7 Tips for Preparing Your Home Before Heading Out for the Holidays

holiday travelWhen packing for your upcoming holiday travels, be sure to add peace of mind to the checklist by preparing your home before vacation. Avoid an empty looking home, power surges, broken pipes and more by taking these preventative measures.

1. Pull the plug on household appliances

Even when turned off, electronics use power if they are plugged in, so unplug any appliance that does not need to be plugged in while you are away in order to avoid power surges. This includes lamps, televisions, computers, a toaster, microwave and so on. This will not only save you money on your electricity bill it will also save you the potential headache of coming home to fried circuits!

2. Prevent water damage while you’re away

You may be looking forward to vacationing on a beach, but no one wants to come back to water filled living room. Shut off your water heater and turn off the water valves to your washing machine, dishwasher, sinks and toilets.

3. Forgo foul odors from welcoming your back

Leave the doors to rooms and closets open to keep the air in your home circulating while you’re away. Make sure the laundry is done and the fridge is free food that will rot. Place a fresh, opened box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors even after removing food that can rot while you’re away. Even if these things are only mildly smelly they will start to really stink if left undone.

4. Don’t tip off home invaders

As excited as you are to share your vacation plans with your friends, don’t do it on any social media platforms. Posting vacations dates and plans is an open invitation for burglars to pop in for an unwanted visit (remember the Bling Ring?). As much as we love to share our photos in live time, wait and post your vacation photos when you get home. Not only will this keep home invaders at bay it will help you stay in the moment of your vacation instead of checking to see who “liked” your latest post.

Be careful what you say on your voicemail message and auto-response email as well. Better to say your currently unavailable than that you’re away. Another helpful tip is to pack up your car inside your garage.

5. Do notify the right people

If you planning a short getaway than this isn’t necessarily, but if you’ll be gone for a week or longer let your neighborhood watch and potentially the police know that you’ll be away and request that they drive by your home while on patrol.

Another person to notify of a vacated home is your insurance agent. While most policies will cover a certain amount of theft and/or vandalism, they also have a limits and restrictions. One of those is “neglect” or “abandonment of property” so be sure that your time away is covered by talking your insurance agent before you leave. If you’re going to gone for longer than the amount of time allotted according your policy, ask about purchasing an endorsement to your existing policy or any additional options that he/she can recommend.

6. Set the stage

As is with any performance lighting and curtains are a key component to pulling off the show smoothly. Leave your blinds and curtains slightly open and schedule your lights to go on and off either via a timer that can be set automatically according a scheduled program or via a smart phone app that can be controlled remotely.

7. Enroll the help of a neighbor or friend

Ask a friend or neighbor to check in on your home while you’re away. Give this person your key and ask them to go in every day or two to water your plants, feed the cat and collect your mail and newspaper. If you’re leaving your car at home, give this person your car keys in case it needs to be moved. If you have a security alarm, don’t forget to give this person your security code and let the alarm company and police know this person is watching your home for you while you’re away.

If you have a pet sitter or house cleaner coming in while you’re away, let them know about each other to avoid a potential scare or misunderstanding!

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season ahead!