9 Bases to Cover before You Leave on Vacation

June 13, 2016

 
Over half the people in the country will be leaving home this summer for a new or frequented vacation destination. And we all know what that means; packing, booking, fine-tuning details, to-do lists, and checklists all come as part of preparing to have fun and relax. Much planning goes into getting ready for a trip, especially if you have children to pack for as well. By the time you have the last item in the car, your patience is spent and so is your energy. The much-needed vacation will feel that much more well-deserved before you back out of your garage.
 
Seemingly, 100 loose ends have to be tied up before you can hit the road, and the feeling you are forgetting something may not be just irrational paranoia. If you remembered to alert the company that leases your alarm system that you will be out of town for a while, you’ve at least covered one important base. Here are a few more items for your checklist before you fly the coop:
 

Get your water key

Unless you have plants that must be watered, you may want to consider shutting off your water while you are away. This way, if a pipe bursts you won’t return to an outrageous water bill and possibly extensive water damage.
 

Protect against power surges and unplug

We are entering the monsoon season and this is prime time for lightning strikes. Your desktop computer and other valuable electronics could be a target without a surge protector if a bolt of lightning hits just the right area. You can also turn the strip off if you really don’t need to leave your electronics plugged in. Don’t forget to unplug small appliances. This will reduce the possibility of electrical fires while you are away.
 

Set the thermostat

The contents of your home, especially certain house plants and fragile electronics, need temperature regulation. You can save money and set your thermostat at a comfortable “away” temperature of about 80 degrees. This will also prevent coming home to a stifling house!
 

Water heater

Many homeowners forget to add this to the checklist of items to accomplish before taking off. Set your water heater to a “vacation” setting, and reduce the dial to the lowest setting. This way, you can avoid wasting electricity or gas to heat water no one will be using.
 

Retrieve hidden keys

If you are one to lock yourself out, no doubt you have the hidey-hole where you keep a spare. Remember to take all those spares out of hiding, leaving none at all upon your departure since burglars know all the best hiding places for spare keys.
 

Halt mail or sit someone in

It’s a dead giveaway to burglars that you are gone for a while if your mailbox is overflowing with mail and newspapers pile up in the driveway. Put in a request with the post office to hold all mail and packages until you return by using this link: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/.
 
If someone regularly sends you packages, inform them that you will not be around to pick them up. If you want to keep activity humming around your home, consider having a trusted person to stay and housesit and continue to keep your mail and papers coming.
 

Reinforce entryways

All your doors and windows should be secured with a lock or deadbolt. Check to make sure that you’ve place a pole in the track of sliding glass doors to help prevent forced entry.
 

Obscure indoor views

Dishonest take-a-lookers will scope out the premises to see if there’s anything to loot when they suspect the owners are away. While you want your home to look as natural as possible and not give clues that you are out, you want to make sure onlookers cannot see the contents of your home, especially if you have valuable works of art or expensive electronics inside. At least for the front of your home, you can draw your blinds to obstruct the view.
 

Don’t share your whereabouts

Yes, it’s very tempting to express your excitement about taking your trip, but social media “friends” may not be so trustworthy. Resist posting comments about taking a vacation, sharing photos, or checking in to places in real-time. Upload all your memorable moments when you get back from your trip.


 

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