Summer travel season: Home safety tips

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Your bags are packed, your reservations are confirmed - you've even completed your on-line check in and printed out your boarding passes! And yet…

Is your house as ready for you to hit the road as you are?

If you're like me, you make all kinds of lists to prepare for your vacation - what to pack, what to put in the carry on, etc. So why not one more?

With the summer travel season upon us, here's a basic checklist of things to do before you head out the door.

Stop deliveries - Call the paper, the grocery delivery guy or anyone else who makes regular stops at your house. A pile of papers is a sure sign of folks on vacation!

  • "Hold" your mail - Put in a "Hold Mail" order with the Post Office, especially if you're going to be gone for more than a few days. Go to www.usps.com to do it online. You wouldn't want your latest catalog order to be sitting outside for a few days before you get home.
  • Lawn, pets, plants - Who's going to take care of Fluffy and Fido while you're off having fun? You'll also want to arrange for someone to watch over your lawn. In this era of Homeowners Associations, a shaggy yard will alert people to your absence.
  • Get and set light timers - These are so reasonably priced and offer such piece of mind! Get two or three, one for the family room and/or living room, home office and bedroom. Stagger the time settings to go off and on at times where you would normally be in that part of the house. They go a long way to making an empty house look lived in!
  • Tell a trusted neighbor - Give them a house key and a copy of your itinerary so they can contact you in case of an emergency. Ask them to keep an eye out for those door hangers from the local pizza joint and any other colorful papers stuck to the door that say "we're not home!" You might also consider giving them a packet with copies of important documents - copies of passports, credit card company phone numbers, etc. – to be opened in case of an emergency.
  • Clean out the fridge - This isn't so much safety as sanitary! And let's be honest - who wants to do battle with fuzzy food when they come home?
  • Unplug small appliances - You may not think of your can opener as a fire hazard, but better safe than sorry! Toasters, toaster ovens - curling irons!! If you won't use it while you're gone, pull the plug.
  • Turn up the thermostat - Thank goodness for the "vacation hold" button on programmable thermostats! If you're using the manual kind, just move that dial up and save on your bill.
  • Double check doors and windows - It sounds basic - and it is - but you can't say this often enough!

I'm sure there are many home safety hints you might want to add to this list, and good for you! The more you plan, the more relaxed you'll be when you walk out that door!

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Whether it’s Cancun or Cable Cars, we can help you plan your next vacation at TravelationOnline! Give us a call at 602-252-1140 (or toll-free at 888-751-2032 if you're outside the Metro Phoenix area codes of 602, 480 and 623) or you can reach me directly via e-mail at rosanne@travelationonline.com. I look forward to hearing from you!