AIRPLANEPlanning to take a vacation or visit with friends and family in another town or city during the Christmas holidays?  Take the time to assure that your pets and your home are safe.  Here is a checklist you might want to consider:

a)  contact your pet sitter long ahead of time to assure that they are available to take care of your pets.  They could be going away on holidays too and you might be surprised that you have no one to care for your pets while you’re away.  Friends and family may travel too making them unavailable.

b)  find a neighbor or a friend to bring in your mail, newspapers and other deliveries.  Nothing tells would-be burglars of an empty house like newspapers, flyers, and mail left outside or in the mailbox. 

c)  ask your friend too to check inside the house or apartment every couple of days to make sure nothing has happened.  You just never know when a pipe might leak or power goes out.

d)  give your contact information to your friend or neighbor including phone numbers where you will be staying, your cell number, and the details of your trip – when you’re leaving, on what airline or train, when you are coming back – date, time. 

e)  check on your insurance – are your premiums paid and your policy up to date.

f)  if you have a house or a lower-level condo or apartment, invest in some timers for your lights.  Install timers to turn lights on and off in different parts of your place

g)  get some little gifts for the friend or neighbor who helps you out and one for your pet sitter – it’s always a relief when you know your pet is being well taken care of when you are away (yes, even if you pay them)

The day before you leave:

a)  make sure you are on time to check your pet in with the sitter

b)  check that you have given the keys and the contact information to the person who will be bringing in your mail, collecting your papers and checking in on your place; give them any last details of what you’ll need to have them do while you’re away such as water the plants or check on the pet sitter

c)  water your plants, clean your fridge, clear out bowls of fruit (give them away) and any other perishables including milk, cream, leftovers, etc. (pour them out if you have no one to give them to), take your garbage out

Just before you leave:

a)  turn off the hot water tank if you have one

b) turn down the thermostat or put your furnace on vacation

c)  check that all taps are turned off, burners on the stove and over are turned off, timer switches on lights are on, lights on your Christmas tree are turned off, etc.  It’s best to make a written list of all the things you have to do just before you leave so you don’t forget anything and then fret later.

d)  adjust your blinds unless you have them on a timer too to open and close at different times

Now go have fun!

If you have other good ideas about securing your home while you’re away, don’t hesitate to comment on this blog!  You’ll be helping everyone!

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