Graduation ceremonies have come and gone, schools are out, and it’s time for that vacation you’ve been anxiously awaiting for months. We all look forward to arriving at our destination, but what can you do before you leave to prepare your home for while you’re away?
Stop your mail. The United States Postal Service has a handy app for smartphones, and also offers a Hold Mail option on their website under the “Manage Your Mail” link. Enter your address to check for availability online before making your request or visit your post office to fill out a Hold Mail request in person.
Stop your newspaper. If you still receive a good old-fashioned newspaper at home, make sure to ask your carrier to stop delivery or ask a neighbor to pick it up for you while you are away. At my house we also receive free newspapers weekly on our driveway so don’t forget about those too!
Place lights on timers. Keep a light or two in your home on a timer while you are away. Lights in the home give the appearance of an occupied home. A dark home can be a welcome sign for thieves.
Consider shutting off water sources. Pipes can leak (or burst) while you’re away, leaving a mess when you get home. The easiest place to start is the water to the washer and dryer. One of our claim adjusters shuts off the water to the entire home while they are away to avoid any issues.
Tell a neighbor, the local authorities, and/or your alarm company you’ll be away. Even if you don’t expect mail or newspapers to arrive, let a neighbor know that you’re away. They can keep an eye out and let you know if anything significant occurs while you’re away. In some communities, the local authorities can be alerted to your absence and will drive by your property periodically.
Set your thermostat. Raise the temperature on your thermostat so that you are not paying to cool your home while you are away. During the winter, turn down (but do not turn off) the heat so you are not heating your home as much as you need to while you’re home.
Arrange to have your grass mowed or snow removed when on longer trips. This last one is self-explanatory!
This list is not meant to be all-encompassing. I tend to remember the items above, even for shorter excursions. There are many more resources on the web regarding this subject, and other things that you might want to consider such as:
- Have a friend water your plants.
- Obtain a pet sitter or find a boarding facility for your pet.
- Make sure your bills are paid ahead of your vacation or contact your credit card companies to inform them of your plans if you are travelling to a far-off destination.
A few other tips are available on the A Vacation Checklist for Your Home tip sheet.
Wherever your travels take you, enjoy your trip knowing your home is safe!
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Dave, thanks for the information about the US Post Office app. I just downloaded the app and have scheduled my first hold. Much better than burdening the neighbors with the responsibility.
Good to know!
Good to know you found that to be useful info, have a great Indpendence Day holiday!
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I agree…these are great tips, Dave. I can particularly relate to the one about switching off the water as we had a flood in our place when a pipe burst while we were away -never again! 🙂