Travel is a wonderfully fulfilling hobby, but even the most avid travelers can have their enjoyment derailed by news from home about a burglary or property damage. The mere prospect of these unfortunate scenarios occurring is enough to bring about stress, even if you’re sitting on a beautiful beach. To avoid this, avid travelers should get in the habit of thoroughly prepping their home before departing.
There are several areas for avid travelers to consider before they depart for their latest getaway, particularly for the well-being of their residence and neighbors. A few of the most important things to consider include:
Communicate with a Trusted Neighbor
Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, your home’s security is of the utmost importance. Trespassers can burglarize and/or damage your property if the proper precautions aren’t made. Burglaries can happen anywhere regardless of an area’s affluence, so having the ideology that “it won’t happen to me” is a mistake.
One easy way to immediately make your home more burglar-proof is to avoid putting your spare key outside your home, in a place like under a doormat or rock. Burglars may monitor residences to detect if someone is on a long-term vacation, so they could always seek out locations for the spare key. To avoid this, give your spare key to a neighbor instead while you’re away, particularly one you trust; it’s recommended to have a neighbor check up on the house and water any plants occasionally, which they’ll need a key for anyway.
Halt Mail and Newspaper Deliveries
One easy way for burglars to tell if a home has been left unattended for some time is to look at their mailbox; a home with an over-stuffed mailbox can be particularly prone to burglaries. One way to avoid this is to inform the postal service; they will always honor temporary halt requests. The same applies to newspapers. Also be sure to pay off any bills before you leave, so they don’t arrive either. You could also tell a neighbor to collect your mail daily, but halting service directly from the postal service is easier.
In addition to saving on energy costs, unplugging any electronics before you leave is recommended to avoid damage potentially caused by power surges, which can damage the electronic and/or wall outlet if it occurs. There’s no predicting when that could occur, so it’s recommended to always unplug everything to be safe (and to save on unnecessary energy costs).
Turn off the Water Supply
There’s no reason to have your water on if you’re away for an extended period, as water damage is a costly headache that no property owner wants to deal with. “If you’re going to have a leaking supply line, it’s going to happen while you’re away,” explains Fred Spaulding, president of Quality Home Improvements. “And a major leak could be catastrophic if there’s nobody around to deal with it.” Simply close the valve on the main supply line to cut off the water to your house; it’s a small thing that can save potentially thousands in water damage and spoil travel quickly.
Make Sure the Sump Pump Is OK
Speaking of water damage, a damaged sump pump can turn your basement into several feet of water if you’re not prudent. Before you leave, check that your sump pump is operating properly, by dumping a bucket of water inside it. If the pump turns on when the water is thrown in, the pump works. If not, it’s time to call a professional and get it repaired; a damaged sump pump can result in devastating property damage in case of a major rainfall.
Assume the Worst for Weather
To be prudent, simply assume that your days away from home will be filled with gusty winds and constant rainfall. That way, if the worst case scenario does happen, you’ll be prepared. This is especially important if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. Taking precautions, like installing a storm-rated reinforced garage door, is a recommended strategy in combatting bad weather, whether it’s in the forecast or not.
By taking the above steps, you can ensure that your travels will be free of worrying about your home. Whether hundreds or thousands of miles away, these actions can make you feel self-assured that the chances of a burglary or property damage are extremely low, helping you enjoy your travel as you should.