Here are a few tips on what to prepare at home before setting off on your next adventure.
Make sure you have someone who empties your mailbox while you are away on vacation or order a mail storage service from your postal service.
Water your flowers before leaving and find someone to water them while you are away (or leave them with a friend).
Adjust your blinds and curtains. Try to give the impression that there is still someone living in the house.
If you have a timer connected to your electricity outlet you can turn lamps on and off giving the impression that someone is at home to avoid burglars.
Stop deliveries of newspapers and other deliveries e.g. milk.
Get rid of food
If you have food which will go bad during your trip get rid of it before leaving. Check your refrigerator and cupboards. Finding new life forms in your refrigerator is not the first thing you want to do as you come back from that 20 hour plane ride.
Disconnect electrical items
Disconnect electrical items (e.g. the TV) from the electrical outlet in order to save energy and avoid fires/damage if there are thunderstorms.
Throw away your garbage and do the dishes.
Turn off water
Turn off water supply if advisable (e.g. to avoid the possibility of water leaks while you are away).
Turn on call forwarding functionality and have the calls forwarded to your cell phone if you want to be reachable (N.B. this can be quite expensive, check the charges before).
Change answering machine message
If you do not have the calls forwarded consider changing the message on your answering machine specifying how you can be reached. This also applies to your cell phone voice mail if you can not/do not want to return calls. N.B. If you state that you are away on holiday you may attract burglars.
Set up authorization (power of attorney)
If you need someone to be able to do things on your behalf which require authorization e.g. pick up your parcels and handle paperwork.
Book laundry time
If you live in a country where you have shared laundry rooms and need to book these in advance (such as in Sweden) reserve a time slot the day after you arrive so that you can do the laundry right away.
Adjust the thermostat so that your home has a suitable indoor temperature during your trip.
Leave unnecessary items at home
Do not bring items you do not need along on your trip (e.g. expensive jewelry, keys and cards).
Leave keys and contact info to acquaintance
Leave duplicate keys to your home, your planned itinerary, photocopies of your important documents and contact details to a friend or family.
Make sure that you pay bills which will become due during your vacation before you leave (or have someone else pay them for you). Internet connections to your Internet bank are not always reliable.
Turn on out-of-office assistant
Turn on the out-of-office assistant in your e-mail program so that people who e-mail you are informed that you are away.
Park Internet accounts
If you are a member of some Internet communities your account may be deleted after a period of inactivity. It is sometimes possible to park your account by selecting a special status in your profile which means that your account will not be deleted.
Make sure all doors and windows are locked.