The lead-up to a vacation is usually a time filled with last-minute trip planning as well as bookings and reading packings tips online, especially in the COVID-19 era of travel where a recent study has shown travelers are eager and quite spontaneous. It’s so easy to get swept up in organizing the many vacation-related matters that come up that most of us forget to take care of matters regarding the very place we’re leaving—our houses. While it would be nice to just up and go, there are certain tasks that need to be taken care of.
Doing so will ensure that you can completely relax on your holiday, roadtrip or upcoming summer vacation to a popular destination. After all, you don’t want to worry about uninvited guests or whether you switched off the stove when you’re by the poolside! If you don’t know how to prepare your house before setting off, take a read of our guide below.
Turn Off Any Appliances, Faucets, & Switches
This first tip might sound obvious, but we all know the panic of trying to remember whether we properly turned off this, or flicked the switch off that. It’s an awful feeling which you certainly don’t want to have while you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. That’s why it is vital to switch off or close all appliances, faucets, and switches. And make sure to check your water filters, too!
It’ll give you the peace of mind while you’re away, and reduce the chances of a disaster occurring. Plus, given you won’t be using these utilities while you’re away, switching or closing them will help to save on electricity costs too. To make matters simpler, use a checklist to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
Additionally, you might consider doing a bit of cleaning or hiring professional cleaning services. If you’re a DIY person, then get yourself a decent vacuum cleaner and get to work on your place! You won’t regret it when returning home to a clean place via house cleaning services.
You want to make sure you handle everything before leaving, as it would be a shame to have to let your landlord know they need to check on several types of landlord insurance because something broke at your place.
Let Your Neighbors Know
When you’re away from your home, you won’t be able to conveniently check that nothing is amiss. That’s why Molly Hoyer from Travel Enthusiast recommends asking your neighbors for a helping hand. “If you’re going away for any longer than a day or two, it’s a good idea to inform your neighbors,” Hoyer says. “Let them know how long you’ll be gone for and politely ask them if they’ll give a glance over at your house every so often to see that nothing is astray.” You’ll find that most neighbors won’t mind, and some will even be willing to go the extra mile by doing simple tasks like taking in your mail.
If they do agree to help out, don’t forget to pick them a little thank you gift on your travels! So what should you do if you don’t know your neighbors too well? Or if you feel uncomfortable with asking for their help? You’ll find out in our next tip…
Get Someone to Check on the House
It’s a good idea—whether you have neighbors helping you out or not—to ask a friend or family member to occasionally visit and check over your house. That’s if you’re not renting your property out while you’re away of course. Ask them, like you would your neighbor, to check on its state whenever possible. If they can, ask them to send you a quick message after they’ve checked everything over to let you know there’s nothing to report on. You may even want to give them the keys to your house so they can check that everything indoors is also fine.
Again, it’s a good idea to ask (if your neighbor won’t already) to take in your mail. A stuffed mailbox is a clear sign to opportunistic burglars that your house is unoccupied. If you’re going for a particularly long time, you may also want to ask them to tend to your garden, as this is another key sign. If you can’t find anyone to do these things, it will pay to hire someone to do these things for you, so no one will be none the wiser that you’re living it up elsewhere. And when in doubt, make sure you have a pre-emptive maintenance plan in place.
BONUS TIP: If you have trouble and need someone to enter without having a key to your place, you can always check with a lock replacement service to see if you can get a new lock and key while you’re away.
Organize a Pet Sitter
Those of us with pets will know that they usually take up a lot of our headspace. But somehow, when trip planning is on our minds, even our pets can take a backseat. Which brings us to an important question: If you’re not bringing your pet along, have you organized for someone to take care of them? This is certainly not something you can leave to the last minute. If you’re asking a friend or loved one to mind them, most will need to know well in advance to plan accordingly. Pet sitting services can be expensive, so such an arrangement will be most ideal for your wallet.
You’ll also need to stock up on supplies like food, and make sure you leave any important contacts like your pet’s vet handy. If you have a dog, you’ll also need to put their leash out. Finally, you’ll need to give your pet sitter specific instructions on how to take care of your pet. No two pets’ needs are the same, so taking the time to inform them in person, or better still, with written instructions too, will make things run much smoother.