Is Your Home Safe and Secure While You Are Away?
Have You Given the Game Away About Your Travel Plans?
Is Someone Watching or Staying in the Property For You?
Are Pets & Plants Taken Care Of?
If you have pets, they will, of course, have to be taken care of. Consider whether you can get someone in to look after them at home. This will be preferable in most cases, as pets will be happiest in their home environment. However, in certain circumstances, you may have to consider a cattery or kennels. Make sure you look into options for pet care in advance, so you are not scrabbling around trying to work something out at the last minute.
You may also have houseplants that need to be watered while you are away. Make sure you make arrangements, so you don’t come home to a lot of dead foliage. If you have a garden, especially if you grow your own food, you will also have to consider what will happen to all your flowers, fruits and vegetables while you are away.
Before You Go:
In An Established Garden:
- Mulch around vegetables and amongst flowers and shrubs in beds and borders with good organic mulches to fertilise and hold moisture in the soil.
- Cut back unwieldy shrubs and stake tall, fragile plants in case of wind.
- Put up shade netting in greenhouse and/or over plants that will dry out in too much sun.
- Remove all open flowers from healthy bedding plants to get more blooms on your return.
- Deadhead all the flowers in your beds and borders.
- Harvest all possible produce from the vegetable patch that will go to waste, preserve or store and give excess to friends and neighbours.
- Mow your lawn and strim edges.
- Weed as thoroughly as possible.
- If dry weather is expected, consider installing irrigation such a clay pot irrigation or similar.
In A Small-Scale/Container Garden:
- Soak each container well, ideally by placing each one in a larger container of water and allowing it to soak up water from the base.
- Move all the containers into an area of shade if possible.
- Clump containers together to increase humidity.
- Cover delicate plants with shade netting if possible.
- If possible, place hanging baskets in a depression in the soil of a bed or border.
- Set up a temporary automatic watering system if you do not have one already. Run strips of absorbent fabric or capillary matting from a water butt into your containers.
- Alternatively, place bottles upside down in the soil in your containers, filled with water. Water will be drawn out when needed.
Whatever kind of garden you have, if you are lucky enough to have someone reliable to come and check on your garden now and then while you are away, water and maybe even do a few jobs then of course this will be preferable to leaving everything to its own devices. But not all of us are lucky enough to have someone to help us out in this way. Follow the above advice and while you may have one or two casualties along the way, your garden should still look great when you return from your much needed holiday.
Is Your Home Fully Insured?
- Theft or Vandalism
- Damage Caused by Lightning
- Water Damage
If you are going away, it is important to make sure that there is nothing that will invalidate your insurance or make insurance companies less likely to pay out. You should note that insurance companies may not pay out for loss due to theft if doors were not locked, alarms were not set, or you shared your plans openly on social media.
Are Your Doors & Windows All Secured?
Have You Set Any Alarms?
If you do not have a burglar alarm at home, it could be a good idea to consider fitting one, especially if you live in a high-risk area. Having alarms fit can lower the costs of home insurance and will, of course, act as a deterrent to thieves as well as protecting your home while you are away on holiday.
If you do have a burglar alarm, make sure before you go away that it is set and fully functional. It is also a good idea to make sure that fire and carbon monoxide detectors are also set and functioning correctly before you travel away from home.
Can You Make It Look Like Someone Is Still Home?
Do you remember the film ‘Home Alone’? While you will be unlikely to be so inventive with your own preparations, it can be a good idea to make it look like there is still someone at home. One way to do so is to consider installing timers on some lights, so these come on and off at certain times and make it look like there is someone in the property. Another option could be to ask a friend or neighbour to park in the drive, so that the absence of a vehicle is not noted by anyone casing the joint.
Are Any Keys Or Valuables On Display?
It is all well and good locking up carefully, but if you leave your keys visible and accessible then this defeats the object. Thieves have been known to hook keys from near a door through a cat/dog flap or letterbox. Leaving keys where they can be easily seen through a window could entice thieves, as could leaving valuables such as laptops or other electronics on display. Make sure portable, valuable items you are not taking are put away out of sight before you go on holiday.
Are Electronics Unplugged?
It is also a good idea to make sure that all electronic items such as computers and televisions are unplugged before you go away if your property is going to be lying empty. Not only will this save you money if you forget to turn any of them off, it will also reduce fire risks and protect electronic items in the case of a blown fuse or lightning strike.
Have You Left A GPS On Display In Your Car At the Airport?
One final thing to consider is that a GPS left in your car at the airport could be used to lead thieved back to your empty home. If your car is stolen, thieves could use a GPS to find out your home address and steal more from you. Make sure that your car is secure, parked in a safe place, and that you remove the GPS from the vehicle.
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