot” things you think of as you are rushing out the door to catch a plane. Will you need a refill before you get home? If you’re traveling for more than a week, you may need to call your doctor to have them give permission to buy ahead.
  5. Pay bills that will become due while you’re gone. The last thing you want to be thinking about as your cruising down the Riviera (hey, I can dream, right?) is, “Rats, did I pay the mortgage?” And the last thing you want to come back to is 4 bills that are due immediately. Try to plan ahead.
  6. Make copies of passports. This, of course, is only important if you’re traveling to another country. But I need to remember to do it, so on the list it goes! :)
  7. Set up a vacation message on your voicemail/email. Let’s be honest, I’d never go to the bother. But I know some people need to!
  8. Remove unneeded credit cards/debit cards from your wallet. That way, you don’t have to worry about them getting lost.
  9. Make a quick call to your cell provider. Again, especially if you’re leaving the country. But this may be useful even in the U.S. Just because your phone still works doesn’t mean you’re paying the same rate. Don’t find yourself stuck with hundreds of dollars in phone charges. Check ahead.
  10. Get the cash you need. Most credit cards work overseas these days, but there are some things you still have to pay cash for. It never hurts to be prepared. But some ATM cards have daily maximums. Plan a trip to the bank to get the cash you need and make sure you have a plan for getting money as you need it.
  11. Unplug. Unplug small appliances, televisions, and computers. This will save electricity.
  12. Empty trash. Especially in the kitchen. No one wants to come home to the smell of rotten chicken that’s been sitting in the trash all week. Enough said.
  13. Lock all doors and windows. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often people forget to lock all their windows. Double check.

That’s it! After that, you’re off on an adventure. Now, what did I forget?

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