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When can I safely say 「行ってきます」when leaving home or another place? How loosely can this phrase be used? Can you use it even if you don't plan to come back until a day/week/month later?

If it is going to be an extended period that a person is gone (from home), is there another a better phrase to use or is「行ってきます」still appropriate?

For the sake of the question, let's assume that the listener knows that the person is leaving, and they also know how long that person will be gone.

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You might want to add whether or not you want your listener to know that you're not returning :) – atlantiza Jul 31 '12 at 20:01
Can you use it even if you don't plan to come back until a day/week/month later?>>Yes, even a year later. I'm sure my mom will say to me いってらっしゃい 気を付けてね and I will say 行って来ます when I leave Japan to study abroad for a year^^ – user1016 Aug 1 '12 at 11:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If your concern is that (て)きます means coming back, and that is not necessarily what is going to happen, then just do not use it. Say 行きます.

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