We’ve all faced it at one time or another when leaving on vacation. There are a million things to do, and just as you’ve departed, you start to wonder: Did we lock the front door, close the garage, and unplug the iron?
Before you grab your packed bags and dash out the front door, be sure to go through the checklist below. And, for good measure, make sure you read all the way to item # 7 – you won’t believe how many people get in major trouble from this one mistake!
- Turn off main water supply
Let’s face it – leaks happen – and, often it’s when we’re away from home. Since nothing can ruin a wonderful vacation quicker than returning to a flooded home or apartment, turn off the water. If your residence doesn’t have a separate shut off for your unit, simply turn the water off under the sinks or inform the manager of your planned vacation and have them shut off the water for you. If you forget, renters insurance should cover that type of water damage.
- Unplug all electronics
Few people realize that their electronics suck energy – even when they’re not on. Unplug your flat screen TV, microwave, toaster oven, and coffeemaker, especially if it’s timed to start your brew in the morning 20 minutes before you get up. Though it may be rare – stranger things have happened – and you can help prevent an electrical fire.
- Use a timer
While you’re away, nothing shouts out to would-be burglars – “rob me – I’m not home” – more than a house or apartment where the lights are continually off for several days in a row. Invest in a timer or two. They can deter thieves if you place them on lights in different rooms. Set them to go off at various times throughout the night and it will give the appearance that someone is home – even if you’re not.
- Stop mail service and newspaper delivery
There’s no reason to make it easy for prowlers or burglars. Why let them know you’re not home by letting mail or newspapers accumulate? If you don’t have a friend or neighbor willing to pick up your mail, ask the USPS to hold it. They’ll keep all of your correspondences safe until you return, and the service is free. The same goes for newspapers. Call and hold delivery until your return.
- Adjust your thermostat
If you live in a place where AC is a must during the hot summer months, be sure to adjust the thermostat to save on your electricity bill. Don’t turn it off – but, simply set it a few degrees higher than normal while you’re gone to keep some air circulating to control humidity and mold.
- Check your insurance coverage
Take a few minutes to read through your insurance policies (car, renters, home) to see what they cover. It could save you time and money should something happen while you’re away. Also, it’s good to know that the stuff you take along with you on vacation is covered by your renters of homeowners policy. Just remember to pay your premium ahead of time if your vacation ovelaps your payment date.
- Don’t post about your vacation until after you’ve returned home
And now for the big mistake we warned about. There are countless stories of people who, eagerly anticipating their long awaited vacation, post all about it before leaving and while they are away. While this seems innocent enough, the reality is that you are essentially informing people that your home is unattended and therefore a perfect target for a burglary. Enjoy your vacation, take lots of pictures, and by all means have fun posting about it on social media –just make sure to post after you’ve returned home.
Now that you’re informed about what you should do before starting out on your long-awaited summer vacation, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done your part to keep your home as safe as possible.
Do you keep a checklist of things to do before you leave on vacation? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.