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“Going-Out-of-Town” Checklist (Don’t Leave Home Without It)

June 27, 2008 | Posted in: Tips and Tricks,Travel Safety

ATTENTION VACATIONERS!

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

http://flights.farecompare.com/

  • Link to airlines’ Contracts of Carriage (a list of your “rights” regarding flight delays, refunds, etc.):

http://news.farecompare.com/2007/09/19/airlines-conditions-of-carriage/3587/

  • Link to numerous hotel chains:

http://news.farecompare.com/2007/09/19/hotels/3589/

  • Link to rental cars

http://news.farecompare.com/2007/09/19/rental-cars-bus-and-train/3588/

 

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.

5 Responses to ““Going-Out-of-Town” Checklist (Don’t Leave Home Without It)”

  1. Steve P says:

    How about – “Turn off your main water supply unless you know it will be needed for something”?

  2. Tom says:

    To be safe, turn off the house water supply.
    Be sure to check your bills’ due dates and pre-pay any credit cards so as to not incur late charges while you are away.
    Cancel newpapers and mail delivery for the time you are away.
    Unplug all electronics.

  3. Drennon D Stringer says:

    Turn off water heaters. Why keep the water hot while you are gone? Turn off A/C. Use timers to turn on & off lights in living room and bedroom.

  4. Denise says:

    Call your credit card companies and tell them the places and dates you will be away and using your card. I’ve heard of instances when card companies think someone is fraudulently using a card and disrupts service to the actual user when on vacation and it’s not always easy to get it reinstated when you’re at the table trying to pay for dinner in a foreign country.

  5. Robert Wheaton says:

    I agree with the above. My routine includes: shutting off the main water; turning off the hot water tank (it has a ‘vacation’ mode; and reprograming the HVAC. Usually set the AC to come on the day we arrive home.

    I like the idea of leaving home owner insurance information/policy. Never thought of that one.

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