Picture this. You’re at the airport, about to embark on a long-overdue holiday halfway across the world. You’re excited, you’ve just cleared immigration security and you’re casually browsing the duty-free section. Then your spouse drops a bomb. “Did you lock the back door?”
It happens all too frequently to the best of us. Preparing for a holiday is often a task deserving of a holiday in itself. Here are 5 handy tips to consider before your next big break.
Secure your home. Make a checklist of things to do before you shut the door, and give yourself enough time to do it. If you have a home alarm, test it and make sure it works. Invest in a few good light timers to simulate home activity. Make sure you have all entry points, like doors and windows, fully secured. If you’re using padlocks for these, label the keys and keep a spare set somewhere safe.
Make sure your holiday is insured. Travel insurance is a must for many countries now, in order to get your holiday visa. Find a good policy that covers everything from lost luggage to falling ill whilst abroad. Also review your flight tickets, and if you’ve made purchases or bookings via your credit card. Often, these may already come with some form of insurance cover.
Manage your bills and subscriptions. If you’re going away for a prolonged period, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t come back to a home without lights and a pile of newspapers outside. These can also indicate a vacant house, and make it easy prey for burglars. Pre-pay your electricity, water and other bills before you leave. Suspend your newspaper subscription too. If you have a neighbour you can trust, get them to clear out your mailbox occasionally too.
Inform your family of your whereabouts. Tell your immediate family where you’re going and for how long. Give them a way to get in touch with you, in case of an emergency. Conversely, be cautious about posting your whereabouts on your social networks, especially if you have large groups of friends you don’t know very well. An alternative would be to compile and post up your holiday snaps once you return.
Keep online backups of your identification documents. Scan all your important documents, like passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate and so on, and mail it to yourself at a web mail service, like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. Should you ever lose your passport whilst travelling, you can always pull up a copy from any internet connection worldwide and make the process of getting a replacement much easier.