A vacation is a time to relax, unwind, and explore new places. But before fully immersing yourself in the joy of travel, ensure your home is secure and well-prepared for your absence. Proper preparation can prevent potential issues and give you peace of mind while you’re away. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to prepare your home for vacation.

1. Secure Your Home

Lock All Doors and Windows: Before leaving, double-check that all doors and windows are securely locked. Don’t forget less obvious entry points like basement windows, garage doors, and patio doors.

Install a Security System: If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security system. Modern systems often include cameras, motion detectors, and remote monitoring, which can deter potential burglars.

Use Timers for Lights: Set timers for indoor and outdoor lights to create the illusion that someone is home. This can discourage burglars who might be watching for signs of an empty house.

Inform a Trusted Neighbor: Tell a trusted neighbor about your travel plans. They can monitor your property, collect mail, and alert you to suspicious activity.

2. Manage Utilities and Appliances When You Prepare Your Home for Vacation

Adjust Thermostat: Set your thermostat to an energy-saving mode. In winter, ensure it’s warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Set it to a temperature that won’t overwork your air conditioning system in summer.

Unplug Electronics: Unplug non-essential electronics to save energy and reduce the risk of electrical fires. This includes TVs, computers, coffee makers, and other small appliances.

Turn Off Water: To prevent potential leaks, turn off the water supply to your home. If you can’t turn off the main supply, shut off the water to your washing machine, dishwasher, and other major appliances.

3. Prepare for Emergencies

Check Smoke Alarms: Ensure all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. Replace batteries if necessary. If possible, install smart smoke alarms that will alert you remotely if they go off.

Leave Emergency Contacts: Provide a list of emergency contacts to a trusted neighbor or friend. Include your contact information, the number of your alarm company, and other relevant details.

Store Valuables Safely: Store valuables in a safe or a hidden, secure location. Consider leaving valuable items, such as jewelry or important documents, with a trusted friend or in a safe deposit box.

4. Maintain Your Home’s Appearance

Arrange for Lawn Care: If you’ll be gone for an extended period, arrange for someone to mow the lawn and water plants, as well as take care of any outdoor maintenance. An unkempt yard can signal that no one is home.

Hold Mail and Deliveries: Place a hold on your mail through the postal service or ask a neighbor to collect it for you. Also, pause regular deliveries, such as newspapers or subscription boxes, to avoid a buildup that could attract attention.

Clean Your Home: A clean home is more pleasant to return to. Dispose of any perishable items in the refrigerator, take out the trash, and do a quick clean-up before you leave.

5. Plan for Pets When You Prepare Your Home for Vacation

Arrange Pet Care: If you have pets, arrange for their care well in advance. Options include boarding them at a kennel, hiring a pet sitter, or having a friend or family member take care of them.

Stock Up on Supplies: Ensure you have enough pet food, medication, and other supplies for the duration of your trip. Provide detailed instructions for your pet’s care to whoever is looking after them.

By preparing your home, you can enjoy your vacation with the peace of mind that everything is secure and well-maintained. Planning goes a long way in preventing potential issues and ensuring a smooth return to your home sweet home.

FAQs for Vacation Preparation

How can I manage my trash and recycling while on vacation during collection days?

Ask a neighbor to put out and bring in your trash and recycling bins, or schedule a hold with your local waste management service if available.

What should I do with my vehicle if I’m leaving it at home?

If possible, park your car in the garage, or use a car cover and ensure it’s locked. Consider removing valuables and disconnecting the battery for extended trips.

What’s a good way to ensure my lawn and garden are maintained?

To keep your property well-kept, hire a lawn care service or arrange for a neighbor to mow the lawn and water your garden.

How can I prepare my home’s exterior for my absence?

Secure outdoor furniture, lock gates, and consider installing motion-sensor lights to deter intruders.

Professional Inspection Network provides home inspection services to customers in Southern California. Contact us to schedule an appointment.