So much of planning a trip includes the flights, lodging, important documents, and “how will I possibly fit two weeks’ worth of stuff in 1 carry-on”. There’s so much to think about that it’s easy to forget the important things that you’re leaving behind. So, I wanted to put together a little handy dandy list of things to check-off before you head-off on that next trip. 1. Have the post office hold your mail If you’re going to be gone for a while, in no time at all, your mail is going to start looking like a small mountain. Not only is it nice to have it held so that you know it’s all in one place and not overflowing, it’s also good, so that it doesn’t give it away that you’re out of town. Things like mailboxes that haven’t been checked, and garbage cans that have been sitting on the curb for weeks on end is a big “Hey come rob me, no one will even know for weeks”. 2. Have someone come water your plants You know those plants that you’ve been trying to keep alive for months and you’ve finally got them off life support? Well, don’t abandon them now. If you have a friend or neighbor that you trust, have them stop by and water your plants. You can also have them bring in the mail if you’d rather that then have the post office hold it for you. This is also a nice arrangement, because they can keep an eye on things, and make sure everything looks ok. Don’t forget to bring them back a little thank you gift too. (Unless you manage this tulip farm, you should have a friend who can keep your plants alive) 3. Unplug small appliances Even when you’re not using them, small appliances that are plugged in are using power. So, why spend money and waste energy on your blender, microwave, toaster, etc when you’re not going to be using them for a month. Also, turn off your alarm clock, no one wants that going off for an eternity. Your power bill will be a bit less and you’ll reduce the chance of any electrical issues while you’re away. 4. Put your bills on auto-pay. When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to get into a relaxed state where it doesn’t matter what day it is. Every day is Saturday on vacation! When you’re in that state of mind, and you don’t have the bill coming in the mail to remind you to pay it, and perhaps you have limited connectivity wherever you are, bills are going to get missed. So, go through your monthly bills and set them all up on auto-pay. If there are items that you can put on hold for a few months while you’re away without cancelling them, like Netflix, do that. There’s no sense in paying for it, if you’re not going to be using it. 5. Weather proof your home If you’re traveling during colder months, be sure to leave the heat on in your house. It doesn’t have to be as warm as usual, 55 F is usually warm enough. Also, you’ll want to consider your pipes. Two methods can help keep your pipes from freezing. 1. Leave a small stream of water trickling out of the faucet, or 2. Turn the water off completely to your house. If you go with method 2, you’ll need to make sure you’ve removed all the water from the pipes. 6. Put your lights on timers For the same reason, a pile of mail lets people know that you’re out of town, an always dark house, or a house with its porch light on 24/7 for a week, lets people know you’re gone. Timers are usually pretty cheap and easy to install and helps protect your home. 7. Tidy up before you leave Coming home from a trip is always a little hard. Make it easier on yourself by coming home to a clean house. Also, when your house has been shut-up for a long while without much air flow, things can get funky. Making sure the house is clean, trash has been emptied, garbage disposal cleaned etc, will help you come home to a nice fresh house and help you enjoy your transition home. 8. Consider a house sitter I did this for the first time on our last trip and it was so nice! We have dogs, and normally send them to a boarder while we are away. We used to have a great place to take them, that I’m pretty sure they enjoyed more than being at home. Unfortunately, after moving, we haven’t found a similar place. This need inspired us to find a house sitter that loves dogs. She took great care of them. They went on adventures, got to sleep in their normal spots, and our house was lovingly watched over and it was actually cheaper than boarding our dogs. Our house sitter even left us a fresh homemade loaf of bread for our return. While all house sitters may not go above and beyond with homemade baked gifts, it did give us peace of mind. We asked her to send us a few emails with updates on our pups while we were gone and it really eased our worry. 9. Leave you travel details with a friend or family member Chances are, your trip is going to go off without a hitch. It is always important to be prepared for the worst case scenario though. Also, if an emergency happens to occur with a family member, or your house, people need to know how to get ahold of you and where you’ll be. Let people know what your flight details are, what hotels you’re staying in, and the best way to reach you while you’re traveling 10. Try not to worry too much The most important thing is to enjoy your trip as much as possible. Leave as much of your day-to-day worries behind and embrace your adventure completely. One of the best parts of travelling is recharging your batteries. So, pack those bags, hit the road, and don’t forget to travel happy !