Before You Go On Winter Vacation

Home Improvement Advice / Home Improvement Tips

Adam Helfman

Adam Helfman

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Ready for a vacation after the holidays? Be sure to check out our guide on what to do before you leave on winter vacation!

Chances are your home is the largest investment you’ve made in your life. Not only is it a huge monetary investment but it’s where we cultivate our lives, share the moments that actually make a house a home. If you’re going away for the ski vacation or venturing to the coast for a getaway this weekend, you’ll want to make sure your abode is properly protected from intruders and the elements. 

Key Holder

The best thing you can do when you go out of town is make a copy of a key for a trusted friend or neighbor and ask them to peak in on things while you’re away. Deborah that lives across the street that seems to always have her eyes peeking through the blinds may be a prime candidate to make sure nothing goes arai while you’re away. Give her the heads up that you’ll be away and leave her with a key just in case. Know a college student coming home for the holidays but not thrilled to be staying with their parents for the break? Pass them a key and exchange a parental reprieve for keeping an eye on things. New to area? Sites like Mind My House and even Rover can help link you with someone that’s been prescreened. 

Water Woes

If you live a cold weather state (looking at you Michiganders), you know the havoc the cold weather can potentially wreak on your home, especially your plumbing. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time or are anticipating temperatures in your area to drop substantially below freezing, you may want to consider turning off main water supply where it enters your home as well any appliances that consume water like ice makers, humidifiers, etc.

Keep Your Plans Off the Web

If you’re like most of us, you are on social media. That doesn’t mean your vacation plans need to be posted under your holiday photos. Even if you have your privacy settings set to the max, it’s probably best to keep your getaway under wraps. You never know which friend of a friend from college is reading and following your agenda.

Light On or Off?

You may be inclined to leave the lights on while you’re away in an effort to give the illusion that someone is home. Don’t. Not only will you end up with a ridiculous electric bill but if someone is actually watching your house, they’ll catch on relatively quickly. If you really want to provide the illusion that someone is home, invest in smart bulbs like the Philips Hue or Kasa bulbs to pair with a Google Home hub. Controlled by an app on your smartphone, you can set a timer or manually control them at your will.

Simple Steps

Other simple steps you can take include turning your thermostat down/up to keep the heat (or A/C if you’re down in the South) from kicking on while you’re away. No use in wasting electricity on an empty house. You can also unplug any appliances that you don’t want running while you are away (think TV’s, desktop computers and the like). This one is probably a no brainer but clean out your fridge pre-vacation. Trust us, the last thing you want to come home to is the smell of rotting leftovers.

Outside the Home

While not exactly home related, it’s probably a good idea to alert your credit card company that you’ll be traveling and where you’ll be most of the time. There is nothing worse than going to pick up the tab for dinner with your in laws and having it declined due to “fraudulent activity” when your 2000 miles away from your usual spending zip code. On the same note, if you’re travelling international, give your cell phone company a ring and get the skinny on use overseas. No one wants to come back from the French Riviera with an $800 phone bill because they “thought” they could video chat with family back home.

A few precautions can make your vacation a lot more enjoyable and make the assimilation back to everyday life a little easier. After all, you’ve earned your vacation and deserve to have it be a stress free as possible.

Have any other tips you swear by? Let us know! 

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