If you’re like most of us, getting ready to go on vacation can be a chaotic flurry of activity. You have to remember to pack enough pairs of underpants, work out someone to come by and feed your fish, and check your bank account repeatedly to be sure no sudden large charges or bills pop up that you may have forgotten about. In all of the excitement it can be easy to forget that you, your kids, and your purse-size dog aren’t the only ones that need to be prepared when you head out of town. Your home also needs some attention paid to it before you disappear for a few days or weeks. Otherwise you might come back to more than just a sunburn and an empty pocketbook.
Don’t Forget the Little Things!
Did you know the mail comes every day? Well except Sunday, but I digress. The mail doesn’t stop just because you are on vacation – unless you put a stop on your mail, that is. If you don’t have someone who can come by and pick up your mail and place it somewhere safe, go to the post office and fill out a mail stop form. The post office will then hold your mail until the date you signify that you will return. A full mailbox is a glaring sign to ne’er do wells that you aren’t around. And the less the ne’er do wells know about your time away, the better.
It is also a good idea to clean out your perishable foods from the fridge before you head out, especially if you’ll be gone more than a few days. There’s nothing like coming back from an awesome trip to a tropical paradise, only to find spoiled milk and rotten lunch meat overpowering the refrigerator. You should also get a few timers and hook them up to lamps around the house. Set them to turn the lights on and off at varied times so it appears someone is still in the house during the day. Once again, you want to discourage those dang ne’er do wells from creating mischief while you’re away.
Set Up a Housesitter!
Unless you have a family member that is staying behind and can keep an eye on things, you should set up a friend or family member to check up on the place for you. If they can’t stay overnight they should come by at least once a day or every other day. They can pick up the mail (if you haven’t put a stop to it), turn on and off lights, feed the pets, watch your cable, snack their way through your pantry, try on your clothes, and check to make sure your toilets haven’t suddenly backed up or your ceilings haven’t caved in.
A housesitter can not only deter those ne’er do wells again, but can also be on hand in case of an emergency. There has been a time or two that I came back from a trip only to find the pipes had burst in the kitchen and flooded the room, or the dog had barreled its way through a window and feasted on the couch cushions. If someone had been watching the house for me, they could have caught these problems as soon as they occurred and kept them from getting worse. Make sure you leave phone numbers, emails, Twitter names, and CB radio handles in a convenient place so that whoever is watching things for you can reach you in case of emergency.
Vacation is awesome. We should all take one whenever we can. But getting prepared for vacation can be a total pain in the rear end. Do yourself a favor when you first start discussing your vacation and sit down to make a plan. Come up with packing lists as well as To Do lists for preparing home/work/school/etc for your absence. If you are vacationing with others, give everybody their own tasks to take care of and deadlines for getting them done. It might seem like a lot of work at the time, but believe me, it will make the actual time you are on vacation seem a whole lot better. Especially when you don’t have to worry about what those ne’er do wells might be doing to your home while you’re gone.
By the way, not to be too self-serving (except I totally am since I do work for FOX 28 and all), but if you are looking for a great vacation idea that you can take FOR FREE, enter to win FOX 28's Laguna Seca Red Bull US Grand Prix trip! Just check out the rules and boring legal stuff HERE and use the online entry form after watching the designated programming and you're all entered to win! It couldn't be easier! (Well obviously it COULD be easier, but now you are just getting nit-picky. Check it out anyway.)
The Programming on Fox blog series was not seen this week so we could bring you this Special Feature. Barring the zombie apocalypse or another Special Feature, Programming will return next Wednesday!
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