OK, so your bags are packed and you’ve checked your passport a hundred times – but what about all the other things you need to do before you jet off on holiday? Here is the essential checklist to make sure your home is secure, your belongings safe, and that risk from accidental damage is minimised!
Assign a keyholder
Friends, neighbours or relatives make excellent keyholders – except in an emergency, in which case you should also consider giving a security company the key to your house. Why? Well, if your house alarm goes off at 2am and there might be an intruder, it is a lot to ask a friend or family to risk their safety to go sort it out.
Employ a security company
You don’t have to have an alarm response service all year round, you can have one just for when you are away. Home security companies also have different tiers of service, so if your pad is especially plush, you could have a mobile patrol pass by to keep an eye on things too.
Or ask your neighbour to pop any letters poking out the letter box through the door. If your front door is fully glazed, you may want your keyholder to come in and clear the pile every couple of days while you are gone.
Cancel the milk (or organic veggie box)
Not that the milkman is such a common sight these days! Whatever regular deliveries you may have, such as a weekly veggie box – make sure you stop it in your absence.
Un-hide the spare key
If an opportunistic sneaky-type clocks on to the fact you’re on holiday, they might just find your spare tucked somewhere probably quite obvious.
Lock up all outhouses, sheds and garages
The tools and equipment stored within could be tools of the trade to those looking to break in.
Get someone to mow the lawn
Only really applicable if you are away for more than a couple of weeks in the summer.
Unplug all your electrical items
This cuts the risk of an electrical fire, or damage to equipment from a power surge. Plus you don’t need to be wasting energy on standby lights. Do remember to leave lamps plugged in if you are going to be using a timer.
Defrost your freezer and empty your fridge
Or you’ll come home to a horrible and stinky mess if you’ve unplugged everything!
Water your plants
Give them a good watering that will see them through the duration. You could even use a dripper feeder to make their rations last longer.
Turn off the water
A toilet that suddenly decides to leak, or a burst pipe will cause the sort of damage you don’t want to come home to EVER, let alone after a lovely holiday.
Set light timers – or get an app to do that!
Timers are great, except the regular as clockwork activity could be a bit of a giveaway for the observant burglar. Thanks to today’s awesome advances in technology, you can actually get WiFi lightbulbs, which can be controlled by your smartphone from ANYWHERE! You just have to remember to do it while you are sipping a cocktail or enjoying some other equally relaxing activity on your hols.
Lock the windows
It’s a security feature that you should make the most of! You won’t go on holiday without locking the door!
Take your household rubbish to the local dump
Leaving it out for a few days before collection is a sure sign that the property is empty. The other option is coming home to festering bins. Not nice.
Call your bank/credit card company
It’s a bit embarrassing, and slightly inconvenient if your card is stopped because your provider doesn’t know that it is you using it in another country!
Call your mobile phone provider
You may need to set up roaming on your account.
Ask your keyholder to…
The benefits of having a keyholder are many, although as we said earlier, it’s not ideal to ask neighbours or friends to attend to a possible break in. So, as well as having your alarm response set up with a security company, give someone you trust the key to your home and ask them to:
- Water plants
- Open and close curtains
- Move the car
- Collect the post
- Mow the lawn
- Put out the rubbish
Do make sure that you have told them where all spare keys or keys to garage, shed, windows etc are.
It goes without saying that you have seen to all the other travel-related checklist items, such as packing your toothbrush, but it would be foolish of us to not mention TRAVEL INSURANCE! This is more important than watering your plants, and just as important as protecting your home and possessions from loss or damage.