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Preparing the Home

 

  • Make sure someone is taking care of the pets. Get a friend or neighbor to feed the fish, walk the dog and water your plants. Then they'll be tip-top when you return.
  • Put your lights and/or radio on a timer. People shouldn't be able to tell you're away just by looking at your house. A simple timer can turn the lights and a radio or TV on after dark.
  • Make sure someone gets your mail/newspapers. Same reason as #2. Plus, there's only so much mail the carrier will jam into your mailbox. You could also have the post office hold your mail from 3 to 30 days.
  • Check your thermostat settings. If there's no one home to enjoy the heat or a/c, turn it off before you go or set your thermostat to its recommended temperatures.
  • Change the settings on your answering machine. A constantly ringing phone could annoy your neighbors and let strangers know you're away.
  • Make sure everything that needs to be off is off. Your vacation should be worry-free, and that includes thoughts like "did I leave the stove on?" Double-check before you go. You can even unplug non-essential appliances like your computer, TV and other electronics.
  • Get rid of perishable items and leftovers. No one wants to come home to fuzzy things in the fridge. If it's uneaten the night before you go, just toss it.
  • Turn the water off. Close the water valves for your sinks, dishwasher and clothes washer. That way nothing can leak and make a mess while you're not home.
  • Keep track of your house keys. When you don't use them for a week or more, it's easy to forget where you stuck them. Find a spot in your carry-on luggage where they'll be safe for the duration of your trip.

 

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