The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your Home for an Extended Vacation

The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your Home for an Extended Vacation– Getting to finally go on an extended vacation, especially in our current circumstances, is a dream come true! However, there is much to be done before you can actually head off to enjoy the bliss of leisure and family time. Your home is the core of your family, and you want it to be just as perfect and inviting as it always is once you are back. How can you best prepare it for your absence, though? Well, we are here to answer this question with the ultimate guide to preparing your home for an extended vacation!

The first step of preparing your home for an extended vacation is cleaning!

Now, cleaning might be something you do every day. However, pre-vacation cleaning is a bit more thorough than even spring cleaning might be! After all, spring cleaning still entails you actually staying at home, while during an extended vacation, you will not be there to keep an eye on things. 

First, you should start with the regular – vacuum, wash the dishes, wash and put away your clothes and linens. After that, you can start with more serious cleaning. For example, clean your kitchen cabinets. There are often crumbs that can accumulate in them, and you should also take the chance to use or dispose of all the food stored in them. Then, you want to start in on your fridge!

Similarly, you want to empty and clean your fridge and freezer. Even if you might think it’s okay to leave food in a refrigerator, you never know when a power outage could occur, which would leave you with a smelly mess to deal with when you’re back! Finally, you want to inspect your roof and clean the gutters, in case the weather has a turn for the worse while you’re away!

A hand with a glove holding a spray bottle
Cleaning everything properly will ensure you come back to a fresh home!

Make sure your home has all the security measures installed!

Of course, when talking about security measures, the first thing that comes to mind is a defense against burglars. However, the things you need to protect yourself actually fall into two different categories, both of which are important: defense against robbery and defense against accidents!

Security measures against burglars

  • An alarm system. Simple and effective, an alarm system can be easily installed and will immediately alert the local police (and probably you!) if someone enters your home. You do not want to use up the money you had been saving up for remodeling your kitchen to make up for property loss due to burglars, so invest in a good alarm system!
  • Light timers. They have a single goal – to provide an illusion of someone still living in the house. Most burglars prefer houses whose owners have left on vacation, because the robbery would not be immediately reported. If they think you are at home, they will likely leave you alone.
  • Motion-sensitive floodlights. They can be installed outside of your home so that if anyone comes near it, they activate! This would also alert other people on your street that something is happening, in addition to discouraging burglars.
  • Pretend you have a dog. Even if you really have a dog, you will not leave the poor thing unattended! And if you don’t, well, you can pretend to have one. Put up a ‘Beware of the dog’ sign sporting a large, ferocious breed, and leave a large dog bowl in your yard. It might not turn away everyone, but it will make the prospective burglars think twice.

Security measures against accidents

  • Fire alarm. Most homes come with fire alarms already installed, but if you don’t have one, get it! It is indispensable, especially if you are leaving appliances plugged in.
  • Flooding alarm. Like fire alarms, they will detect and report any flooding that might occur due to leaking pipes, vents, etc. 

Turning off all electrical appliances is important for preparing your home for an extended vacation!

You simply don’t want to risk leaving anything turned on while you are away. A simple, slightly damaged cable might start sparking, which could cause your entire home to go up in flames! Of course, fire alarms are there to help prevent the worst of the damage, but why would you take such a risk in the first place? Not only does doing this prevent chances of fire, but it also reduces the costs of your bills while you are away! You should not underestimate this aspect since appliances like large freezers can be surprisingly power-hungry, even if we do not usually notice them since we need to run them all the time.

A house fire
When preparing your home for an extended vacation, it might be smart to get home insurance just in case!

Make sure to turn off your water main and valves!

Another critical step in preparing your home for a vacation is turning off your water lines. Now, it might seem excessive, but it comes with its own set of benefits! The first is also the most obvious: shutting off both the water main and the valves in your home significantly, if not entirely, prevents flooding. There are few things as expensive to fix as flood damage! You want to renovate your bathroom on your own terms, not be forced to do it. In addition, if you are vacationing during the winter months, this will also stop your pipes from freezing!

Cancel your subscriptions and handle your mail!

If, while preparing your home for an extended vacation, you had done everything you could to give an illusion of still being there, you do not want it all to be ruined by a pile of mail, newspapers, and magazines left on your doorstep! So, make sure to contact the post and arrange to either have your mail held or redirected to a family member. Similarly, you want to cancel your physical subscriptions while you are away (you will still have your online ones). This is not only good for maintaining the illusion of your being home, but it will also save you some extra money to spend on your vacation shopping!

Make arrangements for storing temperature sensitive items!

You might own instruments, paintings, books, or similar items which cannot handle extreme shifts in temperature and humidity well. While you are home, you would obviously keep an eye on them, but your best bet would be renting storage for them while you are away! Now, renting a self-storage unit just for the purpose of a vacation might seem excessive. Many people have wrong ideas about this type of service, which is not surprising as there are many misconceptions about renting storage. However, a climate-controlled storage unit is your best bet for making sure your items are undamaged by the time you are back from your vacation.

Secure help while you are gone!

While preparing your home for an extended vacation, make sure to ask at least one member of your family or neighbor to periodically check in on your home. It is not a bad idea to ask for police officers to occasionally make the rounds as well, and they will gladly do so if you look for help in your local police station! In addition, you would probably be leaving your car behind.

In this case, you might want to leave your keys with the person you would have checked in on your home and ask them to start up your car and take at least a short ride every once in a while to keep it in good condition. Your friend could also take care of your plants since there is no better way to ensure they survive. They can water them and make sure they are getting enough fertilizer. Incidentally, this would also complete the illusion of your being home even better!

Do not leave hidden keys behind when preparing your home for an extended vacation!

You might think you have the perfect hiding spot and that no one will think of checking it. However, be it a hanging flower pot, a heavy vase, or something similar, burglars are very likely to be thorough in their checks when looking for a way into your home! In addition, in case of a storm, your key would likely be knocked from its hiding place and left in plain sight. This would be the absolute worst-case scenario since someone could use the key to waltz right into your home, ignoring the security measures and the expensive alarm system you were counting on to keep your home safe.

A lost spare key
When preparing your home for an extended vacation, only leave you keys with a trustworthy person! Source

Final Word

We know that securing your home properly and taking everything that can go wrong into account is stressful and challenging. The pre-travel checklist is something to help prevent bad things from happening at your home while you are away.. However, we are also sure that you can do it with the help of the ultimate guide to preparing your home for an extended vacation! 

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