With declining COVID cases and rising vaccination rates, many people are starting to think about traveling again.
If you haven’t been on the road for a while, you may have forgotten some of the things on the checklist to prepare for. Here’s a rundown of things you might want to do to prepare your home for your absence.
- Leave a house key and a copy of your travel itinerary with a trusted friend or neighbor. Any number of out-of-home dilemmas can be resolved if a trusted neighbor can access your property. For example, if you forget the document you need at home, your neighbor could retrieve it and send it to your hotel.
- Consider suspending your email. You can do this through the USPS website.
- Consult other delivery services, such as UPS, FedEx, etc., about making deliveries. Every time I think I don’t have packages at home, I realize I forgot that I booked that juicy novel or that I have a nice pair of shoes to order. If you cannot or do not want to contact several transport companies, this neighbor with the key can pick up packages for you.
- Line up kangaroo shops or kennels. If you have pets, they may already be on your list. However, during the pandemic many small businesses have closed or drastically changed their services or schedules. Be sure to check well in advance that your preferred pet care service is still operating and is available during your travel dates.
- Line up home service, if necessary. Do you have several pets, many plants that need watering and lots of packages? A person who is at home may be the easiest solution to these problems. Currently, there may be nearby college students studying from home who are grateful for a change of scenery and a small influx of cash.
- Remember to alert the local police of your departure. Some jurisdictions will provide courtesy vehicles for traveling residents.
- Bring outdoor trash, porch furniture or other loose items, pending the weather. In addition to checking the weather forecast at your travel destination, you will need to check what the weather forecast is at home while you are away. If storms are forecast, be sure to bring loose items that you would normally insure if you were at home during a severe weather event.
- Adjust the heat or air conditioning settings in your home to save energy. Depending on where you live, you may be able to turn off the air conditioning (or make it warmer than usual) during the trip. If you live in colder weather and travel in the winter, turn off the heat, but don’t turn it off completely. No one wants to come home with frozen or cracked pipes.
- Hire someone to maintain your outdoor areas. You should continue to keep your lawn mowed or snow shoveled so that potential thieves are not aware of your exit.
- Clean the refrigerator of perishable items. No one wants to go home to a fridge full of vegetable molds and curdled milk. Be sure to consume or throw away anything that might go wrong while you’re not.
- Put hold on any newspapers or other regular home deliveries.
- Triple check that your house is locked when you leave. Also check the car doors you will leave at your entrance. Consider removing garage door openers from any vehicle that may be left out.
- Consider putting multiple lights in your home with timers. A well-lit home is less attractive to intruders.
- Disconnect small appliances. Coffee makers, toasters, alarm clocks, and other small appliances consume a small amount of energy when plugged in, even when not in use. Disconnecting them reduces energy waste and potential fire hazards.
- Lower the temperature of the water heater. This can reduce power consumption while you are not leaving.
- Empty all bins of items that may damage or smell when you are not. Also consider emptying the dishwasher and deodorizing debris before leaving.
- Consider installing a doorbell or other home control device.
- Back up your home computers. This is not really related to your output, but to something that should be automated or a regular part of your routine.
What else do you do to prepare your home for the holidays? Let us know in the comments.
First published on March 17, 2021. Updated on September 25, 2021.