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What to do with plants and pets when you travel

When planning to be away from home, take care of living things first.

Find a sitter for your plants or relocate them temporarily. I have a blog post on what to do with plants when you travel a lot. In a nutshell, you can pay for a plant sitter just like a dog, or find new homes for your foliage. I know designers find this tacky, but I have a few fake plants in my apartment because I find it depressing to have no greenery when I come home from a trip. 

If you have pets, you will need to find a suitable situation for them to be well looked after. If you have roommates, you’re lucky and they will probably be able to help, with plants and animals. If not, there’s cat and dog sitters and boarding services, or family and friends if they are willing. I used to have a pet and when he passed away, I didn’t get another because I knew travel was going to be a big part of my lifestyle, and I just couldn’t bear to have to put them in boarding every time. 

Make sure you're not fretting over missed events

Prepare your home with the right security features

Think about security. Depending on your type of home, this may be a non-factor. But I’d recommend adding a second layer of security to fire space windows, like a bar. Here’s an article on 7 ways to secure your back door. You might also want to install timers that make it look like someone’s home. Hot tip, if you set your timer to turn on a radio, set it to talk radio. People don’t know if voices are real or coming through the radio. You can also get hooked up to a smart home set up with cameras and alarms, but don’t feel like you *have* to get this. Good locks on all windows and doors, and someone checking in on your home here and there is usually enough. 

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Forward or hold your mail while on vacation

While my parents were away, I got talked into checking their mail and then mailing it to them across the country. This is not ideal. Look into mail forwarding with Canada Post or USPS, or whatever your local mail service is if you plan on relocating to one place. If you plan on jumping around to various locations, you might want to use a service where your mail is held and important documents are opened and scanned for you to access abroad. These services can be private or some national mail services offer this. It’s pretty cool if you plan on becoming a digital nomad, but still need a permanent address for official documents. When possible, I do try to get everything by digital mail or e-statements, so I can access everything online and save digital copies to permanent backups. But, there will inevitably things that require a hard copy, so mail services are the way to go. 

Have a point person with access to your place 

Suspend services you won't need

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Disaster-proof your home

Find out what the best course of action is in relation to water based on your building and season. You might consider shutting off your water if you’re leaving for a long time in the winter, so no pipes burst. I’m not an expert on this, but here is a full guide on how to make sure your residence is protected in the winter

You can also set up smart water detectors which will automatically shut off your water if it detects a leak. You might also want to unplug things or shut off breakers to prevent any electrical fires while you’re away, and install smart smoke detectors to alert you wherever you are. There’s mixed advice online about fridges though, but from what I’ve read, short trips you should leave your fridge on, long trips, like 4 months and up, you should empty and prep your fridge for long-term travel.

Figure out how you'll be reachable

If you’re travelling a lot and moving about multiple countries, figure out your SIM card situation. Are you going to keep one number? Do a VOIP set up, What’s app or FaceTime only? Or switch SIM cards ever country? Plan ahead so people, especially your designated house sitter, can reach you. 

Don't leave any perishables, including non consumables

Don't let long-term storage ruin your things