Preparing your home for your vacation
A vacation is so much more enjoyable when you know that things are taken care of at home so here are a few tips for peace of mind while you are on vacation.
1. Leave a key with someone you trust
Ideally this key-holder lives close to you so that they can physically check on your home, water plants, and respond to emergencies. If your key-holder isn’t nearby, make sure the neighbours know who to call if they see or hear anything.
The alarm company should be notified that you are away, and a special pass-code should be created in case the alarm is tripped.
Your key-holder should have a copy of your full travel itinerary, copies of travel documents and contact details for your handyman, plumber or strata manager as appropriate. This way they know where to find you, can help if you lose your ID or credit cards and can manage anything that comes up while you are away.
Remember to bring them back something from your trip as a thank you!
2. Take a fresh look at your home
What does your home look like from the street? It probably looks lived-in so leave it that way. Drawing all the blinds, leaving piles of newspapers or placing a cover on your car are indications that the home is empty. So, cancel suspend you papers or magazines and make sure your car can stay where it is while you are away.
Before you leave check that all exterior windows and doors are locked and that exterior water it turned off if you’re traveling during the winter.
3. Prepare your finances
Review and pre-pay any bills that will come up while you are away and ensure that there are enough funds available to cover any auto-withdrawals from your chequing account, especially mortgage payments. Also, payoff credit cards to the best of your ability so that you have extra funds available for any unexpected expenses.
While you are at it notify your financial institutions that you are travelling, so that there are no issues with foreign purchases and be wary of currency exchange fees.
4. Turn off and unplug electronics
This is for the environment and your pocket book. The average home has 40 products that will continue to draw power while you’re away so unplug anything non-essential. The biggest offenders are computers, printers and modems (which keeps broadcasting whether you are home or not) and, if the plugs are accessible, disconnect the microwave, oven and washer-dryer.
Two exceptions – don’t unplug the PVR or risk missing your favourite shows and you’ll want to leave one or two lamps with LED bulbs on to give your home some signs of life. Ideally, the lamps will be on a timer.
5. Clean out your fridge and pantry
You don’t want to return to mouldy food or new creepy crawly houseguests so be ruthless in cleaning out the kitchen. This is a good time to do a clear out your kitchen so check expiry dates on the cans, bottles and jars that have accumulated.
Once you’ve cleaned things out be sure that it all makes it outside to the compost, recycling or garbage as appropriate. That garbage can won’t take itself out while you are gone.
But have food ready for your return – Between long travel days and bad airport food you’re probably going to arrive home hungry and too tired to shop. Plus, if you’ve gone overseas your stomach is going to wake you up in the middle of the night wanting a meal.
So, stock your freezer with a couple of frozen meals (preferably homemade) to last you until you are able to get to the grocery store.
Tip for parents – There is a 7-Eleven under domestic arrivals at Vancouver Airport, pop in to get breakfast supplies like milk and yogurt before you head home.
Now relax and have a wonderful vacation knowing that all is well at home.
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