Many a distracted frantic American vacationer leave their homes each day without so much double-checking to see if they locked the front door or turned off the kitchen lights.
While not as absent-minded as Peter and Kate McAllister famously leaving their son Kevin “Home Alone,” many U.S. travelers are so naturally consumed with preparing and packing for their trip they fail to complete a comprehensive home safety checklist before departing for their destination. The National Travel and Tourism Office reports more than 66 million Americans traveled abroad in 2016. How many left their homes in truly safe condition?
So how do you ensure you and your family’s peace of mind while you’re away? Prepare your home for your absence.
“It’s hard to remember from trip to trip everything you need to get your house in order,” Laura Leist, a certified professional organizer and owner of Seattle’s Eliminate Chaos, told HGTV.com. “Have a checklist of what needs to be done, and start planning a week or two in advance.”
After all, no home can take care of itself.
Make Your Home Look Like You’re Home
An empty house is a Welcome In sign for burglars, who sacked two millions American homes in 2016 according to safeguardtheworld.com statistics.
To ensure your house keeps a lived-in look while you’re away:
- Stop the newspaper and mail
- Park your car in the garage or the driveway
- Ask a neighbor to check in on your house occasionally and mow your lawn
- Put at least once light in the house on a timer
- Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight
Otherwise, you will truly be leaving your home alone.
Give Your Plumbing and Electrical Devices A Vacation Too
Running appliances while you’re out of town is not only wasting money and electricity, it can lead to financial migraines due to a home disaster. To remove the potential for an appliance breakdown while you’re gone:
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices
- Set your water heater to vacation mode
- Turn off the water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and all sinks, ice the air conditioner
- Set your thermostat to a comparable outdoor temperature that will still protect your plants, pets and furniture
For having your home use phantom energy while you’re away is expensive and risky.
Remember The Security Essentials
Here are other smart precautions to take before going on vacation:
- Notify your credit card company and home security provider that you will be out of town
- Ensure your smoke detectors are working properly
- Give your emergency contact information with a neighbor
- Take out the kitchen trash and any food garbage that can spoil before you return
- Lock all windows and doors
- Don’t leave a message on your machine that you’re out of town
- Make sure your home’s insurance policy is up to date
The last thing you should have to worry about when you’re living the dream on vacation is if you’re home’s safe. By completing a home safety checklist before you go, you’ll give both yourself and your home priceless peace of mind.
Remember, nothing makes a home look and feel like you’re home when you’re gone is to leave a light on.
“Lights are one of the best ways to give the appearance of being home,” Rob Zadotti of the New Jersey-based Gold Medal Services told NBC Television’s The Today Show.