Planning a much-needed getaway is a great escape. Taking time to travel, relax, and recharge is essential. It’s well worth the investment in time and money to create lasting memories and enjoy valuable time exploring the world. However, a successful vacation requires prep and planning.
Prepping for your vacation comes with a pretty serious to-do list. You need to book dining reservations and plan activities. Your flights and accommodations likely need to be arranged well in advance. Then, there’s the shopping for new vacation clothes and the careful process of packing up the whole family.
With all of this necessary prep, getting your home ready can fall through the cracks. However, it will be nearly impossible to relax without knowing that your home is safe and sound. Taking the time to thoughtfully prep your home for your vacation can help you enjoy your time away to the fullest.
Talk to Trusted Neighbors
Your neighbors are a great resource. If you have nearby friends that you are close with and trust, let them know that you are going to be away. This will give you the comfort of knowing that someone is there as a backup plan should any issues arise.
Oftentimes, criminals prey on empty homes. Immediate neighbors can keep an eye on your home for any suspicious activity. Anything from things being out of place to unfamiliar vehicles can be a sign of trouble. Your neighbors can report any odd activity to the appropriate authorities, making sure your home stays safe.
Your neighbors are also able to keep you updated on what is going on back home. Everything from a severe storm to high temperatures can wreak havoc on your home and garden. Kindly ask that they water your yard or check for wind damage if necessary. Just make sure to bring them back a souvenir in appreciation.
Someone may need to reach you during your time away. If an emergency pops up at home, make sure your neighbor has a way to contact you. You may need to swiftly arrange repairs or other services remotely to prevent any further issues.
Hire a Home Watch Service
A home watch service is an invaluable tool in your relaxation arsenal. These trusted visitors are experienced in caring for vacant homes. They will care for your home in your absence so you can relax on your retreat.
Many home watch providers allow you to select the specific services that are unique to your property. You may also be able to decide the frequency at which they visit. Depending on the length of your vacation, you might need just one visit or several during your time away.
The exterior of your home is vulnerable and can have some telltale signs that you are away. Don’t make it that easy for a burglar to detect an empty home. Your home watch service can retrieve your newspapers from the driveway and the flyers from your front door. They can make sure your trash cans are put away and that your mailbox isn’t overflowing.
You may also need some extra care for your yard, especially if you are traveling during the hot summer months. Ask your home watch service to flip on the irrigation system or water your flower pots. They can also make sure your patio furniture is in the correct place and check for fallen branches after a summer storm.
The interior of your home should also be maintained in your absence. Your trusted home watch service will care for your house and make sure everything is safe and sound. They will make sure your doors and windows are tightly locked. Also, they will make sure that your alarm system is set and ready.
Coming home to a flooded home or water damage can ruin your refreshed post-vacation vibes. Ensure that a small problem doesn’t turn into a big one. Your home watch service will check for water damage on walls and ceilings. They can also make sure your faucets and toilets are in good working order. The expense of hiring a home watch service is well worth caring for your home.
Before going away, consider investing in a set of various smart home products. Not only is there some pretty cool technology out there, but you’ll likely be amazed at its convenience. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind of being able to virtually check-in while you’re away.
Video doorbells have become super popular in recent years. You will instantly know when that Amazon package arrives, but they are also known to cut crime. You can see what is going on in and around your front porch at any time. With the proper settings, you’ll receive an alert when someone is in range. Plus, you can talk to your visitor through the doorbell’s intercom, whether they are welcome or not.
Smart security cameras are a great alternative to complicated and outdated wired systems. Running on wifi, they take mere minutes to set up. There are also some pretty budget-friendly options out there. Strategically placing these around your home will allow you to pop in and check on things while you’re away.
A smart thermostat is another product surging in popularity, and for good reason. Why run your heat or AC to keep your empty home comfortable while you are away? Using the app, you can adjust the temperature, saving energy costs. Then, as you are en route home, bring it back to a comfortable temperature. You’ll arrive to a perfectly warm or cool house.
How many times have you left the home worried that you left your iron plugged in or a hot curling iron on the bathroom sink? With smart outlets, you don’t have to second guess yourself. You can simply pop on to the app and cut power to the device. Some can also be set on a timer so you know that they will turn off automatically, preventing an accidental fire.
Smart devices can also help you secure your perimeter. A wifi-enabled garage door opener allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere in the world, allowing access to neighbors and secure package deliveries. You can also install a smart front door lock. You’ll not only be able to bolt your door from your smartphone, but you can also set it to notify you if it happens to be left unlocked.
