Whitney is a home improvement writer for Dickson Plumbing LLC with previous experience as an editor for Upwork. She is a family-oriented person who is studying Psychology at Florida International University. When she isn’t delving deep into research, editing, writing, or studying, she can be found riding horses. She created an outlet for both her passions in horses and writing with her site...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2020

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Let’s face it – leaving your home unattended for an extended amount of time can be stressful. There are simply too many things to do around the home before you travel.

Making sure you get everything done before you go away can get extremely overwhelming. And this may leave you asking: “What are the most important things to do before I travel?!”

Well, let’s take a look at 5 important steps you should take before you travel!

Step #1: Have Your Mail Taken Care Of While You're Away

Having your mail taken care of while you’re gone can be extremely important. You can manage your mail in several ways. You can get a family friend to grab your mail for you and they can keep your mail until you get back. Or, you can have them put your mail inside your home for you so it’s there as soon as you get back.

If all else fails, another way to manage your mail when you travel is to have the post office hold it for you.

Most of the time, you can go online, verify your identity, and request up to a 30-day mail-hold. However, if you’re away for longer than 30 days, you can also have your mail forwarded somewhere else.

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Step #2: Secure Your Locks

Securing your in-home locks is very important when you’re going away. If any of the locks on your windows and doors are currently not functioning properly, or they simply don’t make you feel secure, consider adding deadbolts to your exterior doors and hefty locks to your windows.

We all know taking steps to secure your home before traveling can keep away that extra vacation anxiety. In fact, securing your locks may save you the stress of spending extra money as well. Some home insurance companies offer discounts for certain security devices.

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Step #3: When Traveling, Give Your Lights a Schedule

There are many signs burglars look for when assessing homes to break into. One of these things is the lights.

Having the lights off for days at a time is a great way to signal that your house is vacant and ready to break into.

Indoor Lights

Keeping your indoor lights turned off while you’re away is the biggest signal to those who want in your home. Thankfully, it is now possible to go get a light timer for relatively cheap.

Light timers will automatically turn your lights on and off at whatever intervals you’d like. This will give the illusion that someone is home even if you’re thousands of miles away, carpooling with your friends across the country.

Luckily, with the advancement of technology, you don’t have to have someone manually control your lights. There are also “smart” home management systems that you can use to manage your house from your phone. They can turn the lights on and off, and sometimes even set your thermostat. These “smart” options are generally more expensive than your standard light timer. But if you have the money, a smart home system could be a great investment.

Of course, indoor lights aren’t the only lights to worry about...

Outdoor Lights

People often forget outdoor lights can play a big role in whether a burglar chooses your home or not. If you don’t have any outdoor lights installed, consider getting motion sensor LED lights.

Not only will these lights signal if someone is in your yard, LED’s use 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer compared to regular lights.

If you frequently walk through an area of your yard at night while you’re home, you could also get solar-powered lights. These lights will charge during the day, and remain bright all night. Plus they’ll do all of this without racking up your energy bill. Not only will you have added security while you’re away, but these outdoor lights can help you while you’re home as well.

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Step #4: Unplug Your Electronics

When you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to unplug any electronics.

These electronics include, but are not limited to:

  • Kitchen Appliances,
  • Phone Chargers,
  • Lamps,
  • Televisions,
  • Desktop computers,
  • And more.

Even if you have electronics that are normally “off”, you still want to be sure to unplug them. They can still be leaching energy and making your bill go up. They can also pose a possible fire hazard. Additionally, if a storm comes through a power surge could easily destroy any devices you have plugged in. In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Secure Your Data

It’s also a good idea to unplug your wireless internet and computer when you’re away as well. This can secure your data from any possible hackers. As great as technology is, it has to be handled with care. If you’re a millennial traveling from city to city, the last thing you want on vacation is for your personal data to be compromised.

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Step #5: Make Sure Your Bills Are Paid Ahead of Time

Paying your bills ahead of time means you won’t have to make calls to pay your bills while you're on the road. This will keep your drive distraction-free. You won’t have to worry about making sure you took care of those upcoming payments. And you’ll be free to have fun while you’re away from home.

You should also have money set aside for paying anyone who is helping you mind your home while you’re away.

This money can be for people such as:

  • Dog sitter/kennel
  • House sitter
  • Family friend or neighbor

Be Secure, But More Importantly, Have Fun!

Overall, there are many things you should do around your home before you travel. But doing these five things can greatly reduce your stress while you’re away. When you are finally ready to leave your home for a while, you’ll be able to take a deep breath, letting go of any stress that would hold you back from having a good time while you’re away.