Heading out for a week or two on a vacation or business trip can involve some planning. You need to sketch out your itinerary and book your tickets, reserve hotel rooms, and of course you need to pack everything.
But it’s also important not to neglect your home. There are a few steps you can take before you lock your doors and head out of town that will give you less to worry about when your get back, and more peace of mind while you’re gone.
- Clean Up
It’s natural for your home to look like a bit of a disaster area when you’re packing for a trip. Digging through closets to find your swimwear and neck pillow can cause a mess. But don’t leave it that way. Be sure to tidy up after you’re all packed. It will be a lot less stressful to come home to a clean house, and you’re less likely to forget something important when your stuff isn’t strewn about. Also, don’t forget to take out the garbage. Trust us, you don’t want what’s left of that takeout you got last night to fester in the trash for a week or two. You may want to clear perishables near their expiration dates out of the fridge as well.
- Unplug and Plug In
If there are any electronic devices that don’t absolutely have to be plugged in while you’re gone, unplug them. This will reduce the risk of fire, and help you save electricity. Plug a few lights into timers programmed to come on during the evening. This will give the appearance of someone being at home without wasting energy. Of course if you have smart bulbs you can control them remotely right from your phone.
- Program Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, now is the time to set it to vacation mode, where it keeps the house a little warmer (or cooler) than you prefer when you’re there, thus saving you money on HVAC costs. Some smart thermostats have actual “away from home” modes you can use. If your thermostat is the older non-programmable type, just set it to a level that will make it run the least while you’re gone, without making it totally uncomfortable inside.
- Check Your Locks
And we don’t just mean your door locks, although they’re important too. Check every window to make sure it’s locked as well. You never know the last time you may have had it open. This goes for windows on upper floors too. If you have a security system, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly functioning and armed when you leave.
- Sit Down and Buy Insurance
If you haven’t already, be sure to purchase travel medical insurance or travel insurance. In addition to all of their other benefits, these plans can offer trip interruption coverage, which can help pay for you to return early if something happens at home that’s covered by the policy. Having the right insurance can go a long way in helping you breathe easy while you’re traveling.