Going on holiday can be quite a production when you think of all the arranging that needs doing beforehand. Make sure nothing gets left behind accidentally, and that what is left behind stays safe while you’re away.
While many of us plan holidays with meticulous care, from location to hotel, transfers and daily itineraries, we don’t always give the same level of thought to what happens at home while we’re gone.
Making sure personal belongings and property stay safe while you’re away is just as important as having a good time on holiday. Things to consider include:
- Home insurance – make sure your policy covers your home and possessions while you’re away. Most provide cover for a certain number of days, but check on the requirements such as turning on the alarm system or locking doors and windows and hiding keys.
- Neighbour checks – give someone a key and ask them to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Going in every few days and making sure all is okay is a bonus, but at least ask them to be aware you’re on holiday and that any activity around your home is unauthorised.
- Valuables – You’ll probably want to leave big things like TVs and furnishings in place. But little things, like documents and jewellery for instance, may warrant some extra care. Options here include installing a safe (bolt it to the floor or a wall), leaving items with friends or family, or renting a small unit in a self storage facility. Many offer lockers, so you won’t need to rent an entire room if you don’t want one.
Create a Home Itinerary
Working from lists is an old fashioned idea that works as well now as it’s always done. You may be familiar with making lists for things to see and do while you’re actually at your holiday destination, but making lists for things to do before you get there is equally valuable. List items could include:
- What to pack – especially if you’re travelling with children.
- Who to leave keys with, and when to leave them.
- Where you’ll put valuables at home.
- If you’re using self storage, the dates you’ll rent space for and times for collection and delivery of items.
- Arrangements for pets, vaccinations and kennel/cattery bookings.
- Travel to airport or ferry arrangements.
- Car parking and parking costs.
Add on anything else you need to take care of before you leave, including the last minute walk around the house to make sure windows are locked and you haven’t left the gas on. Ticking items off as they’re done is reassurance that you haven’t forgotten anything, and there won’t be that little niggle at the back of your mind while you’re trying to relax on the beach.
When you’re on holiday, your suitcase is your portable storage unit, so it’s important you know how to get the most from it.
Know your airline regulations about what you can and can’t carry on the plane, then figure out ways to make it work for your personal circumstances. Tips include:
- Gadget storage – keep cables, chargers, adaptors, batteries etc. in zip up plastic bags. You can see what’s in there and they’re all kept neatly together. Taking along a few extra plastic bags (like you use for carry-on liquids) is useful too for holding together house and car keys or return travel tickets.
- Travel light – instead of taking whole guidebooks, photocopy relevant pages and just carry those. Even better, take a mobile photo although you’ll need to make sure your phone is always charged if it’s information you’re relying on. If you want the whole book, try to get it in Ebook format.
- Have a packing rehearsal – in other words, don’t leave it until the night before. Make a list of all you think you need, then see how far you can trim it back by making the things you take work harder. Experiment with rolling or folding clothes to see which takes up less space, and don’t forget to keep an eye on luggage weight.
A stress-free holiday doesn’t happen by magic — it takes a bit of planning. But having done the work upfront, the rewards are all the sweeter and you won’t come back home feeling like you need a holiday to get over the experience.