Notify family members and/or neighbors as to how long you will be away from home. Place valuables in the bank. Suspend all deliveries, including your newspaper subscription. Have the post office hold your mail. Leave a house key with a neighbor and set up automatic timers to activate lights and play the TV or radio at set times. Turn the thermostat down to 55-63 degrees (if you generally keep it set at a higher temperature); turn the thermostat up to 76-78 degrees (if you live in a hot and humid climate). Disconnect electrical appliances and turn off the hot-water heater. Empty and defrost the refrigerator; keep the refrigerator door propped open in order to avoid mildew. Secure all window and door locks.
Arrange for the care of your house, lawn, garden, plants, and pets. Well-kept grounds give the impression that the house continues to be lived in. Arrange for the in-home care or boarding of your pets. Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to make periodic checks of your home or consider employing a house-sitting service.
Leaving For the Airport
Always reconfirm your airline reservations before leaving home, preferably 72 hours in advance of your departure. When making or reconfirming any arrangements, be sure to obtain the name of the person with whom you have spoken as well as a confirmation number.
Arrive for your flight a little early. Airlines suggest that passengers on international flights arrive a minimum of two hours before take-off. Give yourself extra time to avoid getting frazzled should you be slowed down by heavy traffic or inclement weather on your way to the airport.
Leave an itinerary with hotel telephone and fax numbers as well as the Regent contact number (if you are on a Regent tour) with someone. Let one or two people know where to reach you.
Keep An Open Mind
When you leave your home in North America, you are embarking on a journey that will take you to places that are very different from your usual way of life. Try to be flexible and enjoy the unexpected. Embrace new sights, sounds, people, and the culture around you. Sample the food, try to speak the language, ask questions, and smile; you will return home a more knowledgeable person with happy memories. Many travelers have told us that Chinese people are the friendliest people in the world--find out for yourself!