Vacation season: It’s finally here! Maybe you’re headed to a week of relaxing on the beach; maybe you’re jetting off on a fabulous international journey. But before you start packing, no matter where you’re going, you’ve got a few things to take care of in your apartment first.
No one wants to worry about what’s going on at home when they’re out of town. So take care of these tasks before you go on vacation, and you’ll rest easy while you’re away.
1. Tell your landlord.
There’s probably something in your lease about pre-vacation procedure. Read your agreement, then give your landlord a written description of when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. Including your contact information is also a good idea, but if you’re not planning on checking your email every day of your trip (and we hope you won’t!), include a sentence about having limited access to email and voice mail.
- Read more: Month-to-Month Leases: What You Need to Know
2. Figure out the parking situation.
If your car is coming with you — road trip! — this isn’t an issue. But if your car will be parked at your apartment community while you’re away, you need to take care of a few things. First, take all valuables out of your car, roll up the windows and lock the doors. Then, move it to an out-of-the-way spot – it would be rude to hog a prime parking place while you’re not even there.
Your landlord might have an ideal spot in mind for leaving your car. Be sure to ask!
3. Put your mail on hold.
Your local post office will hold on to your mail instead of delivering it to your mailbox while you’re away. The process is easy: Just fill out an online form detailing where you live and when you’ll be out of town. Go to the post office to pick it up when you return, and you won’t have to deal with a stuffed-to-the-gills mailbox.
If you haven’t done so already, arrange for your bills to be paid online. Scheduling automatic withdrawals from your bank account will ensure you never miss a payment.
4. Arrange for pet care.
Can’t take Fluffy with you on vacation? Arrange to leave your furry friends with a friend or family member, or make a reservation at a boarding facility. Print out a detailed list of what kind of food and what time of day your pet eats, as well as instructions for medications.
5. Adjust the thermostat.
You want to be comfortable when you’re at home, but when you’re away, you can save money and energy by letting the temperature creep up a little. Set your thermostat to keep your empty apartment between 80 and 85 degrees – this will keep your utility bill in check without letting the indoor air get too stifling.
Check the weather forecast for your hometown before you leave. Will the weather be nice? You might be able to turn off the thermostat altogether while you’re gone.
6. Ask a friend or neighbor to check on things while you’re gone.
If you’ve got houseplants, someone needs to keep them watered. Plus, having someone come and go at least once a day will make it look like someone is home, and that deters burglars.
If you can’t find anyone to come by, invest in a timer that’ll turn on your lights at certain times of the evening. You can find a plug-in timer for around $5 at your local home improvement store. The timer won’t water your plants for you, but it’ll make it look like someone is in the apartment.
7. Unplug electronics.
Appliances use energy if they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Before you take off, unplug things like your toaster, coffeemaker, television, alarm clock and computer. No need to pay for that energy consumption when you’re not even home to use it.
- Read more: 5 Easy DIY Ways to Boost Energy Efficiency
8. Clean the place.
It’s nice to come home to a clean, organized home, so remember to put away the dishes, catch up on your laundry and vacuum thoroughly before you leave. Most importantly, take out the garbage! If you don’t, the smell that’ll greet you when you return will not be a pleasant welcome-home surprise.
Now you can enjoy your vacation with the knowledge that all is well at home. Bon voyage!
Images: Shutterstock / bikeriderlondon, stuart.renneberg