Get Your Home and Finances Ready Before You Vacation
It’s easy to overlook the safety of your home when you’re gathering to leave for a vacation. Before you head out to your destination, follow these steps to get yourself, your finances and your home ready.
Point person. Make sure you assign a trusted neighbor or friend as your point person while you are gone. Give them a key and information on how you can be reached. Leave them with a photo copy of your passport and any credit cards you are taking, if you happen to lose any of these items then these copies will help you get replacements faster. Have them bring your postal mail inside your home, and leave them with a list of any service people who may be stopping by while you are away.
Credit cards. Notify your credit card company or bank that you’re traveling. Credit card companies are known to put a hold on cards with unusual or foreign transactions. Don’t be left stranded, place a call 24 hours before you leave by calling the customer service number which can typically be found on the back of your card. Also be sure to pay any bills that might be due while you’re gone to avoid late payments.
Electrical/Heat. You can reduce your electrical bill by unplugging items that will go un-used while you are away like your toaster, computer, and air conditioner. Set some lights on a timer a day or two before you leave to ensure they are working properly. Having a light on gives the impression that someone is home, which sends a safe message to unwelcomed guests. Check thermostats or re-program any automated ones to save energy costs. Now is also a good time to check batteries in all smoke alarms.
Water. If you have a pool or sump pump in your home, check them and make sure all systems are working. Water all house plants and ask a neighbor to water your lawn and garden. Other options you have are to seal indoors plants in a clear plastic bag. This method holds in valuable moisture and humidity. For your lawn you could set an outdoor sprinkler on a timer.
Clean. Make the return home from your trip as easy and relaxing as you can and avoid any need for extra chores. Before you leave remove all trash from your home and make sure the dish washer isn’t filled with dirty dishes. This will prevent bugs or smells while you are away. Also go through your fridge and remove items that will go bad while you are away. These small steps will make coming home more inviting and less stressful.
Spare keys. Remove any spare key you might have hiding outside of your home. Thieves are smarter than most think, so bring your keys in while you are away. Write yourself a reminder to relocate the key when you return.
Breathe and Smile! Don’t forget that a vacation gives you the time and opportunity to relax. Forget about the chores, deadlines, and meetings that normally fill your day and enjoy your time away.