Checklist: 5 Things To Do Before Going on Vacay
1. Call your alarm company.
Give your alarm company the names and phone numbers of your house-sitters and emergency contacts. You’ll want the alarm company to call them first (not you) if your alarm is ever triggered. If no one answers on your call list, the alarm company will send a police car to check it out and repeated false alarms can result in fines.
2. Let trusted neighbors know you’re leaving.
Before you leave, give your neighbors a heads up; that way, they can look out for suspicious activity while you’re gone. Email them the contact and vehicle information of your house/cat/plantsitters and whoever else will be visiting your house in your absence, so that your neighbor knows who belongs and who does not and can call them directly if they have questions.
3. Leave a duplicate house key with someone.
If you have a house, cat, dog, or plant-sitter, you’ve probably made arrangements for them to pick up your house key. But if you aren’t having anyone “sit” for you, then give your house key to someone you trust in case of a household emergency: If you’re ever on vacation and get a call that your toilet is leaking into your downstairs neighbor’s apartment (or some other emergency), you’ll want someone you trust to help fix the problem.
4. Request a mail hold.
Fill out the form at https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/ and request that the post office temporarily stop delivering your mail. You can choose a start and end date, on which the carrier will let you either pick up all your mail and packages or will deliver them all on your chosen end date. Also, both FedEx Delivery Manager and UPS My Choice are free delivery services that will send you an email when you’re getting a package and allow you to request package holds. Although some advise against letting USPS know that you’re away (because then your regular mail carrier will realize you’re out of town), I trust my USPS workers. Plus, I signed up for the program that sends me daily email scans of the day’s mail (this is something they do to all mail anyway nowadays), so I would know if anything was missing.
5. Call your banks and credit card companies.
Although some credit card companies have phased out this requirement entirely, other banks and credit card companies may flag your out-of-state purchases as suspicious and cancel or suspend your account access without notice, resulting in an unnecessary headaches (seriously the last thing you need to do on vacation).
Also, it’s a great idea to empty out your wallet of unnecessary credit cards, membership cards, and gift cards and put them into a safe before you go on a trip. That way if you ever lose your wallet, you know what cards need to be replaced.
As always, this post contains travel tips, not legal advice. Happy Travels!