In a few days my dh and I will be taking a trip that will take us away from home for six weeks. In preparation for being gone for an extended period, I have put the following services on "vacation hold:"
~ DISH TV
~ House cleaning
I calculated we will save at least $255 by placing these services on hold. In addition, I placed our mail on vacation hold, although it can only be done for 30 days at a time.
Before leaving, we will turn off the pilot on the gas fireplace, shut off the water valves to the washer, and turn the water heater to the low setting. The forced air heater will be set to a lower temperature (60) but not so low the pipes will freeze, and the ice maker will be shut off. This will save on the gas bill and protect the house from water line mishaps. (Years ago, after a two-week trip, we came home to a flooded house due to the washer hose breaking).
We will call our credit card companies to alert them we will be traveling out of the USA and give them the names of countries where we will possibly use our cards (i.e., Devil's Island, St. Lucia, Brazil...).
While we are traveling, we will keep our cell phones on "Airplane Mode" to avoid long distance roaming fees but will keep the Wi-Fi option turned on. This will allow us to check our email whenever we are in free Wi-Fi range (e.g., many hotels, cafes, and airports). I will also contact ATT about international data plan options in case I need to use my email from my iPad when we are out of free Wi-Fi range.
Another thing I do when we travel is send family a copy of our itinerary so they know how to contact us in case of an emergency, especially if our cell phones are turned off. I will also email myself an encrypted spreadsheet with our credit card numbers and phone numbers in case we lose the cards, and I will email myself an encrypted pdf of my scanned passport for the same reason.
And lastly, I carry my medical records on a flash drive that was given to me by our HMO. My comprehensive health records are on an encrypted pdf that requires a password to open, just like the documents I email to myself.
Our trip will take us 1,000 miles down the Amazon River to Manaus.