Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Post: 10 Things to Check Before you Travel

Traveling? Go Safely & Return safely to a Home in One Piece

Have you ever gone away for the weekend and couldn’t remember if the front door was locked or alarm set? Imagine getting on a plane to go halfway across the world for three weeks with the same uncertainty. That’s not a vacation; it’s more like an expensive stress test!

Before heading to the airport for an extended holiday run through a home-prep check list making sure surprises aren’t lurking upon return.

Making such a list is a good idea because when rushing around at the last minute even the obvious may fall by the way side:

1. The fridge: Just because food is being kept cold doesn’t mean it won’t go bad if not used in a week. Get rid of all perishables by giving them to your friends, composting, or simply trashing them so the fridge is in a clean state upon your return.

2. Mail: Have the post office hold your mail so it doesn’t pile up by the door, which is like telling thieves “No one’s home; try your luck!”

3. Turn off appliances: Do you know how much electricity is being used by leaving appliances plugged in 24 hours a day? Unplug the mixer, coffee maker, juicer and other similar items and splurge a little more on the road.

4. Utilities: Turn off the heat or air conditioning. Even if it’s on a timer there’s no reason to service an empty house unless, for example, you live in a cold climate where daily heat slows pipes from freezing. Also, check the tap that it’s not dripping.

5. The Car: This can be tricky. Depending on the length of the trip I’d say if you have a garage, use it. If you don’t, park the car near a friend who can periodically check on it or on a mildly busy street where it will be less of a target but won’t runt the risk of getting damaged by bustling activity.

6. Pets (dogs, cats, birds, etc): Services exist that watch animals when people go away. It can sometimes be traumatic for a pet to be left with strangers but is entirely acceptable. Leaving the animal by a friend is a good option but don’t leave the pet at home with an arrangement for someone to come by and check on it because it’s very likely that person will forget.



7. Security: Don’t put an ad in the paper announcing you are going to the North Pole for three weeks. For security reasons and preventing others from preying on your home the less people that know you’re traveling the better. Wait till you get back to share all the memories (unless, of course, you are writing about it on a blog and don’t divulge your permanent address…).

8. Bills: Why should you take the risk of returning home, opening your front door, and discovering the electricity is out? If payments aren’t automatically deducted from your account pay bills before you leave. It’s no fun enjoying the crystal clear water on a semi-deserted island, realizing your last credit card statement wasn’t paid, and worrying about late fees!

9. Last minute tasks: Tidy up so things are clean when you get back. Seal windows and side doors, take out the trash, turn off lights (except one or two that are on timers to mimic a human presence), and lock the entrance before you leave.

10. Have a person you trust available: I truly believe this is one of the most important things to do before going away because it leaves the mind at ease. If possible give a key and all the appropriate emergency and maintenance numbers to a friend or family member who will stop by often checking on your home. They can water plants, feed fish, and watch some TV if they want. Alternatively, a house sitter isn’t a terrible idea but creates a whole other set of issues. If you go that route make sure it’s someone you know well.


Jakob Barry writes for Hometalk.com, a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects. He covers various home improvement topics including eco-friendly house cleaning .

10 comments:

Keenly Kristin said...

All great tips!! We often forget these things in the chaos of packing and planning!!

Stumbled!
http://keenlykristin.com/2011/05/the-summer-of-kristin-has-begun/

Thanks for linking up!
Kristin :)

DeDa Studios said...

Thanks for the info! Stumbled to your blog......! Have a Very Safe & Happy Memorial Weekend! Stop for a visit http://dedastudios.blogspot.com

Denise McD said...

Great advise! I will use this for my summer trip to dc! thanks so much!
I stumbled you and will follow :) I hope you can do the same for me!
have a wonderful weekend!!!!!

http://mommy2nanny3doggy1.blogspot.com/

Anne said...

Great tips! I have never thought to unplug the appliances, good idea!

I'm stopping by from the blog hop. If you have a minute I'd love for you to stop by www.giveawaycorner.com, where we have giveaways every weekday. We're giving away a month of free advertising today!

Michelle said...

Thanks for the reminders and great tips!

Also, Thanks for linking up to our Alexa Blog hop at http://moneysavvymichelle.com. Have a great week and hope to see you back next week!

Fit2B Studio said...

My stumble link is also about traveling, but more about fitness on the road. Nice to meet you. Gave you a stumble :)

TerinAleah said...

I'm a new follower! :)

http://terinaleah27.blogspot.com/

NC Sue said...

I just "stumbled" by from the hop, which is found on a page on my site that lists more than 200 hops, memes, and photo challenges… some for each day of the week. Check under the header for the link to that page. I’ve also just started a BlogFrog community that focuses on hops, carnivals, memes, and photo challenges. Go to http://theblogfrog.com/1504201 to visit & participate.
I hope you’ll visit me soon and follow back!
NCSue

aquariann said...

Great tips!

-:¦:- Stumble Through Thursday: Catwoman Costumes -:¦:-

Patricia said...

Great tips. Thanks.
Hello, I am also following you via the High On Life blog hop. Please follow me.

http://itsabouttimemamaw.blogspot.com/

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