What Steps Should I Take To Prepare My Home For A Long Vacation?

Are you planning a long vacation and wondering how to ensure your home is prepared while you’re away? Taking steps to get your home ready for an extended absence can provide you with peace of mind and help prevent any unwelcome surprises upon your return. From securing your valuables to setting up timers for your lights, this article will guide you through the necessary precautions to ensure your home remains safe and secure during your time away.

Secure your home

Lock all doors

Before leaving for your long vacation, it is crucial to double-check that all doors in your home are securely locked. This includes not only the front and back doors but also any side doors or entrance points. Make sure all locks are functioning properly, and if necessary, consider upgrading your locks to more secure options. By taking this simple precaution, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your home.

Secure windows and sliding doors

In addition to locking your doors, it is equally important to secure your windows and sliding doors. Ensure that all windows are properly closed and locked, and consider reinforcing them with window bars or security film for added protection. Sliding doors should have a strong lock mechanism and can also benefit from additional measures like placing a rod or dowel in the track to prevent them from being forced open. Taking these measures will deter potential burglars and further enhance the security of your home.

Install a security system

Investing in a reliable security system is one of the most effective ways to protect your home while you are away. There are various options to choose from, including professionally monitored systems or DIY options. A comprehensive security system typically includes door and window sensors, motion detectors, surveillance cameras, and a control panel. The presence of a security system alone acts as a deterrent to burglars, and if an intrusion occurs, authorities can be promptly alerted. Be sure to properly set up and test your security system before leaving for your vacation.

Set up timers for lights and electronics

Leaving your home completely dark for an extended period can signal to potential thieves that no one is around. To create the illusion of an occupied home, consider setting up timers for lights and electronics. By programming your lights and other devices to turn on and off at different times throughout the day, you can mimic a regular living pattern. This simple but effective tactic can make your home appear lived-in and greatly reduce the risk of burglary. Additionally, installing motion sensor lights outdoors can also deter any unwanted activity during the night.

Manage your mail and deliveries

Put a hold on mail and newspaper delivery

An overflowing mailbox and a pile of newspapers scattered around your doorstep can indicate that you are away for an extended period. To prevent this, contact your local postal service in advance and request a hold on your mail delivery. This service allows your mail to be held at the post office until you return, avoiding any accumulation in your mailbox. Similarly, contact your newspaper provider and suspend newspaper delivery temporarily. By taking these steps, you can avoid giving away any signs of an empty home.

Arrange for package deliveries

If you are expecting any packages to be delivered during your vacation, it is important to make appropriate arrangements. Consider contacting the delivery companies and rescheduling the deliveries for a time when you will be back home. Alternatively, you can arrange for the packages to be delivered to a trusted neighbor or held at a local delivery center for pickup. Taking these precautions ensures that your packages do not accumulate on your porch, which could attract unwanted attention.

Ask a neighbor to collect flyers and packages

Even with mail and package arrangements in place, there may still be the occasional flyer or unexpected delivery left at your doorstep. To prevent these items from piling up and signaling your absence, reach out to a trustworthy neighbor and ask them to collect any flyers or packages that may be left at your door. This simple task can help maintain the appearance of an occupied home and provide an extra layer of security.

What Steps Should I Take To Prepare My Home For A Long Vacation?

This image is property of images.unsplash.com.

Turn off and unplug appliances

Empty the refrigerator and freezer

Before embarking on your long vacation, it is wise to empty out your refrigerator and freezer to avoid any unpleasant surprises upon your return. Dispose of any perishable items that may spoil while you are away and consider donating any non-perishable items you won’t consume before leaving. By emptying these appliances, you not only prevent potential odors but also save energy by not leaving them running unnecessarily.

Turn off water heater

To further minimize energy consumption and prevent any potential disasters, remember to turn off your water heater before your vacation. Most modern water heaters have a vacation mode or an “off” setting specifically designed for this purpose. By turning off your water heater, you not only conserve energy but also reduce the risk of any malfunctions or leaks occurring while you are away.

