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Preparing for vacation can be almost as much fun as the trip itself, but it can also be stressful. This time isn’t just about packing and planning for your trip. It’s also when you need to prepare your house and life for vacation mode so you don’t come home to a disaster. Do these 10 things before leaving for vacation to ensure everything at home runs as smoothly while you are away as it does when you’re home. And for added ease, get your copy of our Pre-Vacation Departure Checklist so you don’t forget a thing! (See the form at the bottom for details.)
#1: Unplug Small Appliances and Electronics
You never know when the power will surge. So, protect your home and belongings from fire by unplugging all small appliances and electronics before you leave. This includes televisions, computers, and gaming systems. Alternatively, make sure these things are plugged into a surge protector.
#2: Turn Down the Thermostat
Another way to protect your wallet from unnecessarily high utility bills while on vacation is to turn your thermostat down (or up, depending on the season). If no one will be at home, there is no reason for your heating and air conditioning to be running. Consider installing a smart thermostat, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, to give you the ability to control the temperature in your home from your phone. You can buy the Nest thermostat from Amazon.
#3: Leave on a Light
The last thing you want to do before leaving for vacation is to advertise to burglars that you are away. So, leave on an interior light to make it appear from the outside that someone is at home. You also want to leave on at least one outside light. Or, better yet, invest in lights that are on timers or motion sensors for inside and outside your home. This way, the bad guys will see lights being turned on and off if they are casing your house while you are gone.
#4: Lock All Doors and Windows
You also want to take a few minutes before leaving on vacation to lock all your doors and windows. This includes all doors into the house, as well as gates into your backyard and the doors to any outbuildings you may have on your property. Don’t forget to lock the garage door too! Criminals are always looking for the easy score. The more difficult you make it to break in, the less likely they are to choose your house.
#5: Set Your Alarm
Another safety measure for your home is to set your house alarm before leaving for vacation. This will not only scare would-be intruders away, but will also give you piece of mind knowing that someone is monitoring your property for any problems.
#6: Tell a Trusted Neighbor
While having your alarm company monitor your house while you are gone is good, having a trusted neighbor keeping an eye out too is even better. Pick someone that you trust and tell them when you will be gone. Leave your cell number with them so they can call you if they see anything suspicious.
#7: Stop Mail and Newspaper Delivery
Thieves look for telltale signs that someone’s not home when they are choosing what houses to burglarize. Outsmart them by having your mail and newspaper delivery stopped during the time you are away. The post office will hold your mail for a short period of time if you ask. Then, when you return, you can stop by and pick it up. If you can’t have the deliveries stopped, ask your trusted neighbor to pick them up for you.
#8: Don’t Leave Any Hidden Keys
Don’t leave any hidden keys on the outside of your house while you are traveling. Burglars know all the common places, such as under the mat and in the flower pots. You don’t want to make it easier for the bad guys to break in and steal your stuff. If you must leave a key out for someone, leave it with your trusted neighbor or give it to the person who needs it before you leave.
#9: Water Your Plants
Don’t forget to water your indoor plants before leaving for vacation. While this one won’t help to protect your property, it will make life a little more pleasant when you arrive home. Unless you will be gone for more than 2 weeks, your plants should be ok with a good soak before you leave. If you will be gone longer, look into getting an automatic watering device.
#10: Give a Travel Notice to the Bank
This one is important because it not only affects your money, but it can also have a huge impact on your trip. Before leaving for vacation, call your bank and let them know you will be traveling and where. They can flag your account so if your cards are used in those locations, the bank will know it is you. We failed to do this in the past, and it resulted in the bank shutting down our accounts because they thought our cards had been stolen. One simple phone call can save you tons of time and frustration while you are away.
There you go: ten simple things to do before leaving for vacation that will give you piece of mind that you won’t come home to a disaster. For more tips on making your trips better, see how to take amazing vacations on any budget. To learn more tips for relaxing travel, see my tips on stress free travel with your spouse. Do you have any tips on things to do before leaving for vacation? If so, leave them in the comments. Happy travels!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your FREE Pre-Vacation Departure Checklist! This simple checklist will make it easy to remember to do all the above steps so you can relax while on vacation knowing that everything at home is safe and secure. See the form below for details on how to get it!