Whether you’re one of those people who leaves on a whim, with only your passport, backpack and a sense of adventure, or someone who needs to plan every detail of your upcoming vacation, there’s one big thing you don’t want to forget about: preparing your home for your trip.
The big reason to get your house in proper shape before you leave on vacation is safety. An empty home is an easy target for burglars, and you don’t want your home to appear unoccupied. But in addition to safety, properly preparing your home before you go on a two-day or two-week vacation can save you money and help ensure that you won’t come home to any surprises.
Here’s the essential list of how to prepare your home before you leave.
Prepare the Outside of Your Home:
- Install a motion-activated sensor to your outdoor light.
- Get rid of that spare house key you have hidden behind the rock in your garden. While you’re gone, this can only lead to trouble.
- Park your car in the garage, because there’s no telling what the birds will be up to when you’re gone.
- Depending on how long you’ll be gone, ask a neighbor or friend to come by and mow the lawn.
- Keep your plants fed! If you don’t have someone who can come over to water them, purchase some self-watering plant stakes.
Prepare the Inside of Your Home:
- Keep some lights on or put a timer on a couple of lamps. This will make it appear as though someone is home while you’re away.
- Clean. The worst way to end a great vacation is to come home to a pile of laundry and a dirty house. Make the transition easier by leaving a clean home behind! Do the laundry, pick up, scrub and sweep.
- Take out the trash.
- Purge the refrigerator. The last thing you want is to come home to the smell of rotten milk. Get rid of all perishables and anything else that might expire.
- Unplug appliances and electronics. Appliances and devices can slowly drain electricity when not in use, so save yourself some money by unplugging them.
- Set the water heater to vacation mode.
- Turn off the water valves to the dishwasher, shower, sink and washing machine.
Additional Safety Preparations:
- Tell a neighbor or friend who lives nearby that you’ll be leaving for a little while. Ask them to come by the house a few times to make sure everything is in order.
- Either stop your mail and newspaper delivery service or have a reliable neighbor pick them up each day while you’re gone. A full mail box or driveway full of papers is a sure sign to thieves that the house is unoccupied.
- Make sure you leave an itinerary and emergency phone numbers with several people before you leave.
- Finally, be very careful about what you share on social media. Remember, thieves are looking for unoccupied homes, so be careful when it comes to sharing those shots of you and your family having the time of your lives!
This may seem like a lot to do, especially in those hectic few days before you leave on vacation, but really, most of these steps should only take a few minutes. With a little precaution, you can avoid some serious headaches when you return.