Unplug appliances and electronics

While appliances and electronics in standby mode may not consume much energy, it is still advisable to unplug them before leaving for your vacation. Not only does this contribute to energy savings, but it also eliminates the risk of electrical surges or short circuits due to power fluctuations. Take the time to go through your home and unplug devices such as televisions, computers, kitchen appliances, and chargers. This small effort can provide peace of mind and reduce the chances of any electrical mishaps.

Clean your home

Clean and vacuum all areas

Before departing for your vacation, give your home a thorough cleaning. Dust surfaces, vacuum carpets and rugs, and mop floors to eliminate any accumulated dirt and allergens. Pay special attention to areas that are often overlooked, such as behind and underneath furniture. By starting your vacation with a clean home, you ensure a more pleasant return and reduce the risk of pests or odors developing in your absence.

Wash bed sheets and towels

Part of preparing your home for an extended vacation includes freshening up your bed sheets and towels. Laundering these items and making your bed with clean sheets will create a more inviting environment upon your return. It is also advisable to air out your bedding and towels before storing them to prevent any musty odors from developing while you are away.

Empty trash cans

Emptying all trash cans in your home is another essential step in preparing for your vacation. Dispose of any waste and ensure that there are no food scraps or perishable items left behind. A clean and odor-free living space not only ensures a more comfortable return but also minimizes the risk of attracting pests.

What Steps Should I Take To Prepare My Home For A Long Vacation?

This image is property of images.unsplash.com.

Manage your utilities

Adjust the thermostat

Before leaving for your long vacation, it is important to adjust the thermostat in your home to ensure energy efficiency. During the summer months, set the temperature higher to reduce cooling costs, while in the winter, set it lower to conserve heat. Find a balance that keeps your home at a temperature that minimizes energy consumption without causing extreme discomfort. Additionally, consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on your preferred schedule.

Turn off unnecessary water supply

To prevent any potential leaks or water-related accidents while you are away, it is advisable to turn off the unnecessary water supply in your home. This can include shutting off the main water valve or individual valves for appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. By taking this precautionary step, you can minimize the risk of plumbing issues and water damage during your absence.

Turn off lights and fans

Not only is it important to turn off unnecessary lights and fans in your home to save energy, but it also helps maintain the appearance of an occupied property. Leaving lights or fans on throughout your vacation can signal that your house is unoccupied, potentially attracting unwanted attention. Prior to leaving, ensure that all non-essential lights and fans are turned off, and consider installing timers or smart switches to automate their operation.

Prepare your garden and yard

Mow the lawn

Before heading off on your long vacation, take the time to mow your lawn. A well-maintained lawn not only increases the curb appeal of your home but also gives the impression that someone is actively taking care of the property. If your vacation will be a lengthy one, consider arranging for someone to mow the lawn periodically to keep it looking tidy and prevent it from becoming overgrown.

Trim plants and hedges

In addition to mowing the lawn, trim any plants and hedges in your garden or yard. Overgrown foliage can give the impression that a property is neglected, potentially attracting the attention of would-be intruders. By ensuring that your plants and hedges are neatly trimmed before you leave, you contribute to the overall appearance of an occupied and well-maintained home.

Arrange for watering if needed

If you have potted plants or a garden that requires regular watering, make appropriate arrangements before you depart. Consider installing an automatic irrigation system or asking a trusted neighbor or friend to water your plants while you are away. Proper hydration for your plants not only keeps them healthy and vibrant but also maintains the appearance of a lived-in home.

What Steps Should I Take To Prepare My Home For A Long Vacation?

This image is property of images.unsplash.com.

Inform trusted neighbors and friends

Provide contact information and emergency numbers

Before leaving for your vacation, it is important to inform trusted neighbors and friends about your plans. Share your contact information and the dates you will be away, and provide them with any necessary emergency numbers. This way, they can reach you in case of an urgent situation or keep you informed about any unusual activity around your property.

Ask them to keep an eye on your property

Request that your neighbors and friends keep a watchful eye on your property during your absence. This can include reporting any suspicious activity, picking up any unexpected deliveries or flyers, and ensuring that everything appears normal. The presence of an attentive neighbor can greatly deter potential burglaries and provide an extra level of security for your home.

