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How do you checkout a person you "hope" will care for it all in your absence?
Here are a few tips:
* Ask for names and telephone numbers of employers (current/former), plus personal references and call them. If the resulting conversations "don't feel right," look for someone else.
Go further, especially if you plan to be away for an extended period. Have a background check done have the person screened for credit, security and criminal records.
* Leave contact information for people to be called in case of any emergency, like a veterinarian, plumber, a responsible friend, etc.
* Memorialize your expectations in writing include the dates you'll be away, when to give the dog medication, take out the trash, etc. Signed and dated by both of you, it can be contractually binding; but probably more important, it will help reduce misunderstandings.
* If you've got lot of money wrapped up in "home," you may want to consider laying out a bit more and getting your housesitter bonded through your insurance company.
P.S. You may find the following newsletter of interest:
The Caretaker Gazetter is a unique newsletter (published since 1983) containing property caretaking and housesitting opportunities, advice, and information for property caretakers, housesitters, and landowners.
Helga Hayse is an award winning journalist, writer, public speaker and video producer. She kindly shares with SoloDining.com visitors excerpts from her forthcoming book about her journey, navigating through the difficult emotional, physical, social and financial journey from wife to widow to solo.
When I travel, I usually carry a small diary in my purse. But sometimes, I forget it and have to write on whatever is at hand. While cleaning my office recently, I chanced upon a basket containing napkins, place mats, envelopes, menus, theater programs, hotel stationery and match books which had served as diaries of the moment.
Finding the basket and reading through the travel notes took me back to the real time experience of writing them. As I sifted through the items, remembering the circumstances and feelings connected to each note, I realized I'd learned a lot.
"A table for four at the edge of the sidewalk? Alone in a world of twosomes. I think I'm projecting again. At least from here I can hear the fountain and see the moon."
Moral: If you're hung up about being seen alone, forget it most people don't notice you at all.
"Tipping the maitre d' works wonders. Men do it all the time least expensive item on this trip. Remember to make a reservation next time!"
Moral: Get the table you want rather than the one they want you to have.
"Instant bond with Maria at the desk. Invited for dinner. She said just tell the taxi driver my name. Everyone here knows our family."
Moral: When traveling, trust your response to unusual invitations.
To read more of Hayse' writings click here.
E-mail Hayse at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Package tours are tailor-made for many people especially those who dont care to fuss with planning a trip. They can also be economical. The folks who put travel packages together have forged connections and their planning is based on savings inherent in multiples.
That said, tour packages are wrapped differently they include escorted group tours, small group packages for the more adventuresome and independent tour packages for do-it-yourselfers.
So how can you decide what kind of travel best suits you? The U.S. Tour Association, an industry group, commissioned psychologists to devise a self-test to help consumers decide exactly that.
Heres a sampling of 30 statements appearing on their website:
* I would enjoy socializing in a large group, or, I like being with a small group.
* I like to plan fun things to do, or, I would rather let others plan my activities.
* I prefer people who share my interests, or, I can relate to many kinds of people.
* I try to be resourceful when faced with problems, or, there is little I can do to deal with life's difficulties.
* I like to have things my way, or Im willing to compromise with people.
Participants tally their responses to determine which kind of tour is best for them.
Take the entire test yourself. Click: Package Tour