12 Things To Do Before Your Summer Getaway

Your bags are packed, your itinerary is set and you’re counting down the minutes until vacation gearyou take off for your dream summer getaway. Before you head out to the airport, though, read through this checklist of important things people tend to forget before leaving for vacation.

1.) Let us know

Give us a call at 410-663-2500 before you set off on your vacay. Let us know your vacation destination so we know to honor any card transactions you make while in another state or abroad. If you’re traveling overseas, ask us about any foreign transaction fees and the best practices of using cash or debit/credit cards. We’ll help you make the best decisions for managing your money while you’re away. Plus, we’d love to hear all about your awesome travel plans!

2.) Check your auto insurance plan for coverage

If you plan on renting a car when you land, check with your auto insurance provider first to find out if rental cars are covered in your plan. If they’re not, you may want to purchase travel insurance, just in case.

3.) Pay all your bills

Before heading out on your trip, make sure all of your monthly bills are paid up. You don’t want to be busy paying bills when you’re sunning yourself on the beach or take a chance of getting hit with late fees.  Remember, with online bill payment, you can schedule your payments ahead of time.

4.) Set up an automatic email response

Your boss might know that you’ll be away this week, but potential and existing clients will not. Set up an automatic response that lets people know you’re out of the office to avoid appearing unprofessional or negligent.

5.) Put your mail on hold

An overflowing mailbox is an open invitation to thieves. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, ask the USPS to put a hold on your mail. They’ll happily keep your mail at the post office until your return, at no cost to you. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to collect your mail and hold it until you return.

6.) Unplug your electronics

Don’t pay vampire charges for electronics you’re not using while you’re away. Pull the plug on all small appliances and electronics before you leave.

7.) Clean your home

Before your departure, give your house a thorough cleaning so you’ll be greeted by a spotless, clean-smelling house upon your return. Plus, you’ll avoid an invasion by ants and other critters. Here’s a quick list to get you started:

  • Scrub countertops and tables.
  • Wipe down the refrigerator and toss all perishables.
  • Sweep and mop, or vacuum all floors.
  • Take out the garbage.
  • Scrub your bathrooms.
  • Seal any open food packages in airtight containers.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda down your drains and toilets to rid any lingering odors.
  • Change your bed sheets.

Yes, you’re busy with your packing and travel arrangements now, but your post-vacation self will thank you for any scrubbing you do now.

8.) Let your mobile service provider know about your travel plans

If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll want to check with your cellphone company about possible overseas service plans that allow you to use your smartphone for calls, texts and internet access when on vacation.

9.) Shut off your main water supply

Avoid coming home to a flood by turning off your water supply before leaving on your vacay. A small, unnoticed leak can easily turn into a huge problem when left unattended for days or weeks on end.

10.) Adjust your thermostats

If you have the AC blasting throughout the summer, you’ll want to adjust your thermostat before leaving. Turning it off completely is not a good idea, because you’ll want some air to circulate for keeping the humidity under control and to avoid mold. Instead, turn it a few degrees higher than you usually keep it. You can also program your AC to go on and off while you’re away. Also, set your hot water heater to its vacation setting so it’s heating the same water less often.

11.) Invest in a timer

Keep the prowlers out by setting your lights to go on and off in different rooms and at different times of the day throughout your vacation. It’s a small investment when weighed against the money and aggravation it can save you.

12.) Confirm your reservations

It’s a good idea to confirm your flight, hotel room, car rental and attractions before setting out on your trip. You may have booked some of these reservations months ago, and you don’t want any unpleasant surprises ruining your vacation.

Your Turn: Did we miss anything? Share your own pre-vacation to-do list with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.blog.esurance.com/10-essential-things-to-do-before-leaving-for-vacation/amp/

https://www.timeinc.net/travelandleisure/travel-tips/things-to-do-before-you-go-on-vacation
https://www.mintnotion.com/travel/20-things-we-forget-to-do-before-going-on-vacation/

5 Ways To Save On Vacation Transportation Costs

Q: I’m working out a vacation budget and I’m stuck on transportation costs. Every option bus on a highway through mountainsis so expensive! How can I save on transportation costs when on vacation?

