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How do you manage your house, pets, etc. while on such a lengthy cruise?

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Hi,

 

Can't help but ask this....it'd be interesting to know how many people who do WC either have smaller properties to take care of - possibly 55+ communities and such - possibly no pets or houseplants, etc. I suppose an option is to hire a live-in house sitter to take care of some of the things I mentioned. Another concern is, if appropriate to one's living situation and location, having someone to plow snow, mow lawn, etc.

I've looked at these WC itineraries occasionally over the years and find them really intriguing, but just can't imagine the logistics of being away so long since I have all the concerns I mentioned above - a substantial property to take care of, pets, plants, and so forth.

 

Thanks for any thoughts on how those who have done such long voyages manage it on the homefront. Then I suppose there is the cruise itself - I have enough trouble deliberating over and choosing shore excursions for a 2-week cruise, let alone have to deal with a cruise that stops at like 50+ ports!! Then, too, there is all the time spent just at sea. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ days just at sea.....not sure about how I'd like that.

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I haven't taken my world cruise yet (2019), but have already made a long list of "things to do."

 

I live on a small farm - no animals currently, but lots of mowing. I also have a poodle who is 12 yrs old. I plan to ask my neighbor to let my dog stay with them (if he's still alive at the time I sail) and ask my daughters and sons-in-law to check the house, mow the lawn and drive the car every couple weeks. Of course I'll pay them for their help.

 

Before I leave, I'll get a vacation extension on my prescriptions, have the mail forwarded to one of my daughters' home and have all the bills on auto pay. I think seeing the world will be well worth the effort of preplanning. :D

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If I had a close friend or family member locally, with whom my pet had spent a lot of time, I might consider doing that. However, we have an aging feline companion, who is an "only child", and we have made the decision to not go on any long trips until she has crossed the "rainbow bridge." Since that time appears to becoming closer, we intend to put a deposit on the 2018 Grand Asia and/or the 2019 PC, and make a final determination by the time of final payment, depending on our pet's health. I just can't imagine leaving her with just anyone for four months. After all, she won't know if we will ever come back and will think that we have abandoned her.

 

Payment of bills is no problem in this digital age, but obviously a laptop or i-pad is essential. You don't want to use a public computer for payment of bills and access to financial accounts.

Obtaining multi-month supplies of prescription drugs sometimes takes a few days and your physician's confirmation as to necessity, so we plan on allowing sufficient time for that.

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We are on pace to be traveling around 270 days this year. We moved to a townhouse several years ago so we could travel . We have no responsibility for any out side maintenance. Inside, we have no pets, gave away the tropical fish and plants a while back. We will be home three times this year, as short as a few weeks, as long as about six weeks. All bills are direct draft, mail is rerouted to a po box.

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In our experience, USPS will hold mail for only 30 days.

We have the neighbor's kids collect our mail for us (their mail box is next to ours). For our 2018 WC, instead of paying them $20 each for this service, we're looking at getting them US Savings Bonds or some similar financial instrument.

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I understand the 30-day hold, but the mail can be temporarily re-routed for, I think, up to 180 days. So if it is re-routed to a PO Box, and that box gets full, what then? And pls. don't tell me what I fear sometimes does happen - gets deep-sixed or returned to Sender. The last time we had our home mail re-routed for two months, some of the mail was returned to Sender, marked "Moved away." Gotta love that service!

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It is not inexpensive, but for long times away from home, I use the USPS Premium Mail Forwarding Service and have mail sent to a friend's home in a neighboring community.

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What happens when the PO box gets filled - the PO stuffs it somewhere in the back in a box?

We rent a large box, remember only first class mail is forwarded so junk mail get tossed.

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We rent a large box, remember only first class mail is forwarded so junk mail get tossed.

 

I think that is the best choice. But, interestingly, the PO does occasionally (by mistake) forward junk mail, and it also forwards magazines and, occasionally, catalogs.

