Getting ready for your long-awaited vacation is probably an exciting, busy time. That’s because you still have your nine-to-five job, you still have to pack, and you still have to research your final destination to make sure you get the most out of your special vacation.
While you’re busy focusing on where you’re heading, it’s easy to forget about what you’re leaving: home sweet home.
And to make sure you’ll have a welcoming place to come back to, here are 19 steps to prepare your home before going on vacation.
Arrange to Have Timed Lamps
The key to keeping potential burglars at bay is to make sure your home looks like it’s lived in, no matter how long you’re away. A good way to do this is by purchasing timed lamps and lighting fixtures, both in and outside your home.
But don’t coordinate them to light up at the same time every day or night. Instead, arrange for them to turn on and off at random. This appears more natural and much less staged.
Have Timers for Your Radios and TV’s
The same goes for your radios and TV’s – appliances that most adults use, especially at the end of a long work day. So, arrange for your sounding appliances to fill the house with your favorite news shows, podcasts or sitcoms.
Make Mail Arrangements
Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean the postman is. So, ask your friends, family or trusted neighbor to collect your mail on a daily basis. If this isn’t a feasible option, contact your local Post Office and ask them to hold your mail for you until you get back.
Whether you have dogs, cats, fishes or even snakes, be sure they’ll be well provided for while you’re away. Friends or family, or even hired help can walk, wash and feed your pets. And that’s just the bare necessities.
Having social interaction helps your pets stay happy while you’re gone. Having someone checking in on your pets also prevents any accidents from going unnoticed for too long. Think: bathroom accidents, spills, etc.
Pool Parties are Allowed
To keep your home looking lively, offer your yard, pool, and hot tub to your trusted friends or family. Who would think to break in while there’s a barbecue on the patio?
Invite Your Neighbor to Leave Their Trash at the End of Your Driveway
Depending on your travel arrangements, you probably won’t have any trash or recycling to put out while you’re away. This can look a little suspicious to potential burglars.
So, invite your friends to leave some of their trash and recycling bits at the end of your driveway. It’s probably the only time you’ll want other people’s junk!
Share Your Itinerary in Person, Not on Facebook
People will know what airport you’re checking in and out of, where you’re headed and what a great time you’re having on social media if you share it there.
Consider keeping this information private and only sharing it personally with people you trust.
Let Your Security Company and Police Department Know
Having security and alarms systems are great, but by giving them a head’s up, they can be more sensitive to any unusual activity. You can also check in with your police department and ask them to drive by several times per week to ensure that things are okay.
No matter where you go, no one wants to come home to a pile of dirty dishes. And if you’re going away for a long time, those dishes are going to smell and be hard to clean when you return. Wash them and put them away before you leave!
If possible, leave a car in the driveway. If you don’t have an extra vehicle, invite your neighbor to leave theirs in your driveway.
If you’re away for a while, hire a landscaping company, or a responsible teenager down the road to mow your lawn and tend to your gardens while you’re away.
Leave Windows as They Usually Are
You might think it’s best to close all your blinds and curtains, but this screams, “I’m not home!” So, don’t be afraid to leave them open, or partially open.
Empty Your Garbage
No one wants to come home to a kitchen (or home!) smelling like old dinners and diapers. Empty all your garbage, and consider leaving potpourri out on the table to keep the air fresh and light.
Ask your friend to water your indoor plants, and leave them a treat as a way to say, “Thank you!”
Try Wi-Fi Cameras
Even with a security system in place, you might still want to keep an eye on your home. Consider installing an affordable wi-fi camera, which you can easily watch by using an app, even while you’re tanning on some far-away beach.
I know, I know. You were in a mad rush to get everything ready before you left for vacation, but don’t leave dirty and/or wet laundry around. Not only does this smell terrible, but you could ruin your clothes, too. If you’re pressed for time, take your dirty clothes to the nearest laundry mat.
Continue Cleaning Services
It’s true. Your house may not get dirty while you’re gone, unless you’ve welcome lots of people to spend time there, and/or you have pets. Nonetheless, keep your housecleaner coming. Remember, normalcy is key to preventing break-ins!
Detox Your Fridge
There’s no reason why food has to sit in your fridge while you’re away unless you’ve filled it up especially for house sitters, etc. Otherwise, toss perishables so you don’t come home to soured or moldy items.
Don’t Leave Your Spare Key Under the Flower Pot
By now, most of us are aware that the “secret” spare key is usually under the flower pot or porch mat. When you’re still living at home, that spare key can hang out there. But if you’re thousands of miles away, why not keep that key inside, or give it to a trusted friend or family member who’s going to be watching the house for you?
You deserve to have the best vacation, and by preparing your home with these 19 simple steps, you can.
Plus, preparing your home before you leave is a great way to clean up, detox, and create fun opportunities for other people to feel at home in your home.