While you’re away, your home has the potential to use way less energy. Even without smart technology, you can take some steps to save energy in your absence. Take a few minutes to make sure your home is using minimal power while you’re gone.
No one is going to be taking hot showers or doing dishes in your home. So there’s no reason for your hot water heater to be constantly heating and maintaining the water temperature while you’re gone. Give it a break and turn the setting to vacation mode or at least down a few degrees to save some cash.
Small appliances, workout equipment, and even televisions are constantly using energy, even when powered down. Ideally, many of these should be unplugged when not in use, but this is especially true when on vacation. Take time to go around your house and unplug these items. And double-check for empty phone chargers and computer cords.
Secure Pet Sitting
While getting your home ready, don’t forget to make arrangements for one of its most-loved inhabitants. If your pet isn’t coming along on your getaway, find quality care for when they are away. This will make sure they are kept safe, healthy, and free of separation anxiety.
You know your pet best. Their personality dictates whether in-home care, boarding, or another alternative is the best choice. Some animals thrive in settings with other pets. Others just want to stay in their familiar homes while their families are away. If your pet is the latter, set your home up for pet sitting success.
First, you’ll need to find a trusted pet sitter to check on your furry friend. Ask friends for recommendations and referrals. Make sure you interview the sitter ahead of time. You want to make sure you get a good vibe and they are a great fit for your pet.
Then, give them a tour of your home and the areas your pet uses. Show them where the litterbox, food, and other pet supplies are located. Consider finding a location where you can store these supplies in one place so nothing gets overlooked.
Make sure all of the items that your pet needs are well stocked. Think about investing in automatic food and water bowls so you know your four-legged friend will be well fed between pet sitter visits. And, be sure there are plenty of treats on hand to keep them feeling loved in your absence.
Stop Mail and Packages
A mailbox full of confidential info sitting for several days can leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Your anticipated online orders can fall victim to theft when left on your porch for days. Plus, all of these uncollected items are a dead giveaway that you aren’t home.
Make sure to stop your mail for the dates that you will be away. Luckily, this is super easy to do online. Then, when you arrive home you can either have your mail delivered or pick it up at your local post office.
Be mindful when placing online orders to avoid buying anything that will be delivered during your vacation. If it’s a can’t miss deal or much-needed item, simply have it delivered to a friend that can hold it until you get home. Sure, you can have your home watch service or neighbor take your packages in. But even then they will likely sit on your porch unwatched until they arrive.
You may also be able to reschedule your deliveries depending on the carrier. Make sure to create an account with shipping companies like UPS and FedEx before your trip. This allows you to track your packages and be alerted of their whereabouts. You can also put your delivery on hold or set preferences as to where your driver places them.
Clean Out the Fridge
Coming home to rotting and decaying food is not fun. Neither is letting a ton of expensive groceries go to waste. Planning ahead can make sure you don’t end up needlessly disposing of too much food.
During the week before your trip, work to cook, freeze, or eat any perishable foods you have stocked up. You can even pass them along to a neighbor. If you are traveling by car, chopped up produce is the perfect healthy snack for the road.
Before you depart, take some time to clean out your fridge. Get rid of any food that won’t be fresh when you return. Use up or dispose of any out of date leftovers. Giving your fridge shelves a good wipe down ensures that you return to a fresh and odor-free fridge.
Wrap Up Chores
With everything that goes into vacay prep, it’s easy to forget to complete day to day chores. Allow yourself some time to make sure they are completely wrapped up before leaving. This prevents you from coming home to an overwhelming collection of half-done tasks.
Check the laundry. A load of clothes collecting mildew in the washer during your vacation will greet you with some serious odor. Make sure laundry is completely dry, and ideally folded and put away before you leave.
The same goes for your trash cans. Sure, a banana peel in the kitchen trash can be harmless for a day or two. But during your week away, not so much. Make sure to empty all of your trash cans and take the garbage to your outdoor receptacles.
Keep Non-Human Invaders Out
Insects can still make their way in, even when you’re gone. Don’t leave anything around to attract them. Wipe all of your counters and thoroughly run the garbage disposal. Load and run the dishwasher with any dirty dishes lying around.
Vacuum and mop floors to make sure no tantalizing crumbs remain. You can even spray an all-natural insect spray in and around your home for an added barrier of protection while you’re away.
