I booked a trip to a family reunion in Pennsylvania with just two-weeks notice. Definitely the most last minute trip I’ve planned that wasn’t for a funeral! Before I go out of town, whether across the country or just overnight, I have a few travel preparations I take care of to save money while I’m gone.
1. Set Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat you probably don’t need it to run its usual course while your house is empty. I set mine to hold at a temperature that is ok for my pets and won’t let my pipes freeze in the winter. No need to pay to heat or cool an empty house!
2. Close The Shades
This also helps with heating and cooling costs, as well as privacy while you are gone.
Set your alarm, consider putting some lights on a timer, or even consider something like FakeTV to give outsiders the impression that someone is home. I purchased FakeTV awhile ago and am excited to try it out on this trip! You can read more about it here. Another security measure is to put your mail on hold or arrange for a friend to pick it up. When I travel in the winter I also like to make arrangements with friends or neighbors to drive up my driveway and lay down some tire tracks after a snow fall.
Before you leave, unplug electronics. Electronics still draw power while plugged in even if they are shut off, creating “vampire charges” which unnecessarily increase your electric bill. It’s a good habit to get into even when you’re not traveling, but it’s especially important while you’re traveling because if there is a storm or power surge your electronics could be damaged.
5. Turn Down Your Water Heater
Your water heater is designed to have hot water ready for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for when you get the urge to take a shower at 3am. There’s no need to hold hot water for days while you’re out of town. Turning down the water heater before you leave can save you some money. It’s not a lot, but it all adds up. Also, consider turning it down a notch even while you’re home. You likely won’t notice a difference.
6. Take Care of Bank, Phone, and Health Insurance
This one is really more for international travel. Notify your bank that you are traveling out of the country, or even if you’re staying in the U.S. but expect to be doing a lot of shopping. You’ll want to give them a heads up that it’s you so that they don’t freeze your card if charges suddenly show up in China and look like fraud. You’ll want to check your phone plans and possible fees for international travel and verify what your health insurance will cover while you’re out of the country.
7. Tidy Up
Maybe this is just me, but when I get home from a trip I know that I’ll be coming home with a load of dirty laundry, litter boxes waiting to be cleaned, pets to pick up from the sitter, and grass to mow or possibly a driveway to shovel. The last thing I want is to have a messy house and a bunch of other miscellaneous things to do right when I walk in the door. I try to take care of my to do list and tidy up before I leave.
What did I miss? What other preparations do you take when traveling? Comment below with your favorite tips and/or travel stories!