Early this year, my parents found some cheap airfare (those were the days!), and a great bargain on a cruise, so they happily headed off to the Caribbean.
But while out to sea, their water heater back home began self-destructing. If not for an alert neighbor (who noticed water gushing out the door), the damage could have been worse than it was.
So I came up with The Essential “Going-Out-of-Town” Checklist — for all out-of-town travelers — and the loved ones they leave behind. Keep reading…
The Essential “Going-Out-of-Town” Travel Checklist
You’re far from home, and something goes wrong back at the house. Maybe you hear about it; maybe it’s left for the folks back home to deal with. In either case, this list will make it easier on everyone.
1, Leave a house-key with someone you trust
- You might want to leave a couple, one with a nearby neighbor, another with a family member
- If you have an alarm system on your home, make sure the key-holder knows how to disarm it
2. Have someone check your house once-a-day
- This will also ease your “did I leave a stove burner on?” anxiety
- A trusted house-sitter is also a good option, especially for pet-owners
3. Make sure the folks back home have your itinerary
- Sounds like a “no brainer” but many people forget this; be sure to include phone numbers and website info
4. Leave insurance info and list of repair companies with key-holder
- If the worst happens, better to have a company you trust work on any necessary repairs
- Include plumbers, heating and electrical firms and appliance repair companies
5. Make sure valuables/important papers left at home are safe-guarded
- Many find peace-of-mind with a floor safe; make sure it’s fire-proof
- Note that fire-proof safes are not necessarily water-proof; make sure important papers are first placed in a Zip-Loc type bag
- If you don’t have a floor safe, use a safety-deposit box at your local bank
6. Travelers must be phone-accessible
- If you’re going out of the country, make sure you have cell phone coverage of the area you’ll be visiting (or rent a cell there); make sure the right people have your number — and you have theirs
- If you’re on a cruise, see if it is accessible by cell phone; some cruises have no cell service, and ship-to-shore calls can run $10- per minute
- If calling a ship, be sure you know your party’s cabin number; the extra minutes it takes an operator to look that up can really add to your bill
7. Travelers should have an “exit strategy” in case of emergency
- Plan ahead: if you’re on a cruise, can you arrange a helicopter exit if necessary? Ask before you go
- Know your own itinerary, and where the nearest airport is at every stop
8. Use these links for transportation options
- Link to airlines’ Contracts of Carriage (a list of your “rights” regarding flight delays, refunds, etc.):
- Link to numerous hotel chains:
A final note: there are emergencies, and then there are real emergencies. In other words, there are some things the folks back home can deal with every bit as well as you can.
So don’t let minor problems ruin a trip; learn to distinguish between a true emergency and everyday problems. Enjoy your vacation.