A vacation is perfect way to escape the routine, recharge your battery and have some fun. Planning time away from your home and pets can be time-consuming, stressful and expensive if not done right. Because vacations happen on a timeline, and are often costly, saving money and time in your pre-travel planning will ensure you can still get on the plane with peace of mind, and cash in your wallet. Follow these helpful tips, to make sure your home and pets are cared for and secure, during your vacation.
Have a Plan
It’s important to know what to do, and when, ahead of time to avoid any last minute delays or missed steps before you go. Make a checklist that you regularly consult to avoid forgetting any necessary steps when you’re planning your getaway.
• Communicate and Delegate. Save on costly hired help, by having a family member or close friend as the go-to person to be in charge of your home, should something come up, or need attending. Give them a printed list of your travel plans, a key, and any instructions for taking over safety issues, deliveries, or mail, when you’re gone.
• Secure Your Pets. Rather than spend money on a pet boarding, or houseplant care service, explore other more cost effective options. Check in with friends to care for your them in their home, or yours. Don’t forget to offer them a small token of gratitude for their time and effort, like a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or a souvenir from your vacation.
• Zip the Lip. Although publicly blabbing on Facebook or to your neighbors about your tropical vacation may be tempting, it’s just not safe. It opens the door for potential intruders to invade your space during your absence. Keep your home and pets protected, and save the posts and pics for when you get home.
Tip from the Expert: Make sure you use all available resources when planning your trip. Sometimes ever a double check on flight prices can save you a ton of money!
It’s important to stay safe if you’re having a friend watch your home, hiring help, renting it out, or leaving it empty, make sure to consider these tips to save money:
• Conserve Utilities. Save on utilities by addressing your lighting, windows and doors. Think about installing a timer, or remote lighting control or temperature devices to turn your lights on and off and adjust heating and cooling.
• Protect Access. Remove all keys you’ve hidden outside, and lock upper and lower windows. Place shortened dowel rods in the tracts of an upper window you leave open for circulation, for plants or pets, to avoid its being opened further. Lock sheds, garage entry doors, sliding glass doors and enclosed porch screen doors.
• Pull the Plugs. Unplug everything you can. Plugged-in items can drain power from outlets even when they’re not in use, especially electronics with power adapters or box transformers in the plugs.
• Rent Your Space. AirBnB and HomeAway are excellent services for property owners to rent out their homes or vacation houses when they’re unoccupied. It’s a great way to earn money on your space, and keep it maintained during your travels. Research your options and check out this resource to do all you can to get the most out of your home year-round.
Tip from the Expert: Renting your empty space is my absolute favorite way to keep the home secure on vacation. However, make sure you vet your tenants, especially is using Craigslist. There are resources that don’t require the exchange of private information, such as this one, but Google, in all its glory, has several additional options.
Property & Lawn Care
Even if you have to hire someone to take care of your property while you’re gone, you can still save money if you plan properly, to keep the costs under control.
• Check Home Systems. Inspect all running systems like the sprinkler, home alarm, water heaters and climate control systems to avoid any unnecessary and costly home service visits when you’re traveling.
• Mow with a Plan. Avoid cutting your lawn before traveling in the summer. Shorter grass requires more water, and is prone to scorching if the coming weather may be hot or dry. If you’ll be gone for longer than a week and don’t have a landscaper, cut it extra short the day before you go, and give it more water than usual. If you have sprinklers, look into installing a timer before you go to keep your lawn healthy.
• Trust Your Property Care. Hiring a renter for the home? Get them to property landscape for you. Cut a few bucks off rent and have them be in charge of your garden maintenance. If you need to, write up a quick ‘how to’ for any person, renter or local friend. Need help with writing? Check out this guide.
• Stock Up. Purchase ample fertilizers, pool and tub shock, and run through all the details with your service provider, so they can find supplies if they need them.
• Garden with Forethought. Use wet leaves and grass clippings over landscaped areas to keep down weeds when you’re away. Harvest anything you can from your garden, and trim everything as much as possible to keep growth and weeds from overtaking your yard.
• Deter Unwanted Visitors. Be proactive about warding off opportunistic animals and pests from your garden. Make a simple temporary fence from chicken wire and small wooden posts, or purchase wire bell-shaped covers, called cloches, at your hardware store to cover plants individually. Remove brush piles to discourage nesting, and place garlic clippings as a scent deterrent.
Tip from the Expert: Keep Native plants in your garden and garden maintenance will not be an issue even while you are home. Check out this great resource for more information.
Vacationing is a much-needed and well-deserved time to recharge. With a little forethought and planning, the extra work will pay off when you return from your exciting adventures to a happy home and extra money to spare.
Guest Blogger Bio: ‘Hanky Panky’, as Hank likes to call it, is when you engage in and complete the best DIY projects around. From gardening to window installation, Hank loves to work on it. Check him out on Twitter @homebyhank