Tips for a Worry-Free Vacation!

Don’t worry. Be happy! Enjoy your vacation away from home with peace of mind by following these sensible tips.

Give Your Home a Lived-In Look:

  • Install several light timers to go on and off in different rooms at various times. Leave a radio on.
  • Stop deliveries of mail, newspapers, etc. Have unexpected deliveries picked up by a neighbor.
  • Don’t disconnect the telephone but turn the bell down so outsiders won’t hear insistent ringing.
  • Arrange to have the grass cut regularly.
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway.
  • Leave shades and curtains partly open, or ask a neighbor to close them at night and open them in the morning.

Add Extra Security:

  • Lock up. Almost half the burglaries committed occur where a door or window has been left unlocked.
  • Put deadbolt locks on all doors (not just the front). On doors with glass panes, use a double cylinder lock requiring a key outside and inside.
  • Add tamper-proof sash locks to windows and put hard-to-reach security screws in the tracks of the window frame.
  • Wedge a rod between the door and frame of a sliding door.
  • Leave a key with a neighbor, plus your itinerary.
  • Let friends and the police know you are going to be away, but don’t advertise your vacation plans to anyone else.
  • Put valuables in a bank.
  • Don’t put your name and address on luggage tags; they can be interpreted as signals of your absence from home. Use a business address instead.
  • Never leave a key hidden anywhere near a door.
  • Never leave notes attached to a door.

Care For Stay-At-Homes:

  • If you can’t take them with you, your pets and plants will thrive best in the care of a loving friend or relative–in your home or theirs.
  • If you must put pets in a boarding kennel, be sure of its credentials, facilities and reputation.
  • You might hire a reputable house-sitter service (bonded and well known). House-sitter agencies will feed, exercise and clean up after your pets–and give them the human company they (at least your cat or dog) are used to–once or twice a day. Your turtles, birds, gerbils and snakes will be content with food, water and clean cages.
  • Some home-service agencies offer full house care: watering your plants (even singing to them if you request), inspecting your home for leaks, breaks, door and window security, maintaining your lawn and pool, collecting your mail and newspaper, and having your trash removed. They’ll even take care of important mail–mortgage payments, bills, etc.–by forwarding them to you or seeing they’re paid by your designated bill-payer. Some agencies provide live-in sitters.
  • Lacking such a house-sitting service, you can still keep your plants alive (though not sung to) by putting them in a plastic-enclosed bathtub tent with a long-term watering system feeding off stored bathtub water.

Check Before You Leave:

  • Are your freezer, refrigerator and water heater set at “normal” so they won’t frost up or boil over?
  • If you’re leaving a dehumidifier running, have you provided adequately for the emptying of any water pan that might overflow?
  • Are kitchen cabinets and counters free of cookies and crumbs that might attract ants or mice?
  • If you are leaving your answering machine on, is its message cryptic enough not to reveal your long absence? You might say, “Please leave a message if you’d like me to call back.” Then have a neighbor collect your calls–along with the mail–and relay them to you.) Tell potential callers ahead of time how you’ll handle the return of their calls.
  • Are electrical appliances such as stoves, irons and hair-dryers turned off?
  • And most importantly…