The Ultimate Pre-Vacation Checklist for Homeowners
As a homeowner, you probably already know that you can’t leave for vacation until you’re sure that things are in order with your property. In order to make the process a little easier, we’ve created the ultimate pre-vacation checklist. Use this the next time you want to get out of town to make sure that you can come back to a house that is well taken care of.
7 things you need on your pre-vacation checklist
1. Make arrangements for your pets
First and foremost, if you have pets, the most important thing that you need to do is to make sure that they are well taken care of while you are away. If you have a cat, this process should be relatively easy. If you’re only going away for a few days, you can simply leave out some extra food for them. However, if you’re going away for more than the weekend, you may want to have somebody stopping to feed them each day.
On the other hand, if you have a dog, the process gets a little bit more complicated. Usually, where dogs are concerned, the best bet is to either have someone house sit for you or to board them while you’re gone. At the very least, you will need to have somebody stop by the house a few times a day to walk them and leave out food.
2. Arrange for mail and newspaper pickup.
In addition, you should also consider having somebody stop by to pick up your mail and your newspaper for you. Unfortunately, piles of mail or newspapers that have gone uncollected can be a sure sign to burglars that no one is home. Having someone who is responsible for collecting these items each day will help lower your chances of becoming the victim of a break-in, so this is an important item to add to your pre-vacation checklist.
Fortunately, if you’re leaving pets at home, you can simply ask whoever it’s caring for them to take on this task. That said, if no one is going to be stopping by your home on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to ask your next-door neighbor. That way, you will easily be able to collect these items once you return home. Just be sure to bring them a little gift as thanks for keeping an eye on the place while you were away.
If this all sounds too complicated, you can always put a hold on your mail with the USPS while you’re away and call your newspaper to stop delivery during that time period.
3. Put your lights on a timer.
The next thing you’ll want to do is to put your lights on a timer. Again, a consistently dark house can be a signal that no one is home. Although keeping certain lights on a timer might add a little bit to your electricity bill, it should be worth it to keep your home safe.
In this case, not every light needs to go on a timer. You should simply concentrate on those lights that can be seen from the street. One light in the front and in the back of your house should be sufficient. As far as how to make it happen, you can get a timer from your local home improvement store and you should set it to come on just a little bit before sunset each night.
4. Set your thermostat.
While you’re looking at your pre-vacation checklist and setting things on timers, you should also think about setting your thermostat. The US. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to at least 55 degrees in the winter in order to prevent your pipes from freezing during a cold spell. However, during the summer, you can turn the system off. If you don’t want to do that, you can set it to 85 degrees.
5. Water your plants.
Once everything is set, the next thing to do on your pre-vacation checklist is to water your plants. Again, if you’re only going away for a few days, you may be able to get away with just giving them one good watering before you go. That said, if you’re going away for more than the weekend, you’re going to want to have somebody stop by to water them on a schedule.
6. Consider shutting off your water.
Right before you leave, you may want to consider shutting off your water. You won’t be able to do this if you are leaving pets at home or if you are having somebody come to water your plants. However, in the event that no one is stopping by, doing so can help you from accruing damage in the event of a surprise flood. You’ll just have to remember to turn it back on before using the water when you return.
7. Lock all the doors.
Lastly, double-check to make sure that you’ve locked all the doors. If you have a home security system, you’re going to want to arm them as well. Still, in either case, it’s a good idea to leave somebody close by with a spare key in case you lose your keys or get locked out upon your return.