You’ve booked your trip, researched the must-see attractions, recharged your electronics, packed your bags — and now you’re ready to lock the door and take off on your big vacation. (Ahhhh!)
But traveling smart starts with what you do before leaving for vacation. I always check these 10 things off my to-do list. They help ensure that I come home to find my place just as I left it.
1. Turn off your main water supply
Leaks happen. And they can happen while you’re away. Since nothing ruins the glow of a good vacation like returning to a flooded home, turn off your main water supply if you’re going to be gone for a week or more. (Heck, turn it off even if you’ll only be gone for a few days.)
2. Unplug all electronics
Yep, even if they’re not on, your electronics are energy vampires. Unplug your TV, microwave, toaster oven — anything that needs to be juiced — to save on your electricity bill.
As a plus, you’ll also help prevent an electrical fire.
3. Invest in a timer
Nothing screams “Come rob me!” like a house or apartment with its lights continually off.
Deter would-be burglars by putting timers on lights in different rooms. Set them to go on and off at various times throughout the night and no one will know you’re not actually there.
4. Stop mail service
Why let everyone (including prowlers) know that you’re not home?
If you don’t have a friend or friendly 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.
5. Adjust your thermostat
If you live in a place where AC is a must during the summer months, adjust the thermostat a bit to save on your electricity bill. A good rule of thumb is to keep it a few degrees higher than normal. (So if you usually keep it at 70, change it to 75.)
By not turning off the AC completely, you’ll keep enough air circulating to control humidity and mold.
6. Pour baking soda down your drains and toilet
Baking soda is amazingly useful. And, when you combine it with vinegar, it freshens your drain (and helps clear clogs too). Pour about a cup down your drain and toilet to avoid playing “What’s that smell?” when you get home.
7. Seal open boxes of food and dried goods
You know the saying: When the cat’s away, the mice will play. But that doesn’t mean they need to play in your pantry.
By putting your dried goods (pasta, rice, nuts) and other foods in airtight containers, you’ll deter any critters from having a field day.
8. Clean your home
I know, I know. But your post-vacation self with thank you for taking care of the nitty-gritty.
At the very least, wipe down the surfaces, take out the garbage, and vacuum to prevent a critter invasion. And, if you want to be extra nice to Future You, put fresh sheets on your bed.
9. Freeze a simple, hearty meal
Chances are you’ve had a lot of dinners and lunches out while on vacation. And you’re probably not going to want to hit up the store and make dinner the moment you get back.
By freezing something easy and tasty — Bolognese sauce, soup, etc. — you’ll have a delicious dinner waiting for you when you return. And you’ll save yourself time, hassle, and money. (Hey, kinda like what we do for you at Esurance.)
10. Check up on your insurance
Did you know, for instance, that your U.S. car insurance policy is valid in Canada? Yep, your liability and medical expenses are covered if an accident happens up north. Also good to know: the stuff you take with you on vacation is covered by your homeowners or renters policy.
Once you’ve checked these items off your list, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your part to keep your home safe and sound. Which means you can get out there, have a great time, and enjoy your adventures. (Now you just have to figure out where to go!)