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I know many of us get a panic attack as soon as we’re on our way to the airport wondering if we’ve turned off the stove, locked the front door, or unplugged the iron.  Sure, they’re silly but here are some things you should definitely remember to do before you leave.

Notify the banks you’re travelling.  Before you leave, let your credit card companies know where you’ll be travelling and when.  The last thing you want is to reach a destination and not have access to any ATMs or have all your cards declined because they think it’s a fraudulent charge.  It only takes a couple minutes online and could save your countless hours in the end.

Mail stop and newspaper stops.  Ok, so many of us don’t read newspapers anymore but we still get mail (even if it is mostly junk).  Contact USPS and let the know that you want a mail stop from the day before you leave to the day after you come back.  They’ll hold the mail for you and deliver it after you return.  This way, your mailbox doesn’t overflow with items that would be a dead giveaway to potential thieves.  The same goes for newspapers.  Both can easily be done online and again, only take minutes.

Ask a friend or a neighbor to keep an eye out on the house or ask them to water the plants.  At the very least, having someone swing by the house while you’re gone will give you peace of mind and hopefully your neighbors will know if something looks suspicious.  If you have someone come by every few days to water the plants, you can also have them do a quick walk through the house to make sure there are no water leaks or anything odd.  Just make sure you leave some wine or beer and possibly some snacks as a thank you.  

This one is odd.  If you’re going to be gone for any length of time, take care of any grooming and other needs before you leave.  Basically, do all the simple things like get your hair cut, trim your nails, get new contacts, etc.  It much easier to get that done before you leave as opposed to getting it done in a foreign country where the language barrier makes it tougher to explain what you want or need.  You’ll save yourself time and frustration by not having to worry about it.  

Finally, make sure your passport is up to date.  A lot of countries will require that you have at least 6 month of validity left on your passport while some may require having a new page for immigration to stamp.  We really don’t think about our passport until we absolutely need it so it’s easy to forget that they need to be renewed and up to date.  Who knows, maybe this’ll give you a chance to replace the old passport photo with a much better one!

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