 

RKA - Why do you feel that the premium forwarding service is worthwhile? We use the regular forwarding service, and we find that the mail still only gets forwarded once or twice a week. If we're lucky.

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I think that is the best choice. But, interestingly, the PO does occasionally (by mistake) forward junk mail, and it also forwards magazines and, occasionally, catalogs.

 

RKA - Why do you feel that the premium forwarding service is worthwhile? We use the regular forwarding service, and we find that the mail still only gets forwarded once or twice a week. If we're lucky.

 

For my post office, their forwarding service can be a "hit or miss" proposition. I want all of my mail forwarded because I do subscribe to some journals and publications that I do want to receive. Yes, there is some--not alot--but some "junk mail" that is in the boxes which I can easily discard.

 

Plus, the premium forwarding service puts the mail in a sealed box that helps me to be sure that all that I should receive has been received and not just sent "loose" as regularly forwarded mail is.

 

I often need to use this service in late December-January-February when tax forms are being mailed. I want to be sure that I receive those forms.

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For my post office, their forwarding service can be a "hit or miss" proposition. I want all of my mail forwarded because I do subscribe to some journals and publications that I do want to receive. Yes, there is some--not alot--but some "junk mail" that is in the boxes which I can easily discard.

 

I often need to use this service in late December-January-February when tax forms are being mailed. I want to be sure that I receive those forms.

 

Good reasons.

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We rent a large box, remember only first class mail is forwarded so junk mail get tossed.

 

 

Does that include Oceania's continuous supply of brochures??!! :')

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Does that include Oceania's continuous supply of brochures??!! :')

 

Thread drift this post is, but I applaud your comment! How much could Oceania reduce their fares if this nearly daily flood of brochures cease? I really don't understand their business model that causes such mailings!

 

If anything, it turns me off from considering booking a cruise on Oceania.

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Thread drift this post is, but I applaud your comment! How much could Oceania reduce their fares if this nearly daily flood of brochures cease? I really don't understand their business model that causes such mailings!

 

If anything, it turns me off from considering booking a cruise on Oceania.

 

Sorry for the rabbit trail . . . . but many other cruiselines stuff my mailbox with full of their brochures too. Lots of pretty pictures but I can't imagine that it's a profitable way to market their products. I'd prefer my fares to decrease instead too. ;)

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Does that include Oceania's continuous supply of brochures??!! :')

 

Yes, otherwise you will need two boxes!

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Interesting thoughts, especially on having mail held. I can't even rely on my local newspaper company to be sure and NOT put any papers in our delivery box when we're away for only 2 weeks. Inevitably we get back from a trip and there is at least one or two newspapers in the box. I've complained about this so many times, but the problem just continues on. What happens is that whenever there is a substitute carrier, the message to have our paper delivery temporarily suspended somehow does not get to that person. So I worry about this every single time we go on any trip - be it 5 days or 3 weeks. And to ask a family member or relative to check each day on whether or not we got a paper is a bit too much to expect. With further consideration, the WC just sounds like too much: too long, too much to worry about while away, especially with a large property to attend to and the pets, plants, etc. It'll have to wait till the inevitable downsize and a possible move to a 55+ community. The thought of doing so is actually looking better and better as the years go on.

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Interesting thoughts, especially on having mail held. I can't even rely on my local newspaper company to be sure and NOT put any papers in our delivery box when we're away for only 2 weeks..

Can't comment on newspaper delivery, but regarding USPS Hold Mail service, we have used it many times and never had a problem. At the end of the hold period they put it all in the mailbox if it fits and it it doesn't fit they deliver it in a tub which they put on the front porch. If we didn't have a porch and would worry about rain, we could elect to pick it up at the PO.

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(three4RD: BTW...moving to a 55+ community was the best decision ever!) Downsizing frees you up for so much more in life! (Like a WC!)

