Thursday, November 14, 2013

Top 13 Things to Do to do Before Leaving for your Vacation Home.

A few months before you leave, type up list of things to do. Your to do list should include:

1. forwarding magazines. I have a list of magazines that I subscribe to with accounts numbers, emails or phone numbers for a temporary change of address. The post office will only forward magazines for 2 months. Note: most magazines take two months to change your address. 

2. forwarding mail. I tried to send in the change of address form last year, but that did not work in our case. My son lives at our house up north during with winter. I tried to forward just mine & my husband's mail, but my son was not getting his mail at our house up north. Finally I had to call the postmistress. She contacted the postman and everything was fine. This year I downloaded the change of address form, printed the form twice for me and my husband, and finally dropped it off personally at the post office. Better service as you can't ask qu on the web and for us cheapskates, no $1 fee charged to a credit card if done on the internet.

3. calling the local cable company which is Brighthouse in Pinellas County to get internet and/or cable and/or phone installed, as it is not included in most rentals.  Ask for the specials for new subscribers. You might also cancel the cable in your primary residence if you are gone long enough, but in our case, we have someone living in our house when we are gone.

4. calling the newspaper to subscribe, which in this case is Tampa Bay Times or Tribune. Also cancel the newspaper up north. Search the internet for specials in such places such as Groupon.com in your vacation area.

5. synchronize your desktop with the laptop so you have documents and pictures and latest email addresses and bookmarks from home if you need them. Backing them up in the cloud would work, too, but I prefer the old fashioned external hard drive that I can backup from when the Internet is down.

6. Reserve a motel room between your primary residence and your vacation home, which is our case is our Pinellas County rental. I also print out the address, phone number, directions, cancellation numbers and even search for the same information for nearby restaurants for supper and breakfast. 

7. Schedule doctor & dentist checkups before you leave. 

8. Call AAA for a TripTik with a stopover at your motel, ending at your vacation home or rental. As a senior citizen, AARP or AAA member, always ask if there is a discount at all the chain restaurants and motels.

9. Notify your bank and credit card company of the dates you will be at your vacation home or rental. I give them an address and mobile phone number. We did not do that the first year and our credit card was declined. They had tried to call us, but they called our home phone number and was unable to reach us.  

10. Call the rental manager or caretaker of your vacation home to remind him of the date of your arrival and make sure everything is ready. This might include spraying for insects, dusting, airing out the house, etc. 

11. Likewise, make a list for the person that watches your primary residence of things that need to be done. This could include pet care, plant care, emptying humidifiers, putting out garbage, collecting mail. It is a good idea to have a telephone list of the repairmen, etc that you call in an emergency. 

12. Some people have a Florida or vacation box of things that you bring with you every year. You should put a sewing kit and a first aid kit in it that must be updated every year. Sometimes I add gifts for friends. An unusual item that should be included is a weight scale. Who wants to come home with a suntan, but ten extra pounds for everyone to talk about?

13. Do any maintenance or repairs you have procrastinated on, before you leave. It might lead to bigger problems if you neglect them. That might mean getting the snowblower repaired for the person who is taking care of the driveway , the appliance that works only when you bang it a few times, changing your furnace filters, replacing the vacuum hose, belt or bag, etc.