It’s that time of year again! The pre-vacation scramble has probably already begun for many of you. You’ve made lists of what needs packing, and confirmed your reservations at the hotel, but have you made sure that your home is ready for vacation, too? If you want some peace of mind, here are a few tips to tie up loose ends at home prior to heading out of town.
1. This may seem obvious, but always be sure to have someone pick up your mail and newspapers. There’s nothing that says “We’re not home, come right on in” like a pile of newspapers at the end of your driveway.
Alternately, simply call the local post office and newspaper and have them hold them for you. When you get the pile you’ve missed, donate them to local schools for class use.
2. Close all of the curtains and shades while you’re away. Be sure no one can see your belongings on display. This helps with the electric bill, too. Set your thermostat at a more modest level for further savings.
3. Set interior timers so that a lamp or two will turn on at a certain time in the evenings. These are inexpensive to purchase and make it seem like someone’s home.
4. Have you taken photos of everything in your house for insurance purposes? Now’s a good time, if you haven’t already!
Make copies of your important documents and store them somewhere safe, things like your passport, social security cards, and credit cards. You can either store these copies in a fireproof safe in your home or electronically on a secure storage ‘cloud’ as scans. If these items are stolen while you are out of town, you’ll be able to electronically access your files from anywhere.
5. If you have sliding glass doors, wedge a wood block or stick in the door track for added security. Naturally, make sure all of your windows and doors are locked and secure.
6. Just because you’re away on vacation doesn’t mean your bills are! If you have bills due while you’re gone, go ahead and pay them before you leave.
7. Go through the fridge, chucking anything that will go bad while you’re gone. Empty the trash as well. There’s nothing worse than playing “Find That Stench” as soon as you walk in the door upon your return.
8. Sprinkle a little baking soda in your toilets and down your kitchen sink drain. This neutralizes the odor of stagnant water.
9. Unplug all appliances, such as your toaster, microwave, hair dryer, televisions, coffeemaker, etc. It’s no fun coming home to fried electronics if there was a severe thunderstorm while you were away! This is another money-saving tip. I do this to many appliances every day.
10.Consider purchasing an inexpensive surveillance camera that you can access via internet or smart phone.
For about $100, you can self-install a small camera to monitor your home, and by secure password and encryption, log in anytime to check on things. Features on some models include motion detection, snapshot email and more. If you don’t already have security monitoring for your home, this is a very affordable option.
By taking a few extra precautions before you leave for the beach, mountains, or lake, you can save yourself the headache of worrying the whole time you’re away. Enjoy your trip, and have fun!