You’ve worked hard all year. Your much-awaited vacation is almost here. Before pulling the front door closed behind you, stop and take appropriate measures to assure your time away includes a heaping helping of peace-of-mind. As I’ve traveled, I’ve developed a system of steps I take prior to a trip so hopefully, things are in good shape upon returning home. Here are 15 helpful tips to prepare your house for summer vacations.
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#1 Stop Mail and Or Newspaper Delivery
These days, it’s simple arranging to have mail delivery paused while you’re away from home. The USPS website lets you schedule the date to stop delivery and the date to resume delivery. You can also choose how you’d like your accumulated mail to be delivered once you’re back. Easy-peasy. There’s really no need for mail or newspapers accumulating and signaling to the world nobody’s home.
#2 Set The Thermostat To Save $
Yes! It’s possible to save a bit of money while you’re off spending on your summer holiday. A higher setting on the thermostat is a smart idea. Set the dial somewhere between 80-85 degrees so you’re not cooling an empty house. Moreover, if you know when you’ll return and you have a programmable thermostat, program the temperature to cool off just prior to your arrival. It’s really no sweat.
#3 Turn Off The Main Water Supply
If you don’t want to turn off the main water source, at least turn-off water on big appliances. There’s nothing worse than getting that call from a neighbor back home informing you there’s water running down your driveway! By the time someone’s discovered, there’s a water leak inside, it’s usually already on the outside. I just heard another horror story of someone’s hot water heater in the attic leaking while they were away. When the neighbor got inside, they found the upstairs ceiling had collapsed into the kitchen. Ugh! What a nightmare!
#4 Unplug Small Appliances
Consider unplugging small appliances while you’re enjoying summer vacation. Naturally, you’ll keep the fridge plugged in, but why not take steps to protect other devices? Summertime power surges and lightning strikes have the potential of frying electronics left plugged in. Since you’re not there to use them anyway, pull the plug and boost the energy savings while you’re gone.
#5 Time Your Lights
Sometimes all it takes is a simple gadget to give the appearance someone is home. By setting your lights on a timer, the house looks lived-in and that’s a huge deterrent to anyone looking to prey on vacationers while they’re away.
#6 Take Out The Trash
Remember to take out the trash! Sure, this is a no-brainer. However, it’s safe assuming at one time or another we’ve all forgotten to empty the bins before leaving. The result is terribly malodorous. Look inside the fridge too and toss out any potential science experiments waiting to happen.
#7 Open Closet Doors
Leaving closets open while you’re gone prevents clothing from getting a stale, musty aroma. I like this one because it’s easy to do. Especially since a number of the folks living in my house have a tough time closing closet doors, anyway. 🙂
#8 Check Your Social Posting
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat… This is a vacation, let’s share our photographs! Not so fast. You may want to think twice before letting the world know nobody’s home. Always think safety first before divulging any information on social media, but especially when your house is empty.
#9 Park The Car In The Garage
Keep your vehicle safe and protected from the elements by parking it in the garage. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, you may want a friend to start it occasionally or take necessary measures for long-term vehicle storage.
#10 Blinds Up Or Down?
I’ve heard several theories on this one. Leave them up? Leave them down? My best practice is to leave them the way I usually leave them while I’m home.
#11 Lock Doors & Windows
Locking the doors and windows seems so obvious, but it’s often overlooked in our frenzy to depart. Double check before leaving. You’ll be glad you did. It’s also a good idea to leave a spare key with a relative or trusted neighbor, just in case.
#12 Cut The Grass
Letting the grass grow knee-high will definitely tip-off passersby that nobody’s home. Cut the grass just prior to leaving so it’s neatly groomed while you’re gone. If your vacation is going to be a week or two long, make sure you’ve made arrangements to have the lawn mowed while you’re away.
#13 Take Pictures
Take pictures of your home before leaving?
Yes. This can help you in the event somebody does break in. You’ll have pictures of your valuables should you need to provide photos for law enforcement or insurance. Hopefully, you’ll never need to worry about this, but better safe than sorry, right?
#14 Clean House
I know. I know. Cleaning?
This one sounds counterintuitive. You’re going on summer vacation for a break from the usual chores. Nonetheless, this is one of the best ways to prepare your house for summer vacations. There’s nothing worse than returning in a jovial mood only to have the joy sapped away upon walking into a mess. A clean house lets you keep that cheerful summer vacation attitude going a little longer.
#15 The Good Neighbor Policy
It’s always a good idea to let a trusted neighbor know when you’re traveling. Have your neighbor keep an eye on things for you and you can reciprocate when it’s their turn to take a summer vacation.
House Checklist Before Vacation
Finally, I’m a huge proponent of making lists. A checklist is the ultimate pre-trip organizational tool. Check-off these items as you accomplish them to help guarantee nothing is overlooked.
Employing these 15 tips to prepare your house for summer vacations can help provide peace-of-mind and may prevent post-vacation hassles. Once pre-travel tasks are completed; depart, have fun, and may your summer vacation be worry-free.
What are some of your pre-vacation house prep measures? Let me know in the comments below and have a safe and happy summer vacation!
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