Here are some smart “insider tips” from industry professionals and everyday travelers we interviewed that cover the preparation of your home while you are on vacation.
The House: Main Rooms
- Have a friend, family member or trusted neighbor check on your house.
- Give the person your house keys and security codes (if necessary).
WHN TIP – Take in the Paper: If you’re going on a short trip, ask a friend or family member to take in the papers. Your house should look occupied while you’re gone.
- Empty the refrigerator of anything that might spoil – dairy, meat, and produce – and adjust the temperature to a lower setting.
- Unplug small appliances: toaster, coffeemaker, toaster oven, other small appliances.
- Unplug personal appliances: blow dryer, curling or flat irons, toothbrush chargers, shavers, other electrical appliances you’re not taking with you.
- Laundry room
- Unplug the iron.
- Be sure your dryer ducts are properly covered (so squirrels don’t come in).
- Shut off the water to the washer.
- Bedroom and den
- Unplug TVs, radios, computers.
- Shredders (This protects them from power surges if there’s a storm while you’re gone.)
WHN TIP – Not unplugging electronics? Make sure your surge protectors are properly installed.
The Rest Of The House
- Set automatic light and radio timers.
- Leave shades or drapes as you normally do. This will make your house look lived-in.
- Put your valuables and jewelry in a safety deposit box or safe.
WHN TIP – Protect Your Valuables: If you don’t have a safe or safety deposit box, put jewelry/valuables in a nondescript cardboard box in a closet, under a sink, pantry, etc.. Why? Thieves won’t think to look there.
- Empty trash cans.
- Be sure all candles and fireplaces are OUT.
- Lock all doors and windows including basement and garage.
- Bring in the last deliveries of mail or newspapers.
WHN TIP – No Mail: If you stop the newspaper and mail, have a friend or neighbor check your mailbox – sometimes it may take a day or two AFTER you’ve left for your request to take effect.
- Pick up any toys, tools, objects, ladders, etc. that might be in your yard.
- Check outdoor electronics (hot tubs, fountains, lights) to be sure they are either off or on ‘economy’ (this depends on how long you will be gone).
WHN TIP – Thanks, Neighbor! If it snows where you live, keep your driveway plowed when you’re gone – it will look like you’re home. Extra tip? Have your neighbor drive in and out of the plowed driveway; the tire tracks will make it look like you’re home.
Reconfirm all reservations and confirmation numbers.
- Hotel: Reconfirmed – Date of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
- Airplane: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Date of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
- Car Rental: Reconfirmed – Date of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
- Train: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Date of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
- Driving to your vacation destination? Call ahead and reconfirm: Your Arrival – Date/Time of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirming (and printing) route you’re planning to take
- Other: Reconfirmed – Date of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Email Confirmations Printed
- Re-evaluate itinerary.
- Make any necessary changes. Leave a final copy with a friend, family member or trusted neighbor.
WHN TIP – At the Office: Leave your itinerary with a co-worker. Why? Often the first sign that something may be wrong is when someone doesn’t show up at work when they are due back.
- Check the weather for your destination(s). Take out or add items to your luggage, if necessary.
- Make arrangements to get to (and from!) the airport.
- Double-check that you have all necessary tickets, passports, photo I.D.s, money, cameras, mobile devices, medicine and all bags ON YOUR PERSON.
WHN TIP – Currency Exchange as You Go: Flying to a foreign country? Convert some money before you go so when you land at the airport you have pocket change.
- Just as you’re leaving – double-check that all doors and windows are locked.
- Have fun!
Photo Credit: PhotoMIX-Company