TRAVEL SMART: 5 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Put yourself in these familiar shoes: Your next travel assignment is nearly here and already you can picture yourself touring the hottest locales, dining at the most delicious restaurants and enjoying the area's entertainment. Yes, you can picture yourself there already.
And yet, you’re still here. But that’s a good thing because while your dreams may already be in your new destination, there are still a few things you need to take care of here first. With that in mind, here’s our list of those last-minute reminders you’ll want to lock down before you leave.
* Be mindful of those you’re leaving behind. If you have pets, double-check your pet sitter is ready to handle the job and that they don’t have any lingering questions. And if you’re leaving a spouse or family behind, be sure everyone has all the applicable information — your kids will ask for the Wi-Fi password — they need before you leave. It will be easier than explaining it via phone later.
* Give your house that "I'm still home" vibe. If no one will be living in your home while you’re gone, take extra measures to keep that lived-in feel. Put a hold on your mail, hire a service to mow the yard and ask a neighbor to check on your home now and again.
* Check up on your bills. Nothing is more frustrating than returning from a travel assignment to find a pile of late bills in your mail. Avoid this by paying your bills before you leave or paying them electronically. If possible, schedule automatic bill pay so you don’t have to worry about it.
* Make copies. Essential cards like your driver’s license or credit card can cause a real hindrance if they are lost. To make things easier, scan a copy of these and other vital documents and keep the copy in an email or image folder on your phone. That way if you do lose the real items, you can retrieve the information quickly.
* Turn off the lights. Better yet, unplug them as well as your TV, music system and anything else electric that is non-vital. Many of these devices are known as vampire electronics because they draw energy even when they aren’t in use. Pulling the plug is better for the environment and your electric bill once you return home again.