Rodents like mice love quiet, empty homes. They can sneak in undetected and quickly take over the space. Make sure your home has a strong barrier to prevent a horrible discovery upon your return.
Inspect the outside of your home for any cracks in the exterior. Many rodents can squeeze into some amazingly small spaces. Make sure to carefully seal these openings to prevent entry.
If you have a known problem, being away from home might make it worse. You may need to set traps to remediate the issue while you are gone. These animals breed quickly and solving the problem early on is essential.
Take On Big Projects
Now, this may seem like a surprising one. It might seem odd to you that your vacation is the best time to get work done on your home. However, oftentimes, it’s the safest and least disrupting way to schedule that big service you’ve been putting off.
Your carpets should be cleaned every year or two to keep them fresh and extend their lives. This makes having your carpet cleaned while you are on vacation the perfect opportunity. Especially if your pet is at the sitter.
Being away means that you won’t have to deal with the sounds of the carpet cleaner interrupting your day. Scheduling a carpet cleaning well before your return home allows the carpet plenty of time to dry. Plus, you’ll arrive home to the delightful smell of fresh and clean carpet.
Things like refinishing floors and repainting walls come with lots of dust and debris. Not to mention the potentially hazardous chemicals and fumes involved. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to complete these tasks safely with kiddos running around.
Scheduling these projects while you are away can save you a ton of headaches. You’ll avoid the disruption, noise, and odors that go along with these tasks. Plus, it will be thrilling to reveal your new updated interior when you walk back into your home.
Returning to a Welcoming Home
Don’t ruin the last bits of your vacation by arriving home to a house in disarray. Make arrangements ahead of time so your home is as neat and clean as you left it. Your yard will also likely need some care in your absence. Planning ahead allows you to relax when you return home.
Unfortunately, the dust accumulating in your home doesn’t go on vacation. Ensure that it’s kept at bay by scheduling a house cleaning service while you’re gone. Ideally, make an appointment as close as possible to the date of your return. It will feel great arriving home to a freshly clean space.
It’s also a good idea to hire a lawn care company to make a visit while you are gone. A freshly trimmed lawn is a welcoming sight for sore, travel-tired eyes. Make sure your lawn is perfectly manicured for you so you don’t arrive home to a to-do list of yard work.
Remember the cleaning out the fridge part of prepping to leave? Well, now that you are arriving home, you’ll need to restock it. Ordering groceries can avoid an immediate grocery store trip when you arrive home.
Some stores allow you to order groceries for curbside pick up. If you have your arrival time perfectly nailed down, you can even pick them up on your way back into town. A quick stop for staples like bread and milk makes getting settled back in much easier.
You can also order groceries for the ultimate convenience. Schedule their delivery for a few hours after you plan to be home so you’re there to put them away. Consider throwing in a meal kit or frozen family meal to make your first post-vacation dinner a no-brainer.
Bonus Tip: Vacation Proof Your Car
Maybe you are flying on vacation and leaving your vehicle home. Even if you’re going on a road trip, you still likely have another vehicle that you’re leaving behind. Make sure they are prepped and cared for during your time away.
Move your car into a garage if at all possible. This makes it less obvious that there is no one coming or going. It also protects it should inclement weather occur in your area. Plus it’s hidden and kept safe from break-ins.
If indoor parking isn’t possible, remove thief tempting valuables like cash and bags from your car. Make sure the car keys are securely put away in your home. Also, remove any means to access your house like garage door openers and house keys.
If you are lucky enough to be embarking on an extra-long getaway, you might need some extra care for your car. Ask a friend to take it for a drive around the block every week or so to keep the battery healthy. It will also help prevent critters like mice from taking up residence under the hood.
Planning Ahead for the Maximum Relaxation
Prepping your home takes a lot of thought and a little planning. However, it’s essential to making sure your property is safe and sound while you’re away. This will give you the peace of mind to relax to the max.
Doing a little work to prep your home for your absence can be an invaluable investment. It can even save you money on energy costs! You’ll also likely avoid a preventable disaster should something unfortunate occur.
Enlisting friends and neighbors can be super helpful. It’s also a good idea to hire professional help. Having trusted people there during your time away can provide your home with the protection it deserves.
At 2 Local Gals, we have the care and experience to expertly look after your home. Our home watch services can make sure the interior and exterior are in tip-top condition. Let our team know how we can help you have the most relaxing vacation ever!