Taking a looong trip?

Get your home ready before you’ll get on that trip

Who doesn’t want to go on a long trip? The Japanese way of touring Europe within 7 days doesn’t appeal to me. I was brought up with summer holidays lasting between 3 weeks to 3 months. We loved the summers on the beach and I’d be game for a longer holiday again, right now! What about you? Have you thought of taking a sabbatical or a longer trip?

Before you can get on that plan, have your home prepared. Here’s our checklist for you:

Check your home insurance documents

Is there anything stated that your home can only be vacant for a specific time? You’ll probably find a clause saying your home needs to be lived in for insurance cover to kick in. Mine has an exclusion if the home has been unoccupied for 60 consecutive days or more, certain damages aren’t covered. Most of us don’t speak insurance language and if you’re unclear about a paragraph, call your agent. You may need to take out additional home insurance before you go on your trip.

Prepare the home for your absence

Besides the obvious of turning off all lights, check the appliances. If they don’t have to be plugged in, unplug them. Close any gas cylinders, like the ones you may have for your oven. Stop the water to your dish washer and washing machine. Check that there’s no water leak in your home.

As you’re getting ready to leave for your long trip, ensure all windows are closed and all doors locked.

Only keep turned on what’s required

You may want to eat all the bits in your freezer before you go. Realistically, you may not be able to. You can put a coin on a glass filled with frozen water. If there’d been a power cut, you can tell for how long by the way the coin is now in the glass of water. A short power cut would only thaw the water by a little bit while a longer power cut may have melted the entire glass and the coin would be at the bottom of the glass. If that’s the case, you’re better off throwing out the frozen goods.

What about your pets

While you’re going away, you may not be able to take your furry friends with you. Will they get their own holiday by staying in a pet hotel? Will friends take them in? If they cannot be easily moved, think of that big aquarium, who will feed, clean and play with them? Especially during high season, it may be challenging to book a place in a kennel or find a pet sitter. Sort this out as early as possible.

Arrange for any medication or any special diet they need to follow. Have a little bit extra so you don’t need to rush when you’re back from your trip.

Arrange a plant sitter

How long can your plants go without any water? A day, a week or longer? Ask your friend or neighbour to water your plants. If you have a large garden and you may have a gardener, can they also look after your indoor plants? If you have a pet sitter, they often also look after the indoor plants while you’re on your long trip.

Don’t let mail pile up

Now, this may be an easy one in this region. How much mail do you get? If it’s delivered to your work, your colleagues can just leave it on your desk. If your mail is actually delivered to your home, ask a friend of neighbour to keep an eye on the mail box and empty it regularly. A front door with plenty of take away flyers becomes an easy object for burglars.

Pay your bills

Just because you’re enjoying the good life, you can’t forget your responsibilities here at home. Many providers have standing orders or you can pay them online as they come in. A direct debit gives you the opportunity to pay all bills without having to worry about their due dates.

Cover up your pool

Are you lucky enough to have your own pool? Drain the water or cover it up while you’re away. It will reduce the evaporation and save you money! A proper cover can also prevent an accidental drowning, if anyone comes over using it unannounced.

Let the police keep an eye out

This summer, the local police is offering to watch your house. If you have a neighbourhood watch, they may offer the same service. Notify them when you’ll be away and also give them your contact number in case they need to reach you.

Leave your contact details

While we all expect nothing special to happen while you’re on your long trip, there may be instances when your friend or neighbour or your pet or house sitter needs to contact you. Give them your contact details. Consider what kind of authority they have or need to have if they can’t reach you. Do you need to give them any money for emergencies?

Are you going on a looong trip and need a reliable pet and house sitter? Contact me and find out how we can help you enjoy your peace of mind while away.

Until next time,

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