Going away on holiday this summer?
Whether you're heading off to your favourite camp ground or jetting abroad for an overseas adventure, there are a million things to think about to get your family and house organised before you leave.
No one likes to feel as though they have forgotten to do or pack something important, so use this cheat sheet to make sure you have all the essentials covered off.
- Let your neighbour know you'll be away. Having a pair of watchful eyes on your house while you're gone will give you some peace of mind. Alert a trusted neighbour of the dates you will be away and ask that they keep an eye on the house and (if you can wrangle it) ask if they would mind watering your lawn and plants. Leave them with your mobile phone number should they need to contact you and be sure to get theirs as well in case of emergency.
- Make arrangements for pets. Unfortunately for the family dog, most holiday destinations won't allow for him to come along with you. Make plans to have him looked after by a friend or booked in at a boarding kennel so you know he's in the very best hands while you're away. Be sure to book kennels early as they get busy over the holiday period.
- Give a friend a key. You did turn the oven off before you left... didn't you? It's best to leave a spare key with a friend who lives in the area so they can drop by and double check that the oven / hair straightener / light wasn't left on. Make sure you remove the spare key you have hidden under the pot plant by the front door as well... that's not fooling anybody.
- Share your itinerary with family. In case of emergency, it's nice to know that someone knows exactly where you are on each day you're away. Leave a copy of your travel plans with family as an extra safety precaution.
- Let your bank know you're leaving. If you're heading out of the country this summer, make sure you alert your bank that there will be some international activity on your card. Banks are great at shutting down your account if they suspect fraudulent use, but if you've failed to let them know you're away, you could be left without any money abroad.
- Put your mail on hold. Having a mailbox that is full-to-the-brim with uncollected mail is a dead giveaway to any would-be burglars that no one is home. Organise for a friend or neighbour to collect it for you, or put your mail on hold with Australia Post.
- Stop papers being delivered. Similar to postal mail, having a stack of old newspapers on your front lawn isn't a good look. Be sure to halt your daily newspaper delivery for the duration of your holiday.
- Take your rubbish. No one wants to come back from a blissful holiday to a full garbage bin buzzing with flies. Make sure your big bins are emptied the week leading up to your departure and take any rubbish from the house with you to dump on your way out of town. Easy.
- Check the vitals. While there are many things you can buy while you're away if you forget to pack it (i.e: bathers, book, clothing), other things are essential to have with you. If you're leaving the country, make sure everyone has a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity) tickets and accommodation confirmation.
- Confirm leaving time. Unless your family is super-dooper organised, most will usually run behind schedule with last-minute things to pack and do before they leave the house. Double check the time you need to arrive at your destination / airport etc., and give yourself an extra half an hour to combat any unexpected hold-ups along the way.
- Night lights. You won't want to leave your lights on the whole time you're away, but having a light on in the house indicates that someone is home and deters anyone who may have been thinking of breaking in. You can buy a light switch timer, which will automatically turn your lights on and off according to a programmed schedule. These don't cost too much and are available at your local hardware store.
- Unplug electronics. Protect your electronic equipment from power surges and lightening strikes by unplugging them at the wall. Take a tour of your house and unplug your TV, computer, toaster etc., so no damage can be done. This will also save on unnecessary power usage! While you're at it, shut off the waterlines to your washing machine to avoid flooding problems.
- Check your windows. Yes, you've locked the doors, but have you closed and double checked the windows? Make sure all windows are secured and locked. If someone enters your house through an unlocked window while you're away, you may have trouble claiming insurance on any stolen items.
- Take prescription medication. Take any prescriptions you need day-to-day, along with anything you MAY need (and prove hard to find without your family doctor).
- Empty the fridge. Remove all perishables from your fridge and scrap the leftovers that have been sitting half-eaten in containers for days. You're not going to want to deal with that on your return.
All ticked off? You're ready to go on a stress-free vacation. Enjoy!