School's out for the summer, and vacation time is here again! Are you planning a big trip this year? Maybe it's a road trip across the country, or maybe it's a cruise. Perhaps an outdoor camping getaway or you're headed to a cabin by the lake. What ever the reason, if you're leaving your home unattended for a few days or even weeks. While your house can't actually get lonely without you, it will miss your maintenance. A few things need to happen inside and out so you can rest easy while you're gone. Here are 19 things you should do before going on vacation:
19 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation
1. Set your water heater to vacation mode
No need to heat up water that you won't be using while you're away! Set your hot water heater to VAC (or vacation) mode. This will keep your water at a lower temperature until you switch it back, or until it's programed to resume normal heating.
2. Test smoke detectors
Make sure your smoke detectors are up to snuff before you leave. In case of a fire, hopefully the sound of the alarm will alert your next-door neighbors quickly.
3. Unplug what you can
Even if an electronic is off, it still sucks a little bit of power from the grid. Save some dough and unplug everything that you can (this means yes to the TV, no to the refrigerator).
4. Clean out the fridge
Speaking of the refrigerator, before going on vacation, sort through your refrigerator and freezer, and consume or toss anything that will spoil while you are away. That means your vegetable drawers should pretty much be empty, but you can keep that case of beer.
5. Hold your mail
Did you know you can put a temporary hold on your mail? Unless you've hired a house-sitter, putting your mail on hold is a good way to ensure no burglars catch on that you're out of town.
6. Water the plants
Because it's a serious bummer to come home from a nice trip to find a house full of dead plants.
7. Pay all of your bills (and any that will occur while you're gone)
What could be worse than to be laying on the beach, and then to suddenly remember you forgot to pay the utilities for the month? Take care of any and all bills before you go out of town!
8. Set your thermostat
Before you head out the door, make sure that your thermostat is set properly. For summer trips, set your thermostat to no higher than 85º. In the winter, make sure it is set to at least 50º to prevent your pipes from bursting.
9. Strip your bed
An extended stay away is a great time to air out your mattress. Before going on vacation, strip all the bedding, and sprinkle a little baking soda on the surface of the mattress to remove odor. When you return, simply vacuum up the baking soda, and enjoy a fresh night's sleep.
10. Sprinkle baking soda in your toilets
A sitting bowl of water is just asking for trouble. Keep your toilets sanitary by sprinkling a little baking soda in the bowl on your way out the door.
11. Do all the laundry
Not only is it nicer to pack when you have every outfit at your disposal, but all those outfits are going right in the dirty hamper the moment you get home.
12. Notify your alarm company
If you use an alarm company, make sure you alert them that you'll be traveling.
13. Mow your grass
Nothing says, "I'm not home, come break in!" quite like an unkept yard. Mow your grass before going on vacation.
14. Clean and lemon all drains
Drains are nasty places that can smell and attract fruit flies. Before going on vacation, make sure your drains are clean and food traps emptied. Once clean, squeeze one half of a lemon down each drain to remove odors.
15. Check your windows
Are they open? Shut 'em! Are they locked? Good!
16. Form a plan for pets
Leaving an animal at home while you're away? Make sure you secure room for them at a boarding facility, or hire a pet-stitter. Make an extra key, write detailed care instructions, and remember to pull out your pet carrier and vet contact information in case of emergency.
17. Empty all trash, add baking soda to cans
Don't forget to take the trash out on your way out the door, and sprinkle a little baking soda in the trash cans to remove any lingering odor.
18. Wash every dish
Don't forget to check the dishwasher!
19. Leave your emergency contact with a trusted neighbor
Because you care about your home, and want to make sure someone's looking after her.
Any tips we missed? Leave us a comment, and have a great vacation!