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We have taken several trips over the 30-day limit for holding mail. We always speak with the postmaster and have had our mail held for as long as 80 days with no problem. We hope to take a WC in 2019 and will probably have to make other arrangements, but we'll speak to the postmaster first and see what he or she recommends.

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We have taken several trips over the 30-day limit for holding mail. We always speak with the postmaster and have had our mail held for as long as 80 days with no problem. We hope to take a WC in 2019 and will probably have to make other arrangements, but we'll speak to the postmaster first and see what he or she recommends.

 

I congratulate you on having a cooperative Postmaster. The one that preceded the current one at my Branch was cooperative. The current one is as customer unfriendly as one can imagine such a person could be. The "push" is to sell the Premium Forwarding Plan which is understandable. It is not inexpensive and I am sure the USPS gains some profit from this.

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We've had several postmasters over the past few years ... I guess we've been fortunate! We know we can't assume that will always be the case.

Regarding payment of bills ... we are still dinosaurs who write checks :eek: (if you can imagine such a thing!). We are able to estimate expenses and prepay all of our bills before we leave. I don't know what we'll do for a WC, I would like to set up electronic payments, but Mr Chew is adamantly opposed. We'll see what happens!

No pets to worry about.

Several years ago we downsized into a townhouse with no outside maintenance. One of our sons has been able to come by and check the house (water plants, run faucets & flush toilets, start the cars, etc) but he has recently moved out of the area, so we'll have to think of something else.

We also have a good alarm system & security company - I think this is a must have for anyone who plans to travel a lot - and I am thinking of upgrading the locks again for a longer trip.

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I, too, was hesitant about having regularly occurring bills being paid through ACH before I made the arrangements. Have had zero issues and have done this for almost all of my bills, including local property taxes, for several years. I'd suggest Mr. Chew discuss the safety of this process with your local banker.

 

If you have a Property Manager for where you live, I'd suggest providing them a key to your unit in case emergency access is required. Also, a close, reliable friend is the answer to having your home periodically checked.

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We've been house sitting for the past 3+ years while seeking a place and property to buy (which will come <2 months before a long-planned but short cruise), some of whom have gone away for months (4 continuous months is the longest but not on a cruise).

 

Pets. Your dogs will miss you initially (some of them will anyway, not all) but they'll get over it. This is from a population of ~ 20 dogs. Some of the dogs preferred me to their owners as I took them out for more and longer walks. The cat likely won't give a rip for the most part if they never see you again (our experience with ~ a dozen).

 

If your house sits empty, be sure to comply with your home insurer's policy re: prolonged absences. Some require the house to be visited every few days, not be vacant over a certain length, or take precautions (most likely turning off water, keeping temperature above a certain threshold in winter).

 

Depending on your property, location and responsibilities, you may be able to get someone to house sit for you for free (we've never charged).

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We've had several postmasters over the past few years ... I guess we've been fortunate! We know we can't assume that will always be the case.

Regarding payment of bills ... we are still dinosaurs who write checks :eek: (if you can imagine such a thing!). We are able to estimate expenses and prepay all of our bills before we leave. I don't know what we'll do for a WC, I would like to set up electronic payments, but Mr Chew is adamantly opposed. We'll see what happens!

 

Does he live in the 18th century.? Who actually writes checks today? Even when we don't travel, we pay 100% of our bills automatically and have been doing it for years. Anyone who pays bills by checks is being very old fashioned.

 

DON

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Enjoyed reading this thread. What do people do about services, like water or cable tv or internet? do you cancel and reconnect upon return? does the company allow you to stop being billed for non-use otherwise?

The longest I've been away is ninety days so far. I still use electricity for security lights, lights on a timer, and HVAC, but turn off circuit breakers for everything else, even the emptied refrigerator.

Probably another good idea is to remove batteries from remote controls.

What I do for mail is to have the hold delivered at the 30 day mark, have a family member pick it up from my mailbox, and then I regenerate another 30 day hold over the internet. I suppose if I were at sea, I would have said family member regenerate the hold for me.

