12 Tips To Prepare Homes For Vacations

how to prepare home for vacations secure house travel safe trip

Vacations are a time to relax and escape from the stress of daily life. When you're miles from home, the last thing you want to worry about is the safety of your home. If you plan on taking a vacation, here are some simple tips on preparing your home for vacations

Lock Your Doors / Windows And Arm Your Home Security System 

This one is pretty obvious, but don't forget to lock your doors, bulkhead, and windows, and arm your home security system if you have one. The simplest mistakes are the ones you assume you or your spouse took care of. Think about the Home Alone movies, you don't want to forget the most obvious concerns while going on vacation! 

Don't Post Your Vacation Plans On Social Media Until After The Fact 

This goes right along with arming your home security system. So many people like to show off their vacation plans or create travel FOMO for their followers. The problem is that there are also unscrupulous people that could be following your social media feed, and many others, just waiting to learn about when people will be out of their house for an extended period of time. Thieves and burglars aren't always strangers either during desperate times. Try to restrain yourself to share your vacation photos after the fact so people don't know your house is defenseless.

Stop Your Newspaper And Mail Subscriptions For Long Trips

One sure sign of being absent from your home is a pile of newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mailbox in front of the house. Contact your newspaper delivery person and stop service while you're gone. You won't need your news when you're gone, and you can just look it up on your smartphone anyways these days. If you don't have a locked mailbox, contact the post office and have them hold your mail or let it go to a PO Box. You can also ask a trusted neighbor to collect mail, newspapers and deliveries and have him/her hold them for you until you're back. 

Park Your Car In The Garage If Possible 

The last thing you want is to get home from a vacation and have your car gone. If you can, park your car inside the garage, or have a family member park it at his/her house. You can also ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, making it look like someone is leaving each morning. But the one benefit of parking in the driveway is that it could make you appear to be home to potential unwanted visitors or burglars.

Put A Light On A Timer 

A dark house stands out in a neighborhood, especially when all the other homes are lit up. Before you leave, buy a timer and install it on a lamp in your home. It's also a good idea to install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight that will be triggered should someone walk by it. You can also ask a neighbor to turn on the front porch light in the evening. 

Mow Your Lawn Or Call Your Landscaper

Grass can grow pretty fast in two or three days. If you have a lawn, make sure it's trimmed before you embark on your trip. If you're going to be gone longer than a week, ask a family member or neighbor to cut the grass in the front yard while you're away. Some of these items are easily overlooked, but could cause major issues when you're away traveling. If you have a landscaper, then just make sure to give them a call. And water your plants as well, indoor and outdoor!

Unplug Small Appliances And Electronics 

Small appliances and electronics can be energy vampires when plugged in, and some are still active even when they look like they're turned off. Before you leave, homeowners should unplug those items that won't be used while you're gone (coffee makers, toasters, espresso machines, etc.). Unplugging helps to save money and also reduce risk of fire. It's also a good time to make sure all smoke detectors work properly throughout your home. 

Turn Down The Thermostat 

Your thermostat makes sure your home maintains a specific temperature throughout the day. Before you leave, set the thermostat to a lower temperature if the house is going to be empty. This will help conserve energy while you're gone and save money. 

If you do turn down the thermostat or air conditioning, be sure to keep your home at a temperature that will still protect plants, pets furniture, and your pipes to avoid them from freezing! 

Put The Water Heater In Vacation Mode 

Traditional water heaters heat water throughout the day, even when you're not using water. Before you head out on a vacation, put the heater in vacation mode. Check to see if your water heater has a VAC setting -- which is for vacations. If it doesn't, you can turn down the thermostat to the lowest setting. But don't stop at the water heater: turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and any sinks. The last thing you want to come home to is a flood in your house because a pipe broke or a hose burst. 

Clean Up The Kitchen And Trash

Before you leave it's always a good idea to clean out the fridge and dispose of anything that will go bad while you're gone. The sink can harbor things that cause bad smells -- run a half cup of vinegar and some water, or Liquid Plumber / Draino through the sinks and garbage disposal to alleviate any potential buildups, and make sure to take out any trash and recycling so you don't come home to a smelly house or one infested with animals. If you have a trusted neighbor, ask them to put your garbage, recycling or yard debris bins out on pickup day. Put out ant traps as well if that's a potential issue for your house. Hire a cleaning company if needed.

Leave Emergency Contact Information With Neighbors 

You may tell your family that you're heading out, but you should also let a neighbor know. Neighbors live near you and can be your first point of contact should something happen to your home while you're away. Let a trusted neighbor know you're going to be out of town -- provide them with information on where you're going, how long you'll be gone, and contact information for yourself and for family members in case of an emergency during your trip

Enjoy Your Trip! 

Now that you've prepared your home, it's time to enjoy your travels. Rest easy and relax knowing that your house is prepped and safe while you're away vacationing.

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