Nothing can ruin a vacation more than worrying about your house. During one of my family vacations, I remember that the toilet of the apartment upstairs had broken and water had poured down to our apartment. Luckily, we had planned ahead and a friend was watching the house for us. She helped arrange the landlord to fix the problem and steam clean the floors even before we returned home. Though there was some damage, if we hadn’t had our friend watching the house, it could have been much worse!
<!–[if !supportLists]–>1.) <!–[endif]–>Get a House-Sitter:
The best strategy to ensure that your house is well looked after and taken care of is getting someone to actually stay in your house. Many times I have asked one of my close friend’s children (high school to college age) to stay at the house for a small fee. This helps make it seem that you are still home and discourages would-be thieves. Make sure your house-sitter is familiar with your house, its electronics, and alarm codes. Write a list of rules for the house, including inviting people over, cleaning up, emergency numbers, and what you expect to be done while you are away.
If you cannot get someone to stay at the house, the next best thing is to ask someone to check on the house daily. Ask that they pick up any leaflets, flyers, or unexpected deliveries. Make sure you have written a list of emergency contact numbers, and have given them a set of keys and the alarm code (have it changed while you are away, or change it when you get back). Leave them an emergency contact number so they can reach you in an emergency.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>2.) <!–[endif]–>Make Arrangements for Your Pet:
If you are not able to take Fido with you, make sure that he/she is well looked after. If no one can take care of your pet, contact your local kennel for boarding rates. Talk to your vet and make sure your pet is current with immunizations. If your pet requires special medication, make sure there is more than enough for the duration of your trip.
If a friend will be able to take care of your pet, make sure that you provide a care list and the chow for your pet. The list should include when and how much you feed your pet, when and how often the pet needs to be taken out for a walk (if applicable), how much you can afford if there is an emergency, any allergies or medications, and the phone number to your vets office.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>3.) <!–[endif]–>Don’t Forget the Yard:
If you don’t already have a service, hire someone to water your plants and lawn while you are away. Make sure they have access to all areas that need care.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>4.) <!–[endif]–>Put a Stop on Mail & Subscriptions:
A full mailbox is a prime indicator that you are on vacation. Call your local post office, newspaper, and any subscription service delivered to your home and request that they put a hold on deliveries for the time you are on vacation. You can also put a stop on mail and many subscriptions online. Click on the following link to place a hold on your mail.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>5.) <!–[endif]–>Alert Your Alarm Company:
Call your alarm company and tell them when you are leaving and how long you expect to be gone. Create a new alarm code for your house sitter and give your alarm company the names and numbers of your house sitter and trusted friends that can be contacted in case of an emergency. Also give them the contact information for your hotel.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>6.) <!–[endif]–>Before You Leave:
Make sure you have cleaned the house, cleaned out the refrigerator of leftovers and other perishables, taken out the trash, and set the house the way you want it when you return. If no one will be staying at the house while you are there, set the thermostat to a cost-saving temperature and place the lights on timers.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>7.) <!–[endif]–>Do NOT Leave Your Keys:
Ensure that you take all copies of important keys out of your house. If someone does break into your house, it is best not to hand them the keys to your car! Make an extra set of house keys for whoever will be looking after your house.
These are just some basic steps that you can take to ensure that your house is secure while you are away on vacation. Be sure to be careful in choosing who will be looking out for your house.