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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

20 Things to Make Your Trip Better Before You Leave The House

04 Jul 2008

Traveling is fun, but itís always nice to come home.  To give you a little more peace of mind while you travel, as well as making your return home more enjoyable, follow these simple steps.

1) Clean the house.  This doesnít have to be a Spring cleaning effort, but a quick dust-and-vacuum will give your place a clean feeling.

2) Do the dishes.  Then put them away!  Donít leave anything to air dry on the counter while you are away.  It could end up making the kitchen smell damp.  Dry damp kitchenware with a towel, then put the towel in the laundry.

3) Change and wash the towels and sheets.  After a long trip, coming home to a clean shower and fresh sheets is a welcoming feeling.

4) Stop the mail and newspapers.  Or ask a trusted neighbor or friend to get them for you.  Overflowing mailboxes and piles of newspapers are ďWelcomeĒ signs for thieves.

5) Unplug all major electronics.  The day you leave, right before you walk out the door, turn off and unplug all major electronic devices.  This includes your TV, computer, stereo, DVD player and anything else you would hate to lose in a power surge.  You may think the multi-plug strips you have everything plugged in to are surge protectors, but they might not be.  Check.  Then unplug them anyway.

6) Fill your tank.  Obviously you are going to do this if youíre taking a road trip, but you might not think about it before a flight.  Itís always nice to come home to a full tank of gas.  And a clean shower.  And fresh sheets.  Besides, you may save yourself a few dollars, since the price of gas will probably go up while youíre on your trip.

7) Clean out the fridge.  If you have food thatís going to expire while youíre gone, toss it before you leave.  This includes fruit on the counter.

8) Take out the trash.  Clean out ALL the trash cans in the house, then take out the garbage.  If garbage day is while youíre gone, ask a neighbor or friend to bring your trash bin to and from the curb.

9) Insure all your gear.  Cameras, MP3 players, jewelry, computers Ė if you have spent money on it, insure it.  If you are unfamiliar with insurance for these kinds of things, start with the company who provides your homeowners, renters or auto insurance.  Be sure your policy covers the item while you are out of the country.

10) Scan and upload the first pages of your passport.  Scan it as a JPG and upload the image to an online storage account.  If you donít have an online storage account, E-mail the image to yourself.  Print two copies and bring them with you, but keep them separate from the original and separate from each other.

11) Register your trip with the US State Department.  If you are an American citizen traveling abroad, this is important.  You can register at

12) Find your camera and camcorder, then empty all cards and disks and charge all batteries.  You donít need to bring half-empty memory cards and half-charged batteries with you.  It does you no good.  Burn the images on your card to a disc and take new photos on your adventure.

13) Check the voltage of the place you are visiting and buy the appropriate plugs and converters.  Your photography will come to a quick end if you overcharge your camera batteries because you didnít purchase a voltage adapter.

14) Make, detail and trade passport-sized photos of you and your travel partners.  For more information, click here.

15) Do the laundry.  This should not only include the towels and sheets, but any other laundry that needs to be done.

16) Tell your bank that you are traveling.  This is especially important if you are leaving the country.  If they donít know Ė and canít contact you Ė they may freeze your access to your money as a means of fraud protection if they see foreign charges on your card.

17) Pick up a guidebook for the place(s) youíll be visiting.  Also, read it.  They come in handy.

18)  Have everything packed and by the door the night before you leave.  This may involve buying a second toothbrush, but you donít want to get up on the morning of your trip and run around trying to pack last-minute items. Also, DONíT TRAVEL WITH MORE LUGGAGE THAN YOU CAN PHYSICALLY HANDLE BY YOURSELF.

19)  If you are carrying liquids on the airplane, have all your containers (3 oz. or smaller) in your 1qt bag BEFORE you leave for the airport.  REMEMBER:  It is the size of the container, NOT how much liquid in the container that counts!  For example, the TSA agent at the airport wonít care if itís a 6 oz. bottle but itís half empty.  More than 3 oz. = trash.  Visit for more information.

20)  Get plenty of sleep the night before you travel.  A good nightís rest the night before will help in a much smoother trip the next day.

© 2008

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