You deserve a vacation! Taking a break from your everyday life is important for your health, your relationships, and your ability to get things done.

A study from the University of New York found that taking a vacation every so often could help you live longer. Whether you want to get away to an island, travel to a European city for two, finally take that great American road trip, or just stay home, unplugging and relaxing may be just what the doctor ordered.

But we get it. Printing out your boarding pass, packing your carry-on bag, and making notes in your guidebooks aren't the only things you have to do to get ready to leave. We're here to help you relax with some travel tips for homeowners.

We've made a list of things to do before you leave to make sure your home is as safe and organized as possible.

Call the security company for your home

If you have a home security system, let the company know when you'll be away. Make sure they know the name of the neighbour or house sitter who might be coming to your home to take care of your plants, pets, or mail. If the alarm goes off by accident and the security company has their names on file, the problem can be fixed faster.

Lock up your valuables

Buy a good safe to keep your valuables and important papers out of harm's way. For example, this SentrySafe is fireproof and waterproof, and more than 5,000 people have given it 5 stars on Amazon.

What should you keep locked up? Most likely, you'll want to keep these things safe:

  • Jewelry, gold, or loose stones
  • Birth certificates
  • Extra credit cards and debit cards
  • Photocopy of your driver’s license
  • Social security card
  • Deed to your property
  • Car title
  • Medical documents
  • Passports (if you’re not traveling abroad, of course)

Think about getting home insurance

Before you leave, it might be a good idea to look over your homeowners insurance and make sure you have enough coverage for your home and valuables in case they are stolen or damaged by a natural disaster.

Did you know that your homeowner's insurance also covers your valuables when you travel? Check your home insurance, personal property insurance, and scheduled personal property insurance more closely (which we call Extra Coverage here at Ikamet). Make the necessary changes and enjoy some well-earned peace of mind. We also made this guide to answer the question, "What is home insurance?" "to help you understand the basics of home insurance and more.

Arrange a pet sitter

“Since my parents are away, I get extra treats!” Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam ✪ / Unsplash

If you don't take your furry family with you on vacation (and let's be honest, cats can't really appreciate the beauty of Prague), they'll need some care while you're gone. Dogs can go to a friend's house, hang out with a dog sitter, or stay at a kennel as long as their vaccinations are up to date.

On the other hand, cats are very territorial and don't like to be in a new place. If you'll only be gone for a week or so, you might want to have someone stop by every day to feed, water, clean the litter box, and scratch behind your cats' ears. If you're going to be gone for a long time, you might want to hire a house sitter (see below), who would stay at your home.

Making plans for a house sitter? Make sure they have what they need to do well

If you ask someone to stay at your house to take care of your pets, plants, and other things, give them a list of things to do to keep your house in good shape. Since they're taking care of your most valuable possession, small acts of kindness will go a long way: Putting food in the fridge, putting out a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries, and giving them your Netflix password.

Cover all your bases by telling them where you keep important things and giving them a list of phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.

Call a friend

Even if you don't hire a house sitter, it's still a good idea to have a plan B. Pick a friend, family member, or neighbour to be your "point of contact" in case of an emergency. Make them a spare key and send them travel documents and insurance information that they can print out. If your flight is late, you know someone you can trust who can track it and make sure you get there safely.

If your luggage gets lost and you need your travel insurance, or if you fall and need your travel health insurance (cross your fingers), that friend can keep your policy information handy so they can send it to the hospital or call them if you're in a jam. Especially if you're traveling alone, this is important.

Give your plants water

Keeping your plant babies alive can be a full-time job Photo by Huy Phan / Unsplash

Taking care of your plants can be a full-time job.

There's nothing worse than getting back from a vacation and seeing that all of your plants have died. Give your plants plenty of water (but not too much) before you leave for the airport. , but if you don't want to hire a house sitter, you can ask a friend or pay the neighbour's kid to come by every few days to water your plants. But make sure your plant sitter locks up after themselves. If they don't, your insurance won't cover theft if they don't!

Clear your yard

Your backyard and patio are an extension of your house, so it makes sense that your yard is full of gardening tools, toys, furniture, and other random things. Gather up your gardening tools, toys, and expensive patio chairs and put them away. Make sure to store everything in your garage or somewhere else safe. You don't want your stuff to get damaged by the rain or stolen.

If you live in a condo, you may have a shared outdoor space. Before you leave, you should make sure your stuff isn't in the yard. You don't want someone to get hurt by stepping on a rake.

Get rid of old food and the trash

All of us have been there. You know you're going on vacation in a few days, so you don't go to the store and try to eat all the food in your fridge (anyone for a BBQ chicken, tofu, and kimchi sandwich?) before you leave.

But if you don't eat all of the food that goes bad, throw it away before you leave. If you don't, you'll come home to Tupperware full of moldy food.

Empty all the trash cans in your house, including those in the bathroom and bedroom. Your future self, tired from a long flight and with jet lag, will appreciate coming home to a home that smells nice.

Unplug electronic devices

"Energy vampires" are electronics that use a small amount of power even when they're not being used. Devices like cell phone chargers, toasters, coffee makers, and video game consoles are often used by vampires. If you unplug all of these devices before you leave, you'll use less energy overall and keep your devices safe in case of a lightning storm. This is a simple way to be green that you could use even when you're not on vacation.

Do your laundry

One more spin cycle until you’re free! Photo by PlanetCare / Unsplash

Sorry to play mom, but those sweaty workout clothes at the bottom of your laundry basket won't smell any better when you get back from vacation. Do one last load of laundry before you leave to keep the pile of laundry small when you get back.

Just make sure you don't leave a load of laundry in the washer by accident before you take off. Mildewy clothes are really annoying.

Pack the important things

Even when you're not at home, there are a few things you should keep with you (or on your phone) just in case:

  • Proof of insurance, like your homeowners insurance declarations page
  • Your usernames and passwords
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • Plenty of sunscreen!

Before you fly off...

Leave the stress behind. Photo by shawnanggg / Unsplash

Before you leave on your dream vacation, take steps to protect and secure your home. This will help you enjoy every relaxing moment and exciting adventure that lies ahead.

No matter what happens, you'll still want to make sure you have the right travel insurance to protect you. With Ikamet Sigorta, you can cover your holiday for as little as $20, and more. Bon voyage!

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