Planning tips for an extended summer vacation

Are you planning an extended vacation this summer—taking a cross-country road trip, spending the summer at Grandma’s farm or ranch, or heading to a foreign country? If so, you are probably busy mapping your route, looking at attractions, and reserving accommodations. That’s the fun part, but don’t forget that you’ll need to prepare your home for the time you’ll be away as well. Proper preparation will help prevent burglary while you are away and make your home welcoming for when you return.

Planning Tips

Focus on security

Nothing can ruin a vacation like coming home to a house that’s been broken into. Your extended vacation away from home can be an open invitation to burglars if you don’t take the appropriate precautions.

  • Check all your door and window locks to make sure they are secure.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house and report anything suspicious.
  • Install timers on lights and even a radio to help create the appearance you are home.
  • Make sure there will be no clues for burglars like an overflowing mailbox or overgrown lawn.
  • Notify your alarm company of the dates that you will be going out of town and provide additional contact information if necessary.

Arrange for necessities

You’ll need to make arrangements for the day-to-day necessities of your life like paying bills and mowing the lawn. Taking care of these ahead of time will save you a headache when you return and keep up reputation in the neighborhood.

  • The last thing you’ll want to be worrying about while you are basking in the sun on the beach is your bills. Schedule payments through online banking or prepay them.
  • If you have pets or plants make arrangements for a pet sitter or house sitter. Remember to make sure that anyone coming and going from your home knows to leave it securely locked with the alarm on.
  • Hire someone to keep up with your lawn care like mowing, trimming, watering and caring for your garden.
  • Either stop your mail or ask a neighbor to pick it up. An overflowing mailbox is a sure tip off to burglars that you aren’t home.
  • Move valuables into humidity controlled storage to protect them from burglary and weather related damage while you are gone, especially in hot places like Phoenix, AZ and Fort Worth, TX.

Clean your home

No one wants to come home from a relaxing vacation to a mess or a funky smelling kitchen. A few hours of cleaning before you leave will make your home so much more welcoming when you return.

  • Pick up displaced items, clean your bathrooms, and mop your floors.
  • Empty your trash. Bring any full trash bags to a dumpster, or ask your neighbors to put it out on the curb on trash day so it won’t be festering in your garage while you are gone.
  • Clean out your refrigerator leaving only things you know will keep while you are gone like condiments. Be sure to place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb any odors and keep it smelling fresh.

Save yourself some money

Don’t throw away your money on expensive electricity bills while you are gone.

  • Raise your thermostat or turn off your air conditioner and furnace.
  • No need to use the electricity to keep a tank of water hot while you are gone so turn off your water heater.
  • Unplug everything you can to prevent wasted electricity and also protect against any damage from electrical surges or storms.

If possible, ask a family member or friend to do a few things the day before you return to make your homecoming easier—turn back on the water heater, put some milk and bread in the fridge, turn on the air conditioner, and set the thermostat.

Following these simple tips is sure to give you peace of mind while you are gone and make for a pleasant return home!