By Helen Bradford
For many of us, heading off for a vacation can be one of the most stimulating things we do. After who knows how many months of hard work, we finally manage to rack up enough free days to constitute a full-blown vacation. During this time, keeping the house in order and making sure that it’s still there when we return is somewhat important. Whatever the destination may be and however long the trip may take, there are certain steps to take before taking off to make sure we come back to the same home we left when we return.
Make a list before setting off
First of all, while you are still plotting the paradise escape into the Caribbean or some other highly-improbable location, draw up a plan about what you’re going to set up before setting off. You will essentially be leaving your house unoccupied for a prolonged period of time and it is important to remember to take the necessary steps to prepare everything for your absence. Therefore, take a note of any things that need to be taken care of before your proverbial ship sails and have them seen to before you leave. This can be anything from leaky installations to removing the cliché spare key under the doormat.
Check it twice
Once the list has been formed and gone through, it’s time to expand on it. Apart from maintaining the house, its security should also be a concern. Unfortunately, there are people who actively pray on unoccupied residences and clean the places out while the owners are off who knows where. Check every window, door, hinge, lock etc. Above all, make sure that everything is secure and doesn’t reveal too much of what’s (not) going inside. If any security systems are in place, make sure they’re as intended and even consider letting the police know that you’ll be out for a certain period.
Throw it away and ask a friend for help
Once that’s taken care of, go one step further and ask a friend or neighbor you trust for help. This can solve the majority of your troubles in one fell swoop. The friend can manage your mail, make sure there’s someone in the house from time to time and even feed any pets that you might have left behind. It is extremely important to ask a friend that you know won’t just go in and make a worse mess than a burglar ever would’ve made (you’d be surprised). With the right friend on the job, you can rest assured that your house is in good hands and will be free to enjoy your trip.
Consider a light timer
If no friends or neighbors are available each day, a light timer might not be a bad investment. It essentially switches the lights on and off at certain intervals throughout the day, giving off a feeling that people are inside. By doing this, it will throw off possible burglars while also saving the homeowner valuable electric bill money which would otherwise skyrocket if the lights were left on for the entirety of the trip. Another great advantage of these timers is the fact that they are fairly cheap and relatively easy to set up, while offering an elegant solution to one of the biggest risks when traveling for prolonged periods of time.
Keep the garden in order, safe and sound
A clear sign of vacancy is the garden. The accumulation of leaves and the wilting of plants will be a sure sign that no one is at home and will also ruin your garden in the process. Don’t risk it, but ask someone to give you a hand. If in possession of a garden, logically, you’d need to acquaint your friend with your garden equipment. Specialized brands like Hoselink garden tools often have their own systems in place and can be tough to wrap one’s head around, making any sort of maintenance a living nightmare for newcomers. Therefore, with the garden taken care of regularly, both your valuables and your petunias will be safe.
Don’t overdo it- let yourself have fun
The trick to leaving your home for longer periods is to avoid overdoing it. Just like with all things in life, moderation is the key. Avoid obvious clichés like covering up the windows and leaving the TV on. For one thing, the burglars will have seen those movies while growing up as well. When making the list and considering your options, do not let your own paranoia overtake the whole point of making the stupid list in the first place – going on a trip and enjoying yourself. By all means, plan for the worst, just remember to let yourself have fun when you finally step out.
Image credit: Pexels
Author: Helen Bradford