Traveling is incredibly fun and exciting- the cities, the countryside, the landscapes, the wildlife. But the few weeks leading up to any adventure, as well as the first couple of days upon return, can also feel quite stressful, especially if you don’t prepare properly. By taking some time to plan and complete certain tasks before you depart, you can quite easily decrease your worry while away and ensure your return home is all-the-more pleasant.
Surveying the experts here at Travel Beyond, below are nine essential tasks that staff members always tackle before departing on a trip.
Inform a Friend or Family Member of Your Travel Plans—
Joleen Soderberg, Brand Manager
I always share my travel dates, final itinerary, and all contact numbers with a family member before I leave on a trip. That way, if something happens while I am gone, at least one person knows exactly where I will be, when, and how to get ahold of me, if needed. It is also nice to know that someone is following along with my adventure, even if from afar.
Take Out the Trash and Recycling—
Jenny Falls, Consultant
On my way out the door, I make sure to grab the trash and recycling. Disposing of both helps prevent any unpleasant odors from developing while I’m away. It also means I don’t have to think about completing this chore within the first few days of my return. Instead, and more enjoyably, I can fully decompress, unpack, and relive the trip’s highlights.
Set Up & Turn on Security Systems—
Elle Ervin, Travel Associate
There are so many affordable tech devices these days to help protect your home while traveling. Mechanical timers can be installed and programmed to turn house lights on every now and then to disguise the fact that no one is home. I personally use a Ring, which is a system of cameras that monitor my property and which I can access via my smartphone. The fact that I can quickly and easily check in on my house—and my pets—makes me feel comfortable and confident traveling for longer periods of time.
Put Fresh Sheets on Your Bed—
Kay Beal, Owner
One of the best parts of coming home from a trip, particularly after a few long-haul flights, is crawling into my own bed. I like to make this experience all the more enjoyable by putting fresh sheets on before I leave. That way, upon return, I can count on a wonderful night’s sleep.
Clean Out the Fridge—
Stephanie Gomer, Operations & Travel Associate
No one wants to come home to spoiled food, so when a trip lasts longer than a few days, I always clean out the fridge. I focus on perishables, but also take the opportunity to check condiments and other items with clearly labeled expiration dates. Rather than simply tossing it all away, I’ll see if any of my friends or family members could make use of the food. If not, I compost what’s possible and throw the rest in the garbage.
Run the Dishwasher—
Rachel David, Sales Development Manager
It sounds small, but taking a moment to run the dishwasher is a lifesaver. It gets all of the dirty dishes (and associated smells) out of my sink and means that I come home to a clean kitchen. I’m also sure to always empty the dishwasher too, so that it doesn’t become a task on my to-do list once I’m back!
Unplug Small Appliances and Electronics & Close the Blinds—
Alison Spencer, Brand & Sustainability Associate
Before any trip, regardless of duration, I walk through my apartment and unplug my smaller appliances and electronics, including power cords. This helps save energy while also reducing the risk of electrical fires in my absence. I’m also sure to close the blinds, an easy task that not only prevents people from seeing that the apartment is empty, but also helps keep the space cool and reduces my energy costs.
Do a Walk-Through—
Bob Gaston, Consultant
Once I am packed and have ticked off each of my pre-departure tasks, I take one final walk through my home. It gives me the chance to make sure everything has been closed, turned off, unplugged etc. I also listen for running faucets, look for stray dishes, and throw out any lingering trash. It is at this point that I adjust my thermostat, turn off alarm clocks, and turn on my security alarm.
Put Your Mail on Hold—
Callie Robinson, Sales Operations Director
When preparing for a trip, I always make note to put my mail on hold. All it takes is logging into (and creating) a USPS account and following a few basic steps. Once activated, the post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days. This keeps my mailbox from overflowing and also ensures that important items I might receive while gone are not simply sitting, unattended.
These are just a few of the tasks that Travel Beyond staff members complete before setting off on a trip. Doing one—or many—can help make both your travels and return as stress-free as possible!