45% of Americans take a summer vacation, and the average distance they they travel one way from home is 284 miles.
Now, you might think traveling 300 miles away from home really isn’t that far. You’re right, but unfortunately when you’re away from your home for an extended time, things can happen. The key is being prepared for these events. Whether you’re a long time homeowner or a new homeowner, check out my vacation tips and get prepared before your next out-of-town adventure.
Preparation: Vacation Tips For A Homeowner
I have good insurance to cover me in case of a home disaster. I’m sure you do, too. But, let’s face it, we would still rather not come home to a flooded basement or a burglarized house. Use these vacation tips for your home to avoid a post-vacation disaster.
Make Sure Your Home Doesn’t Look Empty
Burglars tend to look for the easy targets or low-hanging fruit when attempting to burglarize a property. In a few easy steps, you can decrease the likelihood of a burglary.
- Stop Deliveries: Suspend your mail and newspaper deliveries along with any other services like water delivery.
- Protect Cars: Park your vehicles behind fences or in the garage.
- Time Your Lights: Put at least one light on a timer to give the appearance of activity.
- Motion Lights: Install motion lights outside.
- Maintain Your Yard: Mow your lawn and trim your landscaping right before you leave so it will look maintained while you’re away. Better yet, have the neighborhood boy scout come by and mow the lawn while you’re gone if you will be on an extended trip.
- Tell Neighbors: If you have a trusted neighbor, let them know you will be out of town. They will be more likely to notice if anything suspicious is happening.
You probably have a trusted friend or family member that can at least stop by your home once or twice while you are away. It is important that this person knows how to turn off the power, water, and gas in case of an emergency. Make sure to also give them your vacation contact number. But before you leave, you can prepare your:
- Appliances: Unplug unused small appliances and electronics. There is no use racking up a higher bill while you’re away.
- Water Heater: Place your water heater in vacation mode.
- Water: Turn off water valves to your washer, dishwasher and sinks. There is nothing fun about coming home to a flood that could’ve been prevented.
- Refrigerator/Freezer: If the device is empty, unplug it and open it up so no moisture or mildew builds up. If your freezer and refrigerator still contain many items, consider removing anything that will go bad while away.
- Thermostat: Set the temperature of your home to a less comfortable temperature, but one that is safe for plants, pets and items.
Other Vacation Tips For A Homeowner
Here are a few more tips to make sure everything goes smooth at home while you’re away.
- Credit Card Companies: Call your credit card company to let them know you will be spending money away from your normal area.
- Security Company/Police: Notify your security company that you will be on vacation, if applicable. If you don’t use a security company, notify the local police department. Some police departments keep a list of properties that are empty in the area. They may even drive by your property a few times while you’re gone. Keep in mind, not every city has the resources to do this.
- Smoke Detectors: Check all your smoke detectors, and change the batteries before your vacation.
- Trash: Take out all the trash. The smelly remnants of a four week old pot roast rotting in the kitchen trash is probably not the “welcome home” you are looking for.
The best way to protect your home is to have a friend or family member house sit or at least come by every few days. But even if you don’t have someone to do this for you, these vacation tips will go a long way in helping you keep your home safe.
I do have one final suggestion regarding your social media accounts. I know we love to post where we are and what we are doing all the time. I suggest waiting to share all those vacation photos online until you get back, or greatly restricting who can see those posts while you’re out of town. No one needs to know your home is empty.
Have a great vacation!
Do you have any more vacation tips for your home? I would love to hear them in the comments.