You’ve checked off your packing list, printed out your confirmation emails, and taken one final browse through your ‘Must Do’ Pinterest lists. You’re ready to go on your next trip, right? Not so fast! One thing a lot of people forget about when they travel, especially for an extended amount of time, is that it’s equally important to prepare your home and get everything in order before you lock the door and head out on your travels. Having your home as prepared for your vacation as you are can take a lot of stress off your next trip, so to help, we put together a guide with the steps you can take to make sure your home is ready for your next vacation.
Hold Your Mail – Nothing says “I’m on Vacation and this home is empty!” like an overflowing mailbox. Thankfully the USPS has made their Hold Mail service easy to use with a simple online form, so you don’t have to plan a trip to the local post office just to get your mail held for you for up to 30 days.
Stop Newspaper Delivery – A driveway full of old newspapers is another invitation to potential thieves, so make sure to call any newspaper services that you subscribe to and have them stop delivery while you’re away. If you get a daily paper, it’s probably best to stop delivery a day or two before you leave so that you can make sure it actually gets processed appropriately.
Look After Pets and Plants – Any living thing in your home is going to need another set of eyes to keep them alive while you’re away, so if you don’t have a friendly neighbor or family member that lives close enough to care for them while you’re away, check out a service like Rover to find someone who can look after your pet, and invest in some Plant Watering Globes or Self-Watering Terracotta Spikes to keep your plants watered automatically while you’re away.
Pre-Pay Your Bills – If you’re not already on automatic payments, make sure to review all of your recurring bills, like cable, power, water, and your cell phone, and pre-pay any that will be due while you’re away. That way, you’re not hit with any surprises when a bill reminder letter is sitting with the rest of your mail in the hold at the post office.
Empty Your Refrigerator – Make sure to check all of your perishable food and toss anything that will expire while you’re away. Food will actually last a few days longer than usual when you’re not opening and closing the refrigerator door regularly, but you don’t want to come back to a refrigerator full of rotten food that you have to deal with when you’d rather be relaxing after you return.
Unplug Appliances – You can unplug any non-essential appliance, like your TV, computer, microwave, stereo, or internet router, to make sure they’re not using any zombie power that you’ll have to pay for, and also to protect them from any unexpected issues like a power surge that could damage them while you’re away.
Adjust Your HVAC – Unless you live in a temperate climate, you probably don’t want to turn your heater or air conditioning off entirely, since homes don’t like extreme temperatures, but they can survive a much wider range of temperatures than what we humans comfortably like to live in, so you can turn down the heat setting, or turn up the air conditioning setting, to make sure that they only kick on if the house gets really hot or cold. A safe range is 60 for the heat, and 80 for the air conditioning.
Turn Down Your Water Heater – Another appliance you can adjust to help save money while you’re away is your water heater. Most water heaters need to regularly turn on to re-heat the water as it cools, so if you dial down the temperature, you can give it a break and save yourself some electricity in the process.
Turn Off Your Water – Water leads are pretty rare, but they can happen, and the worst time for one of your pipes to spring a leak would be when you’re away on a trip and unable to catch it in time. To help prevent any potential water damage, you can turn off the taps at your sinks, toilets, and washing machine to make sure no water is flowing to potential weak spots in your water system.
Set Up Timed Lights – One easy way to deter thieves is to have a few lights that still turn on and off regularly, so it looks like someone’s home. These Mechanical Outlet Timers are cheap and easy to use, and you can put one in a main living area, and then one in the bedroom, and set them to different on and off times so it still looks like people are moving around within the house.
Leave A Key With A Trusted Friend – Even the best planning and preparation can overlook something simple, so make sure you have a backup plan in place with a trusted friend that can access your home if needed. Give them your itinerary so they know when to expect you back, and then if you think you might have left a curling iron on and can’t get it out of your mind, you can give them a call and have them go take a look, so you can get back to relaxing on your vacation and not worrying about your home.