Here is a short list of things that need to be done around the home before you go.
If you’re going away for a week or more, you’ll want someone to come around and look in on your home. They can water the plants, pick up the mail, check around the house for signs of trouble, and clear any flyers from the doorstep.
If you live in an apartment or condo, neighbors might not even notice you’re gone. So you might to want to tell the resident manager, or caretaker about the trip, just in case there’s an emergency while you’re away.
Give a second spare key to an emergency contact, like a relative, close friend, or professional like your accountant. Then give the emergency contact’s phone number to the caretaker / resident manager.
Also give the resident manager a mobile number where they can reach you if need be. And be sure to tell them about your friend who’ll be coming around to water the plants.
If you live in a house, you’ll probably want to tell at least one neighbor that you trust about the vacation. You might be able to strike up a deal, if they look after your place, you’ll return the favor when they are gone.
At the very least, you’ll want to be sure your grass gets cut, the mailbox gets emptied, and the junk mail gets cleared from your porch. If there’s no one to help, you could hire a professional yard service to do it all for you.
If someone is coming around to water the plants, you can fill several buckets with water for them to use, then shut off the water main to the house. If you don’t shut off the water main, at least shut off the water lines leading to the washing machine and hot water tank.
Shut off, cancel, or turn down everything else that you won’t be using. That includes the thermostats, baseboard heaters, hot water heater, etc. And don’t forget to cancel the newspaper, or any other regular deliveries, that normally come to your home.
For security purposes, consider getting a monitored alarm, so if a burglary occurs, they are confronted with a live voice and police are contacted. In addition to that, you can brace the windows, so they’re not easily slid open and get several automatic light timers.
Something well worth considering is renting a mailbox. I’ve got a big one at the local UPS Store. It holds all the mail for six months if need be.
The UPS Store allows me to ship and receive packages with ease. Someone is at the store six days a week. I don’t have to stay home and wait for the delivery. People send packages to my box and pick them up at my leisure.
I’ve also struck up a good relationship with the UPS store manager. More than once she’s helped me out of a jam, by opening a piece mail (with my permission), faxing and shipping things for me. I consider her to be a valuable part of my business team, gratefully paying for her time above and beyond the mailbox rental.
Be sure to visit our Lists Page for a free PDF download. It’s our Master Preparation List for Road Trips & Vacations.