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Enjoyed reading this thread. What do people do about services, like water or cable tv or internet? do you cancel and reconnect upon return? does the company allow you to stop being billed for non-use otherwise?

The longest I've been away is ninety days so far. I still use electricity for security lights, lights on a timer, and HVAC, but turn off circuit breakers for everything else, even the emptied refrigerator.

Probably another good idea is to remove batteries from remote controls.

What I do for mail is to have the hold delivered at the 30 day mark, have a family member pick it up from my mailbox, and then I regenerate another 30 day hold over the internet. I suppose if I were at sea, I would have said family member regenerate the hold for me.

 

Some cable companies and internet providers have provision for a highly reduced price, or even no cost, "hold" on services if you are away for an extended period. Call yours to find out what they might offer.

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Mulling over asking next door neighbor to start up our vehicles once a month or just hook up battery trickle chargers.

We pay a neighbor to take care of the house and we have a differt neighbor take care of the car's.

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Mulling over asking next door neighbor to start up our vehicles once a month or just hook up battery trickle chargers.

 

FYI, in doing some basic research for maintaining our car batteries, one apparently should use what's called a 'float' charger. A trickle charger might overcharge a battery, unless it has an automatic switch-over from a trickle charge to a lower float charge when the battery is fully charged.

Our $.02

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:o

(three4RD: BTW...moving to a 55+ community was the best decision ever!) Downsizing frees you up for so much more in life! (Like a WC!)

 

The day may well come yet! Taking care of my property certainly is not as easy at 61 as it was 10 years ago or more! Definitely starting to think about it more and more.

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We utilize a key-holder service. These are security professionals, usually retired police officers. They patrol in marked vehicles and are armed.

 

They monitor the mailbox and send us first class mail; water the plants, ensure the house looks lived in; bring in stray newspapers and flyers left in driveway and mailbox; rotate the curtains and blinds; respond to security system alarms, including intruder, water, and freeze alarms; handle emergencies (ie power outages and water leaks); randomly patrol the premises; start the car; flush toilets and circulate water; etc.

 

No matter where I am, I know that there are professionals who can handle just about anything that could happen to my home in my absence. No need to depend on neighbors, who might be away for the day, or relatives who are busy working.

 

It's a business; and I'm willing to pay for the service. :D

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We utilize a key-holder service. These are security professionals, usually retired police officers. They patrol in marked vehicles and are armed.

 

They monitor the mailbox and send us first class mail; water the plants, ensure the house looks lived in; bring in stray newspapers and flyers left in driveway and mailbox; rotate the curtains and blinds; respond to security system alarms, including intruder, water, and freeze alarms; handle emergencies (ie power outages and water leaks); randomly patrol the premises; start the car; flush toilets and circulate water; etc.

 

No matter where I am, I know that there are professionals who can handle just about anything that could happen to my home in my absence. No need to depend on neighbors, who might be away for the day, or relatives who are busy working.

 

It's a business; and I'm willing to pay for the service. :D

 

Sounds interesting. Please send me a PM with the name of this service, if you please. landryrk at gmail dot com.

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Sounds interesting. Please send me a PM with the name of this service, if you please. landryrk at gmail dot com.

 

 

 

Also there is a web site Housesitter.com that will arrange a number of people to come live in your home- they will watch out for your animals house and other tasks . You pay your normal bills and the sitters live for free.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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My husband stopped in at the post office last week.

As there are pieces of mail which are not forwarded, sending the mail to one of our kids will not be a viable option.

We have a retired police officer who checks our house every week when we are away.

The post office agreed to having mail held for 30 days at a time and having our designated person pick it up.

He will then take it to our house and put it in a (really big) basket for our return.

We will just fill out the requests and take them in to the post office.

I hope that this helps someone else who might be wondering what to do regarding mail.

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