Pay Your Bills and 5 Other Things You Must Do Before You Leave on Vacation

You packed for the flight to a really cool location, re-installed the smoke detector, and made sure the oven was off, but there's a lot more you can do to make your return home less stressful. Here are the six things to do before you leave on vacation.

1. Tell Your Bank

It happens to everyone at least once: You're enjoying a nice meal in a new city, you pay the bill, the server tells you the card doesn't work, and you panic. Prevent this by calling your bank several days before your trip to alert them that you're planning to use your card(s) on vacation. It's especially important if you're traveling to a faraway destination you've never been before.

2. Resolve Your Email Inbox

Any lingering emails still marked as "unread" at the top of the inbox? Now's a good time to respond with simple answers. Make coworkers and friends feel at ease and have a lot less to deal with when you return. Going away for longer than a long weekend? Definitely worth turning on the vacation auto-responder so your contacts don't feel neglected. When it comes to snail mail, it's worth setting up a vacation hold if no one's checking it for you.

3. Clean House

Who wants to come home to a dirty house? Get the sink clear of dishes, vacuum, and do a number on the shower you've been putting off cleaning. Also, take an afternoon to wash laundry, especially sheets — never underestimate the power of coming home to a fresh scented, freshly made bed. This will ensure coming home will be a stressless transition.

4. Secure a Pet Plan

Have pets and need to arrange for their care? Get your kennel or sitter lined up at least two weeks before a long trip. Plan for all the variables. Don't forget to stock up on extra pet food so someone else doesn't have to hit the store. Get extra keys made for your sitter if necessary. Get extra scat bags, toys, catnip, anything that may help your pets stay comfortable and alive while you're away.

5. Schedule Bill Payments

Going to be away for more than a week and don't want to stop the fun to pay your bills? Set up a bill pay system with your financial institution one billing cycle in advance so that you can be sure it works and the payments post. If timing is an issue, you can also try calling your credit card companies to let them know you are going to be away and payments might be a day or two late.

6. Turn Off Meters

Own a home? Those electric outlets still suck power. Leaks can happen anytime. Turning off your water, gas, and electric meters are a good way to save money while on longer trips and can prevent any kind of disasters that could happen from being worse. It's worth the extra few minutes.

How do you prepare for a long trip?

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Guest's picture

You do not want to turn off your gas if you live in a cold climate. If the furnace doesn't come and it's cold, you could come home to a house full of water from a burst pipe! If you turn off the electric, everything in your fridge will spoil and you absolutely should have timers turning lights off and on while your away. Criminals love a dark house!