Spring Break is upon us and summer trips to those fabulous destinations you’ve been researching all winter won’t be far behind. With all the planning that you put into your get-away, from Airbnb to airlines, have you planned for the one thing you will be leaving behind? Get your home vacation ready before you leave so you’ll have one less thing to worry about while away. Use our checklist to knock out common culprits and avoid any headaches upon your return.
“Vacation Ready” Checklist
- Stop the newspaper and mail. Go to the USPS’s online mail management tool to hold mail up to 30 days.
- Park your car inside the garage, and lock the garage door using the interior bolt. (There has been an uptick in theft from parked cars on the Northside, so better safe than sorry on this one.)
- While you’re at it, lock the door from the garage into your house.
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally if you will be gone more than a week.
- Put at least one light in your house on a timer. Wemo switches are available for under $40 at Home Depot and Lowe’s or online and allow control of lights and other appliances from your phone while you are away.
- Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor light near the garage or front door. Not only is it nice to have the extra light when you arrive home at night, burglars avoid well lit entry points.
- Make sure your lawn stays trimmed. (Bonus points if you hire a neighbor’s teen to do the job while you are gone.)
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices. That toaster and phone charger still use energy even when not turned on or in use, and the amount adds up.
- Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and all sinks. (Trust us on this one. We speak from experience, and you wouldn’t believe the damage a burst pipe in the laundry room can do before neighbors notice water running out the front door.)
- Set your thermostat to a warmer temperature in the spring and summer, but don’t cut it off completely. An unexpected heat wave could harm your home and furniture inside without a little help from the AC.
- Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor, and include hotel names and locations if you are traveling out of the country where cell service may not be stellar.
- Some cities, such as Shavano Park, offer courtesy home checks by police officers while you are away. Neighborhoods like Deerfield, with security officers on patrol, also offer this service. Simply let them know the dates of your trip before leaving.