Why You Should Always Take a Photo of Your Stove Before You Go on Vacation

Snap a picture of all your powered-down appliances for peace of mind.

Heading out on vacation can be a thrilling proposition. After all, you get to take a break from your day-to-day life, experience something new, and go on an adventure. But, let's be real, getting out of the house before a vacation can be fairly stressful.

From preparing and packing to making sure you're at the airport on time, there's so much to think about when leaving on vacation. That's why it's no surprise that you may have a mid-travel moment of stress that you forgot something major, like turning off the stove. Don't worry, Lifehacker has a tip that can help some people through that bout of stress.

According to Lifehacker, one way to stop worrying that you forgot to turn something off is to create a little "proof" by snapping a photo and adding it to a "vacation ready" photo album on your phone. Yes, really, go in and take a photo of your closed garage, unplugged beauty appliances, and even your stove dials, so that when you start to worry, you can just look at your photo album, take a deep breath, and get back to your vacation.

Kettle on stainless steel stove in modern kitchen
Alberto Guglielmi/Getty Images

The photo approach may also be better for some people than double-checking to make sure you did indeed shut off the stove. According to Psychology Today, a 2005 study at Quebec's Concordia University looked into the phenomenon of double-checking. In the study, college students turned off a stove then repeatedly checked to make sure it was actually off. The researchers then asked the students if the stove had been turned off, how clearly they remembered turning it off, and how sure they were that it was actually off. While those students who checked 10 to 15 times correctly remembered the stove was off, their memory of turning it off was no longer vivid, and they became less confident in their own memory.

However, psychologist Adam Radomsky, who performed the study, told Travel + Leisure that even double-checking on the photos on your phone could turn problematic for some.

"There's research to suggest that after as few as just two checks, people's confidence in memory can be impacted. The more you check (whether it's physical checking, or mental checking in your mind), the less confident you [may] become," Radomsky said.

Radomsky added, if you're not sure about something and become anxious about it, checking in will usually reduce that anxiety. However, as his research shows, "the problem is that in the long run, the more you check, the less confident you become, and so those checking urges and anxiety [might] increase and build and develop over time. If [double-checking] happens very rarely, it's probably okay, but if you're doing it every time you leave home or every time you travel, I wouldn't recommend it as a strategy."

So, if snapping a photo works to help you reduce your anxiety, try it. But, if it's something that you think may instead exacerbate travel anxiety, of course, there are other ways to cope with the general stresses of trying to get out of the house. There is no one-size-fits-all hack, unfortunately, but hopefully this Lifehacker tip helps many frequent fliers go about their travels with confidence.

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