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There is no better type of excitement than that which builds in the days and weeks leading up to a vacation. The heavy planning is done, and much is likely paid for already. Now, your only responsibility is getting to the airport on time and enjoying yourself, your partner, or your family.
It is difficult to relax, or commit totally to the adventure of the moment while traveling if your mind is back home. While we can’t help you clear your mind of work related stresses, what we can do is run you through the ultimate home vacation checklist.
This list accounts for every possible tragic vacation scenario. Run through it each time you travel and your home’s well being will never be a question.
Leaking can happen at any time. No need to risk them taking place when you are away and unable to get home in time to save your pipes as well as ceilings, walls, and floors from water damage.
One way to combat this is by simply turning off your water main before you go. This shuts off all running water from entering the home’s plumbing, and so, no leaks!
Even if the device the cord is attached to is not on, the plug is still drawing energy, aka unnecessarily adding to your energy bill. Unplug your TV, radio, small kitchen appliances, and pretty much anything except your refrigerator to save on your electricity bill.
An added bonus to limiting the amount of electricity running through your home when your not there is you lower the risk of electrical fires significantly. This is a rare and far worse occurrence than simply running up an energy bill, so unplugging seems a painless precaution worth taking.
Having unplugged all the electric powered appliances in the home, it is clear you are about mitigating risk and saving money. With outdoor lights, however, the risk actually increases with going dark.
Vacationers want very much to appear they are home and life is business as usual when they are away. One way to do this is by using timers on outdoor lights. It may even be worth it to place a timer on an outlet in the house for a few strategically placed lamps. If you stagger the on and off times, it will appear as though folks are moving from room to room throughout the night.
One thing people often don’t think about when they fail to stop their mail service, or at least recruit a neighbor, is the amount of sensitive information coming through snail mail each day.
Credit card numbers, account numbers, social security numbers, names and important dates, balances, and paychecks are just a few things passed through the mail each week that you definitely do not want sitting in your mail box for weeks at a time.
Obviously your best bet is to have a friend or neighbor stop by each day to pick up what’s yours. The advantage to this is you won’t have to call up the USPS to reboot your service once you have returned.
With no one around to help you out, however, your hands are tied. Just call USPS and they will keep your mail at the local post office until you claim it.
If you are taking a summer vacation, you run the risk of leaving your home with the thermostat set at the, frigid temperature at which it is kept when your family is home.
Sixty-eight degrees fahrenheit is pretty darn cold, especially when you consider the temperatures outside are likely thirty degrees higher. That said, your AC units will be working hard all day to keep your home cool.
While you appreciate the hard work of your central cooling system, it only means you will have to work even harder to pay the inflated energy costs you accrued while on vacation.
This is a great way to keep things smelling fresh while you are gone. While no one is going to be using the bathroom while your away, if you have septic or sketchy city sewers and unflushed toilet can begin to radiate a smell after a while.
When combined with vinegar, baking soda acts as a freshening agent and can even help clear clogs.
Keep ants and mice away by ditching the half open boxes of dried foods in the pantry. Instead, put them in sealed containers. This will keep the critters away while you are gone. An unintended benefit is that it keeps food fresh longer.
This one is not necessarily a preventative measure, but rather a little treat for your future self. The last thing you are going to want to do when you get home from vacation is clean the house. So why not take care of it the day you leave?
At bare minimum, wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters, clean toilets (don’t forget to use baking soda), and take out the garbage. Basically, you want to make sure you won’t HAVE to clean as soon as you get home.
Along the same lines as a clean house, you likely are not going to want to cook for yourself either. The worst thing you can do, after a week of binge eating, is tack on another 1000 calories with a take out pizza.
Instead, cook something before you leave and freeze it. A quick sauce or soup is perfect. When you get home, you’ll be grateful you did.
When I was a kid, I can remember my mother making my father turn around an hour from home to head back and check the stove top, or to lock the front door.
Luckily, in 2018 there are smart home features that protect us from this mishap of memory. Check your alarm settings, locks, and other appliances right from your phone. There are even applications that tell you if doors or windows have been open.
This is super helpful and brings a tremendous peace of mind to your vacation should worries of your home start to creep in and ruin your vibe.