Give them spare keys if necessary

If you trust your neighbors or friends implicitly, you may consider giving them spare keys to your home. This can be beneficial in case of an emergency, such as a water leak or a power outage, where someone needs access to your property. However, exercise caution and ensure that you only share spare keys with individuals you completely trust.

Secure valuable items

Lock away jewelry and important documents

Before leaving for an extended vacation, take the necessary measures to secure your valuable items. Lock away jewelry, important documents, and any other high-value possessions in a safe or a locked cabinet. By keeping these items out of sight and securely stored, you significantly reduce the risk of theft or loss in the event of a break-in.

Store valuable items in a safe deposit box

An alternative option for safeguarding valuable items is to store them in a safe deposit box. Many banks offer these secure storage facilities for their customers’ peace of mind. Items such as passports, insurance policies, valuable jewelry, and sentimental objects can be stored in a safe deposit box until your return. Contact your bank to inquire about their safe deposit box services and the associated fees.

Consider taking valuable items with you

If you are particularly concerned about the safety of your valuable items, another option to consider is taking them with you on your vacation. While this may not be practical for all items, taking portable and highly valuable possessions such as jewelry, small electronics, or important documents with you eliminates the risk of theft from your home. Just remember to keep them secure throughout your journey.

Document your belongings

Take photos or make a list of your belongings

Before leaving for your vacation, it is a good idea to document your belongings. Take photos or create a detailed list of your valuable items, including serial numbers, descriptions, and estimated values. This documentation can be valuable in the event of theft or loss, as it provides evidence and facilitates insurance claims. Store this information in a secure location, such as a cloud storage service or a safe deposit box.

Keep important documents in a safe place

In addition to documenting your belongings, it is essential to keep important documents in a safe place. This includes passports, insurance policies, property deeds, and any other legal or financial documents that are difficult to replace. Consider investing in a fireproof and waterproof safe or storing these documents in a secure location outside of your home. By protecting these important documents, you ensure that your personal information and assets remain safe even in the event of a disaster.

Ensure you have insurance coverage

Before embarking on your long vacation, review your insurance coverage to ensure that you are adequately protected. Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to confirm that it includes coverage for theft, damage, and liability. Additionally, consider purchasing specialized insurance for high-value items or consulting with your insurance provider to ensure that you have sufficient coverage while you are away. Having appropriate insurance coverage brings peace of mind and protects you against potential financial losses.

Arrange for pet and plant care

Find a pet sitter or boarding facility

If you have pets, it is important to make appropriate arrangements for their care while you are away. Consider hiring a professional pet sitter or boarding your pets at a trusted facility. Research and choose a reputable individual or establishment that aligns with your pet’s specific needs. Provide detailed instructions on feeding, exercise, medication, and any other important aspects to ensure your furry friends are well taken care of in your absence.

Provide detailed care instructions

Whether you have pets or plants, providing detailed care instructions is essential in ensuring their well-being while you are on vacation. Leave clear guidelines for feeding schedules, medication administration, and any specific care requirements for your pets. For plants, clearly communicate watering schedules, sunlight needs, and any other necessary information to ensure their health. Open lines of communication with your pet sitter or plant caretaker to address any questions or concerns they may have.

Ask someone to water your plants

If you have indoor or outdoor plants that require regular watering, ask a trusted individual to take care of this task for you. Provide them with clear instructions on how much water each plant needs and how often it should be watered. Consider setting up a watering schedule or investing in self-watering systems to simplify the process. By ensuring that your plants receive the necessary care, you can return to a healthy and vibrant garden.

In conclusion, preparing your home for a long vacation requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the outlined steps, you can ensure the security of your home, protect your valuable items, and maintain the appearance of an occupied property. Taking the time to secure your home, manage deliveries, clean and manage utilities, prepare your garden, inform trusted neighbors, secure valuable items, document belongings, and arrange for pet and plant care are all essential aspects of a comprehensive home preparation plan. By implementing these measures, you can enjoy a worry-free vacation knowing that your home and belongings are well taken care of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *