Leaving for a trip, long term or short, is a huge endeavor. More than just packing a suitcase, there are other matters that must be taken care of.

Bills Paid. Present And Advance

It’d be bad to return from a trip to an eviction notice or a towed car. If bills are payable online, then try paying them in advance. There are also automatic payments. It’s a drag to worry about bills while away on a trip so calculate the amount in advance and setup your payments.

Advance Tip: Some memberships may allow you to suspend payments, temporarily. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Water The Plants. Take In The Newspaper

Honestly, the last time I’ve heard this was in movies. The neighbor boy is asked to water the house plants. Whether he did so or not was the plot for funny gags to follow. Newspapers were taken in to avoid a piled-up mountain on the front door. They were also an obvious indicator to thieves that the homeowners were away.

Times have changed, but taking care of mundane tasks before you leave for a trip still applies. Additional responsibilities need to be addressed.

The newspaper could be newsletters you receive instead. Depending how often you plan to check your email, coming back to an inbox of 1203 unread messages is overwhelming. Certain email subscriptions can be briefly halted or frequencies reduced.

For me, I’m a member of 11 local meetups on meetup.com, 8 of which I actively attended. Normally I receive emails about upcoming meetings and reminders. Times those by 11 and you’ve got the formula for an overfilled inbox. A simple solution is going into the account settings for each group and turning off the notifications. Upon my return, I can turn them back on.

For newsletters that don’t allow you to switch from daily to weekly or month. Or those you absolutely love and couldn’t bare not receiving, there is another alternative. You can elect to have the emails placed into a folder automatically through filters.

Steps to create a filter for emails:
Gmail
Yahoo Mail
Outlook

Going on a trip? Don't forget to water the plants and grab the paper.

 

Notifying Important People About Your Absence

It’s the courteous thing to do. It also helps prevent the “I didn’t know you were gone” phone calls.

Advance Tip: Are you part of any organizations, clubs, or have many people who actively contribute to your life? Then this can become tiring. If you’re anything like me, you like doing these in person. Have your speech prepared. If you’re not so personable then copy and paste your text or email.

 

Setup Out Of Office Replies

Yup. It’s time to do so.
Have a little fun with it if you’d like.
Here’s some inspiration.
Oh this one and these too.
Simpsons fans will love number 4.

 

Copies Of Important Documents

Items such as an insurance card and a glasses prescription can be invaluable during the worst-case scenario. Anything else I’ll have to leave to your judgement.
 

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Notify Your Bank

If you’re leaving the country (regardless if you plan to use your debit or credit card) you should still notify your bank about your absence. It’s as simple as telling them your destination and duration. It’d be a shame to have your card declined while buying a souvenir.

Despite Japan being a cash based society, I still felt it necessary to do this protective measure on the off chance I decided to use my card. I didn’t want any issues. A transaction occurring on the other side of the globe may look suspicious. It’s also helpful in case a false transaction’s made in my home country while I’m away.

Setting up a travel notice isn’t hard. All it takes is a simple phone call or an online form. I did mine via an online form while being driven to the airport.

Here are a few banks’ online forms:
Bank of America
Chase
Wells Fargo

Or head on over to your favorite search engine and type in “your banks name” and “notify travel”.

 

Know If Your Cards Include A Foreign Transaction Fee

Look up if your card has a foreign transaction fee and what continents and countries applies. It sucks to find out afterwards. Also, be careful of online payments.
Does your card have any fees?

 

Can You Bank Locally?

It’s time to find out. Are there any branch locations or even an ATM at your destination? If you’re going international find out if your bank has a partnership with a bank abroad. Using a partner bank’s ATM could possibly aid in avoiding fees. Check your bank’s website for details or call in.

This hasn’t become a necessary need while in Japan but it’s still good to know. Meeting other travelers abroad I’ve seen 7 Eleven has been the go to.

 

Convert Your Money

If you’re traveling domestically this might not be a problem. Just make sure you have enough money. For international travel don’t get caught with a huge conversion fee.

 

A Few Suggestions

  • Backup your laptop, phone and files. Either on a hard drive or cloud base service like Google Drive, Amazon, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud.
  • Print out a list of contacts. Yes, you have a phone but think of all worst-case scenarios.
  • Label your bags. Include a name, phone number, address and email.

 

Remember life doesn’t stop and adulting is an everyday lesson. Let’s travel right. With the itinerary set and flight booked, have you checked off all the items listed above?

Be sure to continue following our journey through Japan.
Until next time.
Sore ja mata/それ じゃ また