As much as you love your home, it’s nice to get away every now and then. But just because you’re going on vacation, doesn’t mean your home takes a break, too.
To keep things running smoothly, you need to properly prepare for being away. As you pack your bags, don’t forget to add these 10 home prep tasks to your pre-vacation to-do list to ensure your vacation is relaxing and worry-free (from home concerns, at least!).
1. Notify a Neighbor
It’s a good idea to notify a neighbor you trust that you’ll be away from home so they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and potentially water your plants and take in any mail, packages, and newspapers so they don’t pile up while you’re away. If you don’t know your neighbors very well, you can always ask a close friend or relative to do the same.
Alternatively, you can always call your local post office and/or news carrier to put a pause on delivery until you return.
2. Take Out the Trash (and don’t neglect trash day!)
Be sure to take out the trash from your home before you leave to prevent being hit with a foul smell upon walking back in the door after your vacation. Additionally, ask a friend or neighbor to take out your bins on trash day to avoid accumulating a lot of trash while you’re away, as well as showing an appearance that you are home.
3. Clean Out Your Fridge
The last thing you want to return home to is a smelly fridge! While condiments and items with a longer shelf life should be fine (depending on how long you’ll be gone), perishable items that will spoil while you’re away should be tossed.
4. Invest in Timers for Lights
If you’ll only be gone for a night, you can simply leave a few lamps on throughout the home so it appears occupied. If you’ll be gone any longer, consider investing in a few automatic timers that can turn lights on and off at night and early morning hours, making your house look occupied to deter potential burglars.
5. Install Motion Activated Lights
If you don’t have them already, installing motion activated sensor lights outdoors can help ward off potential intruders during darker hours.
6. Check Your Smoke Detectors
Give yourself some peace-of-mind by checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before you leave in case an emergency occurs while you’re gone.
7. Unplug Devices
Go around your home and unplug small appliances – like the coffee machine, toaster, microwave, etc. – and any smaller electronics – phone chargers, televisions, lamps that won’t be in use – to conserve energy while you’re away.
8. Mow the Lawn
Believe it or not, an unkempt lawn is one of the first indicators potential burglars look for to see if a home is vacant. Before you head out, give the lawn a mowing, trim your bushes, and water your outdoor plants to maintain curb appeal and repel potential thieves.
9. Set Your Thermostat
To conserve energy (and keep bills low!) when you’re not at home for an extended period of time, set your thermostat to a temperature closer to outside temps (warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter).
10. Lock Up
Give your door and window locks a thorough check before heading on vacation. Ensure windows are locked and doors are bolted – it could mean the difference between a safe home and a break-in.
If you have a home security system, be sure it’s armed before you leave. It’s also a good idea to notify your alarm company of your departure so they can help you monitor your home’s security while you’re away, and act upon any strange activity.
By following these pre-vacation tasks, you’re helping to mitigate the risks of break ins and potential accidents while you’re away, and preparing yourself for a hassle-free return home.