Preparing For an Extended Vacation
Six Weeks is a long time to be away.
"The best preparation for tomorrow, is doing your best today." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The most productive individuals are those who understand and firmly believe in the power of being prepared. Whether in terms of planning a huge fund raising event or something a bit more simple like a child's birthday party. Taking the time and foresight to begin with your goal of the big picture and looking at each piece of the puzzle, can prove time and again to be the ideal road to a successful end.
Speaking of roads, the decision to spend an extended period of time away from home can assure you a long detailed list of all you'll need to consider prior to the day of departure. The more completely and seriously one tackles these preparations, the more confident one can be to insure a comfortable, relaxed frame of mind while away. Nothing can taint the enjoyment of vacation like worrying about what we may have left to chance back home. This is especially concerning if there are few connections for assistance in your home area, who could lend solution to the problem.
It just makes sense to be as thorough with as many issues possible before you shut that door behind you.
Getting to the Airport
Choose from that long list of friends and family who probably owe you at least one favor of the hundreds you've unselfishly provided them. Don't be so shocked that I know this. Doesn't it apply to most of us? Fortunately, a request for a ride to the airport is usually met with a quick, positive response.
Because you're flying, this should remind you to make arrangements for that car you're leaving at home. Where do you park it? Do you leave it in the care of a trusted friend? Are you willing to give the keys and permission for someone to use your car? Make a quick check on the status of your auto insurance and inspection date.
Stacks and stacks of mail...
I can only think of two options for what to do with the daily flow of mail. Visit your friendly local Post Office and request a form to hold all mail while you're away. Or as is my preference, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to hold it for you. I like the latter for the simple reason, should I need to know that a particular expected piece of mail has arrived, I can call this person and inquire.....which in turn allows me to take any possible action I may need to. As I'm informed, the Post Office does not allow just anyone to retrieve your mail and this is as it should be.
Pets and Plants...& other living things....
Our beloved, "Toby" and "TomCat," or parrot, turtle and tank full of exotic fish?....we must surely take pains to arrange for their care! Our pets who reside in their own comfy cage or tank seem to garner more volunteers than fur-babies who must run and wander. In either case, we want to be very selective when choosing their temporary caretakers.
If lucky enough to have people willing to feed, love and walk our dogs, this is a huge load off our mind. There is no shortage of doggy and kitty motels, aka as kennels, but this means research, visits and cost. Through my own investigation of these types of shelters, I've found they run the gamut from well-maintained and safe to the things animal nightmares are made of. In terms of cost, the prices vary greatly. Suffice it to say, if not already familiar with places to leave your beloved pets, this can be one of the most time-consuming issues of preparation before you leave. Sure, it's worth it but give yourself time to do a good job.
Aloe, Ivy & Violets
If you leave for as little as two weeks and forget about your beautiful, thriving greenery, you can expect to return to some sick, if not dying leaves on the vines. After all of your efforts to nourish and care for your lovely plants, this could make for a depressing homecoming.
The easiest arrangements to make for your house plants would be to leave them at home with a promise from a friend or neighbor to come by, perhaps twice a week and give them a generous drink. Nothing more than this should be necessary. However, if this is not an option, you'll find yourself looking for homes to drop off your plants in the hands of whoever is willing to watch over your aloe, ivy and violets.
Tips on Packing.....
Doors & Windows; Locks, Keys & Lighting
It may seem needless to mention but you would find it astounding how many vacationers have left their homes without fully securing all means of possible entry. By fully securing, this means checking and rechecking all windows, doors and locks to make entry by the unwelcome burglar or trespasser, as difficult as humanly possible. Should you find a weakness or area in need of repair or reinforcement, take care of it immediately.
Outdoor solar lighting is the most ideal and more and more homeowners have made this wise investment. In terms of indoor lights, it need not be over kill. In fact, a small lamp with a low watt bulb placed in each room is the suggested plan. You may choose to set these indoor lamps on a timer to go on at sunset and off at sunrise, if your looking to be most frugal.
This seems like as good a time as any to discuss what to pack and how to pack it. By now, most all of us are familiar what is not allowed in our luggage or on our person when traveling by air. It shouldn't be necessary to go into detail on this topic. The Airline companies are quite forthcoming with these rules and consistent with publicizing these reminders. Let's not forget the long lines and careful screening of Airport Security.
In terms of keeping costs down, keep in mind that nearly all Airlines now charge for any luggage other than one carry-on (plus backpack or pocketbook). I was informed just recently, the cost for "extra" baggage can range from $50.00 to $150.00 per. It's the decision of each traveler of course, but that amount of money can encourage me to pack all that I need in one carry-on for sure! I use a carefully considered list and strongly suggest you do as well.
Remember any medications, cell phone, camera, and something to read on the plane.
While on the subject of saving unnecessary expenses....
Follow me if you will, on a walk-through of your home just prior to walking out the door. Hopefully, you've emptied your fridge of perishable items and given them to friends or family to enjoy rather than come home to rotted food items. If the more sturdy items with long term shelf life can handle it, lower your fridge temp by at least 2 points. Unplug your toaster, microwave, coffee maker and any other small appliances on your counter top. Moving on, turn off power to your computer, printer and copier. All televisions, sound systems, radios and intercoms, can be unplugged. In cold weather, heat can be lowered considerably and during warmer seasons, there should be no need for the air conditioning to be left on to cool an empty home. If I have missed something important, I trust you'll catch it.
Depending on you, your lifestyle, family situation, home or apartment and neighborhood, there may be much more you need to include in preparing to leave on an extended vacation or otherwise absence from home.
The fact is, I'll be following these suggestions, step by step myself in the next few days. I'll be leaving my country home in upstate New York, headed for a lovely suburb of Atlanta Georgia. One of my sons, his sweet wife, precious six year old daughter and brand new twin sons, are eagerly awaiting Grandma's arrival for that six-week stay, I mentioned in my opening. Am I thrilled and excited? What do you think?
However, despite my excitement, I'm focusing on all the preparations I need to take care of here at home before I leave.
Last but certainly not least, remember to say your "Good-byes," to your dear ones back home and promise a postcard and maybe even a souvenir.
I shall return, my wonderful pals....I'll miss you and think of you often. In fact, if my time with the kids will allow, I'll peek in now and then just to stay in the loop. Until then, I wish you peace, love and happy days! I wonder if it's possible to use a keyboard with a twin in each arm? I shall soon find out.