Headed out for the long weekend? Going on any vacation requires a bit of prep work to make sure nothing goes wrong while you’re off adventuring, and also to ease your mind so you can enjoy.
If only you could just hop in the car and drive, or jump on a plane and fly! These days, personal prep takes even more time, because we need to make sure we have the proper ID, as in passports, drivers licenses, Real ID, etc., as well as any proof of vaccination you may need.
But if you want to prepare your home for a trip, that’s a whole ‘nother story, and it can actually be even more complicated. Here’s an essential vacation checklist of things you need to take care of in your living space before you leave.
How to Prepare Your Home for a Trip — Your 5 Point Vacation Checklist
1. Make Sure Your House Is in Working Order
Take the necessary precautions to ensure your house runs smoothly all by itself, because you won’t be around to help it. If you plan to leave town for quite some time, it’s a good idea to turn off the water and winterize your pipes to prevent an emergency while you’re gone. Likewise, you should unplug any nonessential electronics.
2. Keep It Secure
While you should tell a neighbor or two about your vacation, don’t tell everyone about your plans to leave town, and especially don’t post it on social media. Similarly, don’t leave the house pitch black at night. Instead, keep your home and belongings secure by having a neighbor check in periodically, and possibly move your car, if it’s parked in front. Also, set timers for the lights. This makes your home look lived in and prevents the risk of someone damaging or breaking into your property.
Securing your home also includes locking away any valuables. Make sure you know how to store fine jewelry and find a place to hide any cash. Doing this keeps your home secure, even if you have a neighbor checking in.
3. Finish Up Chores
An essential way to prepare your home for a trip is by taking care of household chores before leaving. Pay any necessary bills before you go, as that’s the last thing you want to worry about on vacation. You may want to put the mail on hold or ask someone to pick it up for you. Also, you should take out the trash and run your dishwasher, so no unwanted odors build up while you’re away.
4. Make Arrangements for Your Pets
Just as soon as you find out your itinerary, recruit a trusted neighbor or friend to watch your pets, or find someone local on a trusted pet sitting website like Rover.com (where we found some jewels), FetchPetCare or Wag!.
You can also find homes to board your pets on these sites. We recommend having your pet stay in a home with someone to love them, and perhaps other pets to play with them, rather than boarding them at your local vet. Your pet will be much happier with people around, and without being confined to a kennel or a cage. Make sure you take your pet over there for a meet and greet before you book, however. Everything is not always as it appears online.
Pro Tip: Purchase the book What About the Dog (or Cat) before you go, fill it out, and leave it with your petsitter. It covers just about everything.
5. Do a Last Minute Sweep Through
Finally, go through your home right before you leave to make sure everything is in order. It may help to jot down a checklist so nothing’s overlooked. Some things to add to your list include:
- Putting the water heater in vacation mode
- Adjusting the thermostat
- Removing perishables from the fridge
A final check keeps you feeling secure because you know you’ve done everything necessary to prepare your home for a trip. And when you know your house and belongings are safe, you can relax and enjoy your getaway!