How do you prepare for vacation?



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Does the thought of planning an excursion put you in a relaxing mood, or does it make you anxious?

Do you fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the unexpected?

Or do you go more of the Clark Griswold route and plan everything down to the finest detail?

As peak travel season approaches, remember that Angie’s List is available to help you along the way, from highly rated travel agents to luggage repair.

So wherever you’re going, don’t forget to pack the List!

And, as Tina Erskine of highly rated Tina’s Travel Network in Pflugerville, Texas, reminds, “Traveling is about the experience more than the place.”


Secure your home before traveling

No matter if you’re away for a weekend or a seven-day cruise, make sure your property is safe and secure before leaving.

That might include cancelling the newspaper, stopping the mail and putting the interior lights on a timer.

If you’re leaving for an extended time, make sure the bills are paid, unplug small appliances and hire a lawn care company to tend to the yard. And don’t leave behind any important documentation.

“Make sure you have copies of your passport, and all medications and prescriptions,” says Patti Cash, owner of highly rated Magic Cruises & Tours in Columbus, Ohio.

For homeowners with a security system, contact the central station and let them know you’re going on vacation.

“Make sure your call list is updated, in case we have to contact anyone,” says Marc Admire, co-owner of highly rated Portland Security Alarm in Portland, Oregon. “Also, test your system before you go out of town to make sure everything is working properly.”

If you want to install security prior to a trip, Admire says a basic system will cost a couple hundred dollars, but with some more advanced systems, you can monitor your home from anywhere in the world.

“Full interaction with remote access is big time now,” he says. “This allows you to receive a text or email whenever anyone enters your home. You can give one code to the housekeeper, one code to the dog walker, and you’ll know who’s in your house, and for how long.”

Hiring a quality dog walker or pet sitter is another way Angie’s List can help with your travel needs. Many of these professionals offer both services as an additional layer of security for traveling homeowners, and will do things like turn on and off lights, bring in mail and alter window treatments to give the appearance of someone inside the home.

“Your pet is more comfortable in his own surroundings, so a professional pet sitter is the best answer,” says Sandy Winland, owner of highly rated Critter’s Keeper in Medina, Ohio, who says pet owners should only hire someone who is bonded and insured. “Ask for references and call those references.”  

Pet sitters will visit your home the number of times a day that you establish your pet requires, and the average cost ranges $14 to $20 a visit. If requested, some pet sitters offer an overnight service, in which they will sleep in your house to keep your pet company.

“After a pet owner meets me, and they see that their animal is comfortable with me and I’m not a psycho, it makes them more comfortable,” says Lisa Perry, owner of highly rated Pampered Pet Sitters in Lake Oswego, Oregon. “I’d say 99 percent call us back the next time they go out of town.”