Kevin McCallister, the fictional 8-year old of the acclaimed film, Home Alone, may have been stubborn but he didn’t deserve to wake up to an empty house only to spend his Christmas fighting off thieves trying to rob his house. The cinematic marvel was one of the many things that made my childhood an absolute delight; and as an adult, I have become cautious—obsessed even, about making sure I don’t leave anything behind when stepping out or travelling abroad for business or vacation.
Here are a few things you ought to do before you upload a picture of yourself with a see-you-soon caption and airplane emoji:
Make arrangements for your home.
Depending on how long you’ll be away, you may need to contact a trusted friend or family member to take care of your home if you have plants, pets, or kids; or you’re simply uncomfortable leaving your home unoccupied. You can also opt for a professional house sitting service, send your pets to a local pet kennel, or sublet for the duration of your trip.
Check in with your doctor.
Make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations before you leave the country. Fill your prescription bottles and make sure you have enough medication to last for the entire trip. If you’re anxious about your health or diet plan, tell your doctor where you’re going to receive additional information, advice, or preventive treatments.
Pause all orders and subscriptions.
Since you won’t be around for while, it’s important to pause all regularly occurring deliveries and services like house cleaning, newspapers, mail (or let someone pick up your mail,) and food or laundry services. If you prefer to keep some services like landscaping or basic lawn mowing, consider paying an advance to keep things running.
Download security apps.
Since your travelling to a foreign country, security should be at the top of your priority list. There are many safety apps that have been designed to alert the police or an emergency contact in the hour of need. They are also able to send your location, track your habits, and essentially keep you safe. Some of these apps include Bugle, Circle Of 6, bSafe, and Watch Over Me.
Clean your house.
It may be a trivial thing to most but there’s nothing more disconcerting than walking into a messed up room after a long trip. When you clean up, you’ll be able to immediately notice things that are out of place when you return. Remember to eat, throw away, or give out perishable foods. Make sure all appliances, devices, gas, water, and plugs are turned off.
Give someone your itinerary.
Your emergency contact should have a copy of your complete travel plans—from the moment you arrive at your destination to the very last day. Don’t forget to update your contact’s itinerary the moment your plans change, or call or send emails as often as you can.