Preparing for a vacation is kind of like getting ready for a day at work, when your alarm goes off way late and you have one too many things to check off on your to-do list. In other words, it’s stressful.
You spend most of your afternoon trying to get organized only to find that, inevitably, something is going to have to be chopped from your chores list. Oh, the joys of vacationing.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be so trying. Though you may think there are tons of things you have to tackle before jetting off, there aren’t. There are really only 10 things to focus your energy on. Here’s what to do.
Empty Your Wallet
No one wants to have his or her wallet stolen on vacation. Worse still is having a wallet full of important-yet-unnecessary-when-travelling documents poached (see: social insurance number card, rewards cards, Canadian-only restaurant cards, etc.). Clear your money holder pre-trip.
If you have important items that you need to bring with you, be sure to make photocopies of each card before you hop on a plane. This will ensure you have all of the information you need in the event something gets stolen. You should even scan and send soft copy photos of your documents to a family member or friend who isn’t travelling with you. Any excuse for your mom to have yet another extra picture of you, right?
Pay Your Bills
Your bills aren’t going to disappear just because you’re on vacation. Set up automated payments or make scheduled deposits before you jet off to avoid interest charges or late fees. There can be something freeing about that plane taking off with you snug and secure in the knowledge that your bills are paid.
Call Your Bank
Banks have the ability to shut off your credit card if they see some suspicious transactions. Avoid getting stalled on your shopping spree by letting your bank and credit card companies know about your travel plans, especially if you’re travelling to potentially sketchy locations, like Mexico or Cuba, where it’s more common for card-skimming scams to occur.
Get Motion Sensors
The simplest way to deter burglars is to make your home look like it’s lived in. Motion detectors and light timers will make it look as though someone is home. Pro tip: attach a timer to a radio so sound, on top of light, also streams out of your space. If you’re super-paranoid about something happening while you’re away, get a friend or family member to stop by your place.
Do Your Yard Work
If the goal is to make it look like someone has been home, skipping your pre-trip yardwork is a no-no. Cut your grass, trim the hedges and tend to flowers so nothing looks overgrown. If you know you’ll be gone for a long period of time, hire a service or a neighbourhood kid to do the tending for you.
Get Rid Of Garbage
No one wants to smell your rotting garbage, especially while you’re on vacation. Ditch it at a dumping place, shove it down a chute, or otherwise get rid of it (legally) before jetting off. This will also save you from having to clean up torn-up trash that’s come into contact with critters. Or experience anything like that one time we went away on vacation and forgot to empty the green bin and came back to a healthy family of maggots living in it…
Want to save on your electricity bill while you’re away? Unplug everything before you leave the house. A small amount of power is delivered to items that are plugged in even when not in use. Pro tip: TV cable boxes consume a lot of power. Turn them off before you jet.
Baking Soda In Your Toilet
Resting water is gross. What’s worse, it can stain your toilet. Toss a little baking powder in the water to prevent it from growing mould or getting stinky while you’re away.
Clean Your Fridge
There is nothing worse than returning from a trip only to find your entire kitchen smells like a rotting carcass. If there’s one thing to do before you head on a long trip, it’s to clear out your fridge completely. Pass anything that may spoil onto a friend to save you from sickening scents post-trip. If you’re used to smelling sunscreen or the ocean, this foul odour can be particularly jarring.
Happy travels! Don’t you feel better now?