It's important before traveling to take time to be sure the most cherished things in your life will be safe, secure, and protected while you're away.
I know...there are lists and pages of things to do before you leave on your trip. But none are as important as taking care of your most valuable possessions.
I'm talking about your kids and your pets - those irreplaceable things that create the very substance of your life.
Those living, breathing souls of your existence you might take for granted on a day to day basis, but which would decidedly alter your world, if hurt or harm came to them.
So before traveling, be sure your pre-travel preparations include the tasks to insure these precious parts of your life are safe and protected when you're not there to do it yourself.
You'll have a much better time on your trip knowing everything and everyone at home is safe, happy, and looking forward to your return.
Of course, the most important things to protect when you're traveling far away from home is your kids, whether they’re staying behind with a grandparent or sitter, or they're old enough to stay on their own.
But if your home will be occupied while you're away, you need to modify these ideas, to make sure those remaining at home won't be inconvenienced.
Anyone staying in your home while you're away [kids, house sitters, child sitters, grandparents, etc.] will have different day to day schedules and routines from your normal daily activities.
You need to alter what you do for your home's security to correspond with their activities and schedules.
Before traveling make sure anyone who's staying in your home is familiar with - and can operate - the following:
If you have older relatives like grandparents staying in your home, make sure they know how to operate kitchen appliances, TV remotes & recording devices, computers, security systems, and anything required for their comfort.
Be sure you leave clearly written 'how-to' information for those at home, including a copy of your travel itinerary, with local contact info at specific stops. Give a copy to neighbors who are available to help in case of an accident or emergency.
Post a detailed list of important phone numbers: doctors, dentists, schools [if necessary], police, fire, poison control, and utilities in obvious view.
If you're leaving minor children at home, your number one priority is to have a current, viable Will in place for their care, should the unforeseen happen.
If you’ve neglected to execute a legal Will before traveling - shame on you!
At the very least, draw up and print a brief docu-ment stating your wishes for the care and keeping of your children, should you die or become incapa-citated while traveling.
Have this document duly witnessed and notar-ized to make it legal and binding.
Give copies to those keeping your children, as well as any friends or family members, who will help make sure your wishes are carried out for the sake of your children.
[And complete a proper Will as soon as you return home.]
Separately, execute a Power of Attorney document for the medical care of your children while you’re away. Again, additional copies to friends and/or family are a good backup.
Before traveling, set ground rules for your children, especially if they're older [teenagers] and discuss what's expected of them while you're away. Make sure they, as well as anyone staying with them, understand the importance of following the rules you set out.
A bit of guidance up front will help insure peace reigns when you're not at home to supervise.
Set certain times/days to communi-cate by phone, email, or whatever method you choose.
This will reassure everyone at home you're thinking of them, and you're safe, well, missing them, and having a good time.
A change in routine is unsettling for children of any age. By taking the time to reassure them before traveling that all will be well while you're away, it will make the time you're gone fun for them, as well.
For pets staying 'home alone', take time before traveling to prepare detailed instructions for their sitters regarding your pet's food, water, treats, playtime, exercise, and potty routine.
Pets are under severe stress when their 'people' are away.
The more you do to insure their routine remains normal, the better they'll be equipped to handle their solitude while you're not home with them.
Animals frequently change their habits and behavior when you’re gone for an extended period of time.
Both before traveling and when you return, take the time to give your pet extra care and affection to help offset abandonment issues.
Leave contact information for both your regular veterinarian, as well as nearby emergency animal care, if available.
Also set up an pre-screened contact who can reach you and help out in case of an emergency with your pet.
Most importantly, make sure your pet sitter knows your pet and is qualified to handle and care for them.
You're the life-source for your pet. It’s important to reassure them as best you can that your absence is temporary and to keep their routine as close to their normal schedule as possible, when you're away.
For more ideas on how to protect your home, valuables, possessions, pets, and plants before traveling overseas, check out the following articles: