Even if your dream vacation consists of simply kicking back, digging your toes into the sand and watching the waves gently roll against the beach, there’s still a degree of planning that’s unavoidably a part of any vacation. Check out these helpful tips on how to prep your home before leaving for your next summer adventure so you can focus on the important things (like picking out the perfect bathing suit)!

Welcome Home
Set yourself up from a welcoming, refreshing return home from your vacation by leaving a clean house when you set off. Do away with all perishable foods, empty all trash containers, wipe down surfaces and take care of your laundry before you go. You’ll also want to unplug devices with power bricks attached, small appliances and your modem and router before heading off. This way, you’ll be able to walk in, drop your bags, collapse onto the nearest piece of furniture and start daydreaming about your next getaway.

For Pet Owners
Sadly, sometimes your four-legged family members and your vacation plans just don’t go together. In the case that you’ll be leaving a pet (or several) behind, make sure that your arrangements with their host (friend, family, or pet boarding facility) include detailed care instructions, noting their favorite foods, required medicine (if necessary), and other considerations. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, calling and asking that your pet be put on the phone is optional.

Avoid an Overflowing Mailbox
Nothing gives away the fact that your home will be temporarily unoccupied like an overstuffed mailbox (or newspapers piling up in the driveway, for those that still like to enjoy the paper with their cup of morning joe). Make a call to your post office and news carrier to prevent your papers piling up and marking your home as an easy target. Similarly, if you’ll be taking a sabbatical from your e-mail correspondence, setting up an auto-reply on your e-mail will let your contacts know when to expect to hear back from you.

Clearing Your Schedule
While “summer” and “vacation” go together like bonfires and the beach, individual schedules are as various as the people they belong to. Coordinate your vacation time with your children’s schedules and put the request for time-off from work well in advance to ensure availability and avoid scheduling issues with summer school or other obligation. Make sure to return home at least a few days before the new school term begins to allow time for rest and school shopping!

Maintain a Lived-In Look
Setting your lights on an automatic timer is a great way to maintain a lived-in look for your home, and discourage any unwanted interest. Similarly, leaving a parkers car in the drive way is an inconspicuous way of suggesting that your home is still occupied. Even better, ask a friend or family to housesit (even if just to drop in briefly when possible) while you’re off enjoying your well-earned vacation!

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