You may have been planning your vacation for weeks or months. Your hotel reservations are confirmed, you have a ride to the airport, and your bags are packed. You’re not quite ready yet, though. Before you go, you need to make sure your home is ready for your vacation, too. The following tips can help you prepare your home so it is safe while you are gone and welcoming when you get back.
1. Make a list of last-minute action items.
When you begin your list of what to pack to take with you, start making a list of what you need to do to clean and secure your home before leaving. If you do not use a list for packing, start your list a couple of weeks before your vacation so you have plenty of time to remember what you need to do at the last minute. Items may include setting the thermostat higher in summer or lower in winter, checking to make sure you turned off the stove and oven, and taking out the last bag of trash.
2. Clean out the kitchen.
Ending your vacation and getting back to real life are tough enough. You do not need to make the experience even sadder by coming home to a kitchen full of moldy food. Consider how long you’ll be gone for, and think about which food will still be good. Fresh vegetables and fruit, eggs, milk, meat, bread, and other perishables in the fridge and on the counter are likely candidates for the trash if you cannot eat them before you leave. Condiments, canned and dried goods, and other pantry foods can generally stay.
3. Talk to the neighbors.
Let your neighbors know that you are leaving and for how long you will be gone. Ask them to keep an eye on your house to watch for any suspicious activity. You might also ask them to park in your driveway while you are gone so your house looks lived-in.
4. Consider the newspaper and mail.
If any of your neighbors are willing, ask them to pick up your newspaper each day and take your mail inside your house, since a pile of old newspapers in your driveway and an overflowing mailbox are clear signs of an empty house. If you prefer, you can ask the postal service to hold your mail at your local post office. The drawback with this is that then the postal service, your mail carrier, the newspaper company, and delivery person know that you’re away.
5. Go Over the Basic Home Safety Features
While your home security system should always be in place, this is a good opportunity to double-check it. Make sure your security lights are working right lights, and replace batteries in your smoke detectors if necessary. Look around your property to see whether you have any bushy hedges that create shadows and are big enough to hide a person. Intruders love overgrown bushes, so trim the hedges so an intruder would be easily visible.
6. Automate Your Home
Set the timers so your sprinklers come on automatically if you need to water while you are gone. Also, put your lights on timers so it looks like people are there, especially in the evenings. You can even contact your home security system company to ask for help with automation and how to use the remote monitoring features that may come with your system.