Tours of a Lifetime National Geographic 2010, 2012
Top 3, Best Values in the World Travel & Leisure, March 2012
Trip Advisor # 1 San José, Costa Rica
31 Thing To Do Before Leaving Home
Take photographs. Bet you thought that taking photographs was for during your vacation rather than before you leave. No longer true. Use your cell phone or digital camera to take photos of your passport, the label on all prescription medicine bottles, your luggage before you check it on an airline (Kate Matthews), and anything else that you think you might need. Beat's carrying around (losing) lots of paper.
Speaking of prescription medicines, bring a large enough supply so you will not run out if you end up staying a few extra days. (Tip provided by Ruth Ann Jones.)
Photocopy your passport. Even if you have a digital copy of your passport it's worth it to have a paper copy with you as well. That way if you need to leave your passport for some reason you can leave the copy instead of the original.
Arrange for pets to be taken care of while you're gone # 28
ID other than your passport for your vacation:It’s customary for merchants to ask for an ID when you use a credit card in Costa Rica. If you would rather not be pulling your passport out every time you pay for something, bring your driver’s license and put it close to your credit cards.
Turn on your email auto-response. Do this even if you are planning on checking email. It will relieve you of the pressure to answer quickly and reduce the number of emails you get.
Put the phone number of your airline in your cell phone speed dial.
Tell your credit card company you are going to be using the card away from home, so they won't assume the card was stolen and refuse the charge.
Hold all your mail and newspapers -- unless you want everybody (including burglars) to know you are not home.
Consider having someone keep an eye on your house when you are gone. NEVER reveal that you are going away on Facebook or on your phone answering machine or message (by Fran Wagner).
If have you have a lawn and are going to be away for long time, arrange to have somebody cut it.
If you've got a spare key hidden somewhere outside your house, you may want to remove it, unless of course, you've forgotten to take your key on vacation with you. A great alternative is to give the spare key to someone you trust, this way, you also have someone who can access your home if an emergency comes up while you’re away.
If you have windows where people can see in to your house, close the curtain.
If you live in an area where burglary is a real concern you might want to look into timers so a lamp or two turns on at night.
Consider turning off all the water, but at least turn off the water supply to your to washing machines, dishwashers, ice-makers and toilets.
Unplug toasters, computers etc. If you don't want it to turn on when you're gone, unplug it.
Remove from your wallet anything you won't want or need when traveling.
Consider some additional steps to save energy and money while you are away. You can find some of the things you might want to do here.
Pay all bills that will be due while you're away.
Give any food that might spoil while you are away to a friend---unless of course you are trying to grow the next miracle antibiotic.
Make sure you have not left any wet clothes in your washing machine or drier. Exception: See # 15.
Ditto for dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
Sprinkle a little baking soda in toilets and down the sink drains to avoid coming home to the stench of stagnant water.
Water your plants. If you are going to be away for a long time arrange to have them watered periodically.
Take out the garbage..
Make sure the proper people know how to get in touch with you if they need to.
Check with your mobile provider about international calling and data plans.Read the fine print! Mobile providers are prone to predatory pricing for international calls and data. Travelers have been shocked with bills for literally hundreds of dollars for calls and data downloads when they were abroad. If you have the GSM phone (the kind that use a chip) you may be able to save money buying a prepaid chip from a local provider. Cheap prepaid phones are also available in many places including Costa Rica. Prepaid chips and phones work well for calling locally, but you'll have to give your new local number to everybody you want to be able to locate you. –tip provided by Sherri Davison
Place smart phones on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges.Smart phone apps can rack up “data roaming” charges even if you aren’t making calls. By placing your pone on airplane mode you can shut down the data roaming, but still leave the option of connecting to wireless when it’s available. We also suggest downloading an app called MagicJack, which allows you to make free calls to the U.S and Canada anywhere you have wireless.
If you left your car in an airport parking lot, write down exactly where you left so you can find it when you get back.
Arrange for pets to be taken care of while you're gone. We know you wouldn't just abandon your pets, but Michael could resist putting in the above photo of daughter Brenda’s dog.
Turn your hot water heater down so as not continuing to come on while you're gone! Dennis McNabb
Leave your home clean and neat with fresh sheets and towels so you return to a fresh and clean home. It will be like an extension of your vacation (by Fran Wagner).
Got any great tips that we missed? Please email them to us at email@example.com. We'll give you credit if we publish it. Include a physical address and we'll send you a bag of Gourmet Costa Rican Coffee.