As I was creating my out-of-office plan for work, I realized that I usually run through a mental out-of-home plan, too. Besides packing for myself, the kids and the type of vacation we’re going on (warm, cold, camping, etc.), there’s also household things that need to happen while we’re away from the house.
- Stop mail delivery. I love that you can do it right online at www.usps.gov. Just choose home services and mail stop. Then you can choose whether you pick up the accumulated mail or they deliver it all at once.
- Stop newspaper. Yes, we still receive a newspaper although the home delivery is only three days per week. Our newspaper allows options to deliver accumulated papers, a credit or to donate to local schools; we always choose the schools option.
- Fish feeder. We have dogs that always need a sitter (grandma or grandpa) but the fish can fend for themselves with a feeder.
- Set thermostat. We have a programmable thermostat so we turn the heat down while we’re out of town. The future step would be to get one you can program with your phone or computer so we can have the house warmed up when we return!
- Lights. We used to have a plug-in timer that would turn a small lamp on and off but got out of the habit. Now that we travel a lot, I’d like to do that again.
- Packages. My husband receives a lot of packages in the mail, so we have a trusted neighbor that will move them inside while we’re gone. That way, they don’t accumulate on the porch as a signal that we’re not home.
Pack, check and repack. If we’re going to a beach vacation, we must have the kids’ goggles, bathing suits and extra suits (they don’t dry hanging in a hotel bathroom). I usually move the kids’ summer clothes in a box in a spare closet when I get the winter clothes out, and then it’s easy to find the Crocs and flip flops, as well as shorts and T-shirts, when we are headed out of town.
And finally – clean sheets. I usually clean the house so it’s not a mess when we return and for some reason, I really love to come home from a trip to find fresh sheets on the bed. It just makes it feel so relaxing to be back in my own bed.
What did I miss? Do you have any pre-trip rituals?