A: Kudos to you for thinking and planning ahead! Steep cab fees and car rentals are some of the best ways to kill a solid vacation budget, but we’ve got the goods on how to bring transportation costs down. Read on for five ways to get around for less while on your dream vacation.

1.) Share a ride

Ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, are changing the way people get from point A to point B all around the world. If you haven’t already done so, download each service’s app and input your credit card information so you can order and pay for a ride in just seconds when you’re on vacation. As a bonus, each app allows you to see the estimated ride cost before you order a car, making it easier to budget for your transportation costs before you set out. To compare prices from both services at a glance, check out apps like RideGuru and RideshareApps for a quick review of your options.

Save even more on your rideshare trip by opting for a carpool service like UberPOOL. You’ll get to rub shoulders with other tourists or even some locals, and you can save up to 40% on your ride fare.

If Uber and Lyft are not available at your vacation destination, try other rideshare services like DoorDash, Drizly, Postmates, Shipt, Sidecar and Washio.

2.) Hop on a bus or board a train

While most Americans shun public transportation, buses and trains can be an affordable, convenient and enjoyable way to get around many other countries. Western Europe in particular is famous for its super-efficient public transportation system.

If you’re traveling with young children, they’ll likely find traveling by train to be an exciting adventure-and you’ll find it to be a particularly cost-effective way to get around. City passes to many European cities include free transportation by train for young children. Plus, train-pass holders are eligible for free museum entries in some cities and for a free ride on the local bus service as well.

Do your research well before using public transportation. It may be worth your while to purchase a daily or weekly pass, which allows unlimited rides on the city’s bus or train system. If you’ll be visiting several different countries in Europe, consider purchasing a Eurail pass to help you get from country to country in an easy, inexpensive way.

3.) Rent or borrow a bike

It’s not just Amsterdam and Kyoto; pedaling your way through town is becoming increasingly popular in major cities throughout the world. For a nominal fee, you can explore the city up close, help keep the air clean, and get a wonderful workout at the same time.

You can choose to rent your bike from a rental shop or borrow one from a city-sponsored bike share, such as Vélib in Paris, CitiBike in New York or Cycle Kyoto in Kyoto. A rental shop may charge more, but you’ll also have more options, such as renting a cargo bike, which is equipped with seats for two small children, or using a tandem bicycle, which allows two tourists to share a single bike.

4.) Take a walk

Instead of calling a cab or an Uber when you need to get somewhere while on vacation, consider taking a walk. In many crowded cities with impossible traffic problems and expensive parking fees, (we’re looking at you, New York!) this can actually be a faster way to get around.

5.) Rent a car

Sometimes, the best way to get around when on vacation is by rental car. This is especially true if you’re traveling to a city that is not known for its efficient public transportation system and/or if you’ll be staying in your vacation spot for a while. Frequent cab rides, and even rideshares, can add up quickly. A rental car can also be smart choice if you’ll be visiting a rural area with attraction spots that are spread out over drives that can be many miles long.

Before you sign up for a rental, keep these tips in mind:

  • Book early. For the best deals, keep a watch on car rentals in the area you’ll be visiting in the weeks (or even months) leading up to your vacation. Car rentals sometimes offer random deals on rentals, but only for tourists who book during a specific window. You can use a travel-planning app, like Hopper or Hipmunk, to find out about special deals.
  • Don’t rent a car at the airport. On-the-spot car rentals at the airport tend to inflate their prices according to demand.
  • Go small. A compact car will be cheaper, easier to maneuver through narrow roads and simpler to park in crowded spaces.
  • Don’t ask for recommendations. The super-helpful hotel concierge who gives you the name of a rental place may be getting a kickback from the company for every referral, which ups your price considerably.

Now that your budget is back in place, you can set off on your vacation with peace of mind. Happy travels!

Your Turn: How do you get around when you’re on vacation? Tell us about it in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://travelmamas.com/tips-saving-money-vacation-transportation/

https://ordinarytraveler.com/save-money-travel-transportation
https://www.mintnotion.com/travel/10-travel-expenses-youre-forgetting-vacation-budget/