Are you tired of an exhausting work schedule and want to go on a holiday to rejuvenate yourself? That’s a wonderful idea! But it is also understandable if you are worried about what all things to take care of, before leaving your home by itself for a week, a month or more. After all, not every person on earth harbours good intentions. And an empty house often attracts thieves, vandals and many others who are up to no good!
Moreover, if you have a beautiful garden or pets, then you definitely need to figure out a way to have them taken care of when you are away. Any valuables, costly gadgets or pricey artefacts that you keep at home, will require your careful consideration too. And finally, you must keep a tab on the utmost essentials that you need to carry with you in case of emergencies. So here’s a rational look at what all you need to bear in mind before hitting the road.
Friendly neighbours will usually not mind if you request them to keep a watch on your house while you are not there. Request them to walk by your house once in a while, and see if everything is fine. It would be great if they can check the doors, the backyard and call you if they notice anything suspicious. Just remember to bring back a sweet souvenir from your trip for him or her, as a token of your gratitude!
If you are passionate about your plants, you will know what we are talking about. While you are away, you need to make the necessary arrangements, so that your plants get adequate sunlight or shade as needed and sufficient water. If you own plants which need sunlight throughout the day, move them to a place where this can be ensured. Trim your lawn to almost a zero level so that, even if you come back after many weeks, the grass will have reached a normal height. Or else, an untrimmed lawn may alert the burglar that no one is at home. You can also request a neighbour to water your plants daily or as required. For this job try approaching someone who is an avid gardener himself. He might be quite eager then, to help you out!
That is because, words almost spread faster than fragrance! Remember that thieves always prowl around in search of empty houses to accomplish their missions. And especially if the owner is away on a long trip, dusty newspapers or mails piling up outside the house sends them the signal that the house is lying unsupervised. So it is recommended that you cancel your newspaper subscription for the duration of your absence. Also request the local postman to hold your mails till the time you personally come to collect them. Or you can also find out if a friendly neighbour can collect your mails instead.
Make sure that all phone calls to your residential phone get forwarded to your mobile phone. And never ever leave the message on your house phone that you are on a trip. In case you are not taking your car with you, request a friend or neighbour to take it out and keep it on your driveway for a day or two, and then put it back inside the garage. This can make it seem that the house is not unoccupied.
When you are planning to travel, you are naturally looking forward to having a good time. But it is always advisable to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So it’s mandatory that you maintain a file, folder or diary with all emergency phone numbers and information jotted down in one place, for both your home and office. This will help your friend, neighbour or colleague to find important stuff if you are suddenly indisposed on the trip and need help. He or she can find the information for you or legal or medical authorities, if such needs arise.
Your emergency folder can contain copies of your travel itineraries, whom to alert in emergency situations, copies of passport, birth certificate, credit card numbers, contact numbers of banks, and computer passwords. Health related information like blood type, doctor’s name and phone number, allergies if any, and medical records should be included too.
So you have loaded your travel bags with clothes, shoes, personal care items and whatnot, right? But are you forgetting something crucial? Well, here it is. Carry with you the contact numbers of your friends, relatives, neighbours and even colleagues before embarking on the journey. You never know who you will need to call up in emergency situations. It is also a great idea to carry a list of names and phone numbers of doctors and dentists, in case you face health issues on the trip. If you are on some sort of medication, remember to ask your physician if there are any rules you should abide by during your travels. And if you are travelling to a foreign country, then check if your present insurance policy covers rental cars. If it does, then take the policy along with you.
Avoid keeping the house key under your mat. Thieves are pretty clever, and will probably end up outsmarting your moves! Rather leave them with a trusted relation or friend, and carry a copy of the same with you. Don’t ever make the mistake of leaving behind your ornaments or other valuables in the house. Lock them up in your bank’s safety deposit box. Real jewellery is precious and an investment. So why take the risk of losing them? Also, if you are taking your car for the trip, get the tyres checked and send it for a thorough servicing.
Before you leave your house, remember to check all doors and windows. Make sure everything is locked up, even pet doors, garage door etc. Arrange all keys on a single key ring and keep it with you. Ask a friend or neighbour to carry duplicates. Dispose of your garbage, both in and around the house. This will ensure that everything stays clean and tidy till you return. Avoid keeping your filled garbage cans lying outside. Not only can this attract stray animals, thieves will also get the signal that the house is empty.
Last but not the least; unplug expensive electronics like the refrigerator, television, microwave, washing machine, laptop, coffee machine, air conditioner and so on. Otherwise, a power surge may ruin these while you are away. Also disconnect internet access to your computer, to avoid unnecessary charges. Clean your fridge and remove perishables. Make sure you wash up all dirty dishes and empty coffee pots. You surely don’t want to come back to a stinky house after your refreshing vacation, right? Get inspired by this spic and span kitchen designed by Imativa Arquitectos, architects from Mexico.
So just keep the above mentioned tips in mind when you are all set for a getaway, and you will be able to relax in the true sense of the term. Check out another ideabook for more inspiration - 6 ways to deep clean your house.