Going on a trip with the entire family comes with a seemingly endless number of to-do lists. While the majority of the things on these lists will revolve around what to pack in your suitcases and getting travel documents in order, a good chunk of them should focus on your home.
Yes, spending time and energy to prepare the one place you certainly won’t be during your holiday is just as important as repeatedly telling your kids to pack their toothbrushes for the recommended twice-a-day brushing. If you put in the effort to ensure that everything is squared away at home, you won’t spend your trip worrying about what might be going on there. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you need to do at home before jetting off on your grand adventure.
Before you’re looking at your home through the rearview window, you need to secure it as best as you can. This security should be against both human threats and those from Mother Nature. Start by taking a walk around your property to look for broken panels in the fencing or outdoor lights with malfunctioning bulbs. Both of these features are critical to keeping out invaders looking to enter your home. This walk-around will also help you spot any loose patio chairs or lawn ornaments that could get swept away or damaged in the wind.
Give your roof and gutters a look-over as well before you leave. Coming back to a home flooded with rainwater is not an ideal end to your family holiday. If your roof is outfitted with asphalt shingles and you know they’re close to reaching their lifespan, which is between 20 and 50 years depending on the climate, consider having a full roof inspection before you leave. Professionals will be able to tell if you have any damaged shingles that can lead to subsequent leaks and flooding.
After you survey the outside of your home, it’s time to do the same on the inside. One of the key elements to think about inside your home is what appliances and electronics need to be plugged in while you’re away. Many items, such as your microwave, computers, lamps, and gaming consoles, don’t need to be using up electricity when there’s no one home. Not only will you save on energy bills, but you’ll eliminate the risk of a costly appliance breakdown or power surge.
There are a few things, however, you may want to leave on. If you have pets or plants, you should keep your air conditioner or heater running. Before you leave your HVAC system guzzling up energy, consider getting it inspected. By having a licensed HVAC expert conduct yearly maintenance, you can reduce your monthly energy bill by as much as 15% and prevent system breakdowns. To deter potential intruders, you may also want to leave on some of your lamps at certain times of the day by investing in timers. These make it appear as if someone is home, even if it is just your cat and plants.
Of course, if you do have a cat and plants at home you will need someone to stop by and take care of them. Even if you’re not leaving behind any living things when you go away, it’s still a good idea to let a trusted neighbour know that you’re going on holiday. They can pick up newspapers and mail, which can otherwise be a signal that no one is home if they pile up on your doorstep.
Whether you have a friend checking in on your home or you’re planning to hire a housesitter for the duration of your trip, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t leave any sensitive personal information lying about. For extra security, be sure to shred these types of documents. Nearly 30% of consumers don’t shred them before throwing them out, leaving themselves vulnerable to identity fraud. When you’re away from home and relying on the funds that you have on hand to take care of your family, you don’t want anything to compromise your personal accounts.
Completing all of these tasks may seem like more stress than its worth, but just remember that you’ll soon be on a relaxing trip to make lasting memories with your family. Whether you’re traveling to the states and joining the 91 million people who swim in that country’s oceans, lakes, and rivers every year or you’re hopping over to Paris for a cultural getaway, you deserve to have the trip of a lifetime. And by properly preparing before you go, you’ll come back to a picture-perfect home.