Buying a vacation home sounds like an amazing idea, but it is a luxury not everyone can afford. However, even if you cannot escape the city to go to your own private oasis of fun and relaxation, going on a vacation is vital for your overall health and well-being. This means taking some time away from work, city traffic, and daily routines should be high on your priority list.
Although this is the first step to a successful holiday, packing up and making sure everything will be alright while you are gone is, for most people, a dreaded activity. There’s a seemingly endless checklist to take care of and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Fear not however, just read on to discover the 8 essential things you need to take care of before you leave in order to enjoy a stress-free vacation.
There are few things better for the weary traveler, than coming home to a sparkling clean house. Treat your future self by cleaning the day before you leave. Ensure you wash up and put away all your dirty dishes, wash the laundry and put fresh sheets on the bed – perfect.
Your fridge is another important area, so be sure to remove and use – or donate – any perishables. If possible, empty your fridge completely, give it a clean and leave it unplugged and open while you’re away. Finally, remember to take out the trash – your nose will thank you for it later!
Arrange Plant and Pet Care
Depending on your pets and how long you’ll be away, you’ll need to think about what you’ll do with them. For short periods, pets such as cats and fish may just require someone to come in and feed and clean up after them every now and then, whereas dogs will probably need to be taken in by friends, family or neighbors. Alternatively, seek out pet hotels. This might be the easiest step in preparing for your vacation if you live in one of these five great cities for pets and their owners.
While thinking about your furry friends, lets not forget the plants you lovingly struggle to keep alive! Try to arrange for someone trusted to drop by every so often to water and prune them as necessary. A house sitter may be the ideal solution for those with pets and plants.
Prep Your Home
Before you leave, you should take care of these little things as well. Make it easier on yourself and make a short checklist;
- Unplug major appliances.
- Turn off the water supply – a leaking tap can cost a fortune if left unattended.
- Set your thermostat to a lower level.
- Close curtains in windows that look directly into the house, or install blinds or net curtains.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the toilets and down drains to prevent stagnant water smells.
- Turn the oven off!
Take Care of Newspaper and Post Deliveries
Be sure to talk to a friend or a neighbour to let them know you will be on vacation; you can also ask them to pick up your newspaper deliveries and post. A full post box and piles of newspapers on the porch might indicate that you are not home, making it easier for criminals to target your property.
Get in Touch with Your Bank
Holiday nightmares often occur due to poor planning and preparation. One of the worst situations to find yourself in is being locked out of your bank account and cards. This is often a result of security conscious banks reacting to suspicious activity.
If you don’t let the bank know you’re planning a trip to deepest darkest Peru, any spending may be flagged as suspicious activity, which can result in your cards being blocked. Get in touch with your bank in advance and let them know your travel plans to avoid such situations.
Schedule Automatic Bill Payments Online
Be sure to settle any unpaid bills before you leave on vacation. The last thing you want to come home to is a pile of overdue bills and extortionate late fees. If you plan to be away for some time, it’s well worth setting up automatic payments, either through your bank or online with providers directly.
Don’t rely on having access to internet and apps while you’re away. It’s likely you’ll forget to actively pay the bills while you’re in vacation mode, so setting it all up automatically in advance allows you to set it and forget it. Consider all utilities and mortgage payments plus anything else that may be due while you’re away.
Take Photos of the Essentials
Before you head out, be sure to take photos of all your essential travel documents, plus medical prescriptions, etc. This gives you a backup should you lose the originals and can help you out in an emergency. You can even email the photos to yourself or a friend to ensure that even if you lose your phone, you have copies.
Lock Up and Enjoy
Finally, be sure to secure your home properly. Ensure all windows and access points are shut and locked if possible. Set your alarm – and be sure to test it a week or so in advance. If you normally leave an emergency key hidden outside, remove it and leave it with someone trustworthy.
If your neighborhood has a watch program or a police patrol scheme, get in touch and advise that you’ll be on vacation. Just be sure to let them know about anyone who may be popping in to look after the plants, pets or anything else!
If you follow all of these points you can head out, relax and enjoy your vacation to the maximum, safe in the knowledge that your home is secured and protected against accidents and criminals alike.