Make arrangements for pets, plants and mail. If you are leaving pets at your house to be taken care of, have your pet sitter water the plants and pick up the mail. You can also use Aqua Globes or other types of devices that will water your plants in your absence. If you won’t have anyone tending to the house, contact the U.S. Postal service to arrange to have your mail held until you return.
Make arrangements and plan ahead for family members who will not be joining you. If you are leaving children or a spouse at home, make sure they have everything they might need while you’re gone. Freeze a few favorite casseroles to give them a taste of your cooking even while you’re away. Leave a photo of yourself with small children, who will be reassured by seeing your face each day. Leave detailed instructions with your caregiver for everything from snack preferences to bedtime routines to minimize disruptions.
Tie up loose ends at work. Set up an away message for your e-mail and voice mail, giving your return date and the names and numbers of coworkers who can be contacted in your absence. Give a copy of important files to a contact in your department who can act on your behalf while you’re away. Place other information that coworkers might need in brightly colored, clearly labeled files on top of your desk so they don’t need to rummage through your drawers.
Send out an itinerary and instructions for reaching you. Let your family know where you will be at all times. Give them flight numbers, hotel names and addresses and a rough schedule of your activities. Arrange for a way for them to reach you in the event of an emergency. Make sure they have the phone numbers for the places you’re staying as a backup to your cell phone number.
Set up payment for bills that are due while you’re away. Most bills can be scheduled online for payment on the appropriate day. If you cannot schedule bill payment for while you’re gone, pay the bill early.
Clean out the refrigerator. Toss out leftovers as well as any items that will expire before you return. Limit your grocery shopping in the weeks leading up to your vacation to the bare essentials. Keep the ingredients for at least one or two meals in the freezer so you won’t have to go on a last-minute shopping trip as soon as you get home.
Purchase timers for three or four lights throughout the house and set them to go off at various intervals. This will help the house look lived in while you’re away. You should also arrange for a friend or neighbor to mow the lawn if you will be gone for an extended period of time.