Your pre-vacation checklist
1. Did you give your housekey to a trustworthy neighbour? Someone who's there in the event of water damage or strange noises, someone to water your plants, feed your hamster, pick up your mail or just unlock your door when you get back because you can't find your key?
2. Is your car parked in a safe place? Did you notify your insurer if you're letting someone else use it while you're away? If you're taking a road trip, did you check your tires, fill up gas and top up your windshield wiper fluid? Do you have an anti-theft system on your car, RV or bikes?
3. Did you buy travel insurance for you and your family? Make sure you're covered for the whole trip, especially if you have credit card trip insurance for a specified period of time. Ask questions, read your policy and keep the toll-free number on hand, in case you need it.
4. Did you shut off your water supply, including your washing machine taps, and unplug some of your electrical appliances? Are your smoke detector batteries working? And did you know you have to notify your insurer if you're doing a house swap?
5. Remember to take out the trash, recycling and green bins, so you're not hit with nasty odours on your return home.
6. To keep burglars at bay, install a motion sensor alarm system. Your insurer can provide guidance and advice.
7. Another tip to deter burglars: invest in a timer that keeps a few lights on in the evening.
8. Give printed or scanned copies of your passport, driver's licence, insurance documents, visas and vaccination records to a friend or family member. It will save you a lot of time and headache in the event of loss or theft.
9. Save yourself a hefty phone bill and get the right data plan. If you need to, limit data access or get a SIM card in the country you're visiting.
10. And if you're leaving the country, even if you're just going to the U.S., you'll need a valid passport!
Money can buy happiness
Money definitely matters when you're on holidays, but be sure to take a few financial precautions:
11. Make sure you have two credit cards and a debit card. That way, you'll never be caught off guard if you run into problems (for example, you lose or forget your card or have it stolen, or it's not compatible with a store's or ATM's system). It's best to keep the two cards in two separate places. Memorize your PINs, because you may come across keypads that are configured differently from what you're used to. Tip: in case of doubt, compare with the keys on your phone.
12. Unless otherwise indicated, it's always best to let your credit card company know where you're going and how long you'll be away. That way, you'll keep any "suspicious" transactions from being blocked.
13. Buy some foreign currency ahead of time in case you need it before you're able to get cash from a local ATM.
14. Make sure you have sufficient funds in the appropriate accounts.
15. Are you registered on AccèsD? Whether online or via the mobile app, you can easily keep on top of your finances, stay on budget, pay your bills and view your transactions in Canadian dollars.
One more thing...
Whether you're travelling solo, as a couple, with family or friends, the most important is to enjoy real downtime. For starters, don't worry so much about having the perfect, Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy holiday. Be realistic, relax and enjoy!