The hotels are booked. Your bags are packed. You’ve even checked in for your flights already. There’s a lot of preparation for people who are going on vacation. Most will already have activities planned when they arrive at their destination, but one of the most important parts of taking a vacation is preparing for your return back home. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of what will happen “there,” the travel arrangements that take care of what is going on at home can be even more important to having a relaxing trip. Making arrangements for pets and plants, protecting property, and setting up home security, are some of the most important steps before leaving town.
The simplest way to worry less about home while out of town is to have the property covered by the appropriate insurance policies. Homeowners with a bank-financed mortgage will be protected against the threat of fire and most natural disasters, but those who rent will need to consider finding renters insurance before spending large gaps of time away from home. It’s a recommended investment in peace of mind with or without vacation itinerary in the works.
Unfortunately, it is not always practical nor appropriate to take our pets with us on vacation. Most pets, especially dogs, that will be left for more than a couple days will be better off being boarded at a “pet hotel” while owners are away or staying with family. This ensures that they are fed on schedule and given attention daily. It also relieves owners of worrying that their pets are getting into trouble or getting out of the yard while they are gone. In some cases, a pet sitter can be arranged as an alternative to boarding or having to ask a friend or relative to keep the dog at their home. Make arrangements with the pet sitter in advance and define what is expected each day. Some owners prefer that pet sitters spend the night in the home while others just require that they visit daily to change food and water. The type of arrangements will depend on how long the trip is, the type of animal being left, and the personality of the pet and the owners.
Pets aren’t the only living things that need to be taken care of during vacation. Many plants will still need to be tended to. Summer vacations are hard on plants that live in a hot, dry climate. Set timers and sprinklers to water lawns and larger areas. Arrange with a trusted neighbor or friend to come over everyday or every other day to spot water potted plants and plants that will not be watered on an automatic schedule.
Although it is possible to stop mail, it can be even better to have a trusted neighbor pick it up. Having someone come by the house daily will ensure that there is someone checking on the home.
With all the arrangements made to take care of the home, there are still some details to take care of before leaving. Secure the outside of the house by locking all windows, doors, and gates. Set timers on lights and radios to create some activity in the home, and move valuables so they cannot be seen from windows and doors. Security cameras should be set and test any that can be monitored remotely. Tell a close friend, relative, or neighbor that you will be out of town and ask if they will keep an eye on the house to let you know if there is any activity. Turn off appliances and consider any special arrangements that might need to be made such as winterizing pipes if a freeze is expected. Finally, close the garage door, get on the road, and relax. It’s time for vacation.