Checklist for Leaving Your Home Safe & Secured on Vacation

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of launching into a vacation, ready to leave your stressors and obligations behind for a well-deserved respite.

But before you do so, it’s well worth your time to make sure that your home is going to be safe and secured before you depart on vacation, whether that’s a weekend getaway or a much longer excursion.

Just as helpful as your vacation packing list is to remembering all your toiletries, so too is another list to check that your home is ready for your absence. We’ve created a checklist for you to get started, but adapt this and personalize it for your own unique needs!

Home systems

Even though no one will be home to enjoy the heating system, don’t shut it off completely if you’re vacationing in the colder months! Homes should be heated to at least 55 degrees, the City of Seattle recommends. This will prevent pipes from freezing and costing you a lot more down the road. If you expect severely cold weather while you’re gone, it’s also not a bad idea to wrap the pipes in your home if they are exposed in unheated areas of the house, like the attic.

Give the refrigerator a good cleanse before you leave. Remove anything that might expire while you’re gone, or transfer perishables to the freezer.

Empty the trash, recycling, and compost, and give the garbage disposal a good run before you depart. Clean up any spills that might go sour in your absence (there’s nothing like the smell of rotting food to greet you when you return from vacation!). Make sure all the food in the pantry is tightly sealed to keep any critters at bay.

If you want to give the appearance that people are at home while you’re gone, you can set timers on your lights inside and outside the house. While there’s debate on the effectiveness of this, NPR shares some helpful insights on how to go about this.

And while it may seem obvious to make sure all the windows and doors in your house are locked, you’d be surprised how many burglaries occur because a thief gains access through an unlocked door or window!

Yard

If you’re going on a trip in the warmer months where your front and backyard lawn may be eager to grow wild in your absence, consider whether it’s worth it to ask a friend or hire a maintenance specialist to take care of the flora and fauna. Is the grass in your front yard going to triple in size? Do you have plants on the back porch that will sorely suffer in your absence?

This doesn’t have to be a huge expense. Enlist one of the neighbor kids who might be looking for a promotion from their summer lemonade stand and see what their going rate is for mowing the backyard.

Even if you’re tempted to let it grow wild, consider that it’s a worthwhile security investment to make sure your house looks like someone is living in it long-term.

If you have automatic technology in your yard, such as lights or sprinkler systems, check that they’re functioning properly before you head out for a long period of time. The last thing you want on your vacation is a call from a neighbor that your sprinklers are flooding the yard!

Mail

Check that you’ve received all the recent packages you’ve ordered (with the ease of online ordering, it can be hard to keep track!). That way, you won’t have any large boxes sitting on your porch or hogging the shared neighborhood parcel box for an extended period of time. Consider entrusting your mail key to your neighbor and picking up your mail once you’ve returned. Pause any daily or weekly subscriptions like newspapers that you won’t be able to collect.

Questions about home or travel insurance? Contact a Sea Mountain Homeowners Insurance Specialist today.