Getting Ready for Vacation? 3 Big Mistakes Most Homeowners Make

You’re getting ready for vacation and checking off all the boxes to prepare for your trip. Good for you! But are you making these 3 big mistakes before going away?

Most homeowners think they are doing the right thing when preparing for vacation, but the truth is, doing these three things can be detrimental to your home’s safety. Make sure you know what they are (and remove them your list)!

vacation preparation

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn what NOT to do when you’re preparing for a vacation to keep your home safe:

Who Knew These Vacation Preparations Could Compromise Your Home?

Getting your home in order before a vacation is as imperative to the comfort of our trip (and our return) as packing the right things and booking the best accommodation. 

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many of us, some steps that seem like pre-vacation no-brainers can actually hinder our trips and increase the chances that we’ll have something unpleasant to come home to. 

While you won’t want to skip the cleaning spree, there home-based vacation preparation mistakes that you might be making. Here are just a few that you’ll probably want to cut from your prep from now on. 

Mistake #1: Doubling Down on Security

Statistics reveal that summer is the most popular time for home break-ins, most likely because this is vacation season. As much as hearing this may make you want to stock up on new security, doing so could backfire. 

After all, nothing says empty house like revamped security setups, especially during prime vacation time. Knowing that your house is empty will especially allow thieves to work out security blind spots, or somehow crack your system altogether. 

By comparison, subtly asking neighbors to keep an eye out, or even draw and open your curtains each day, makes your house look lived in, and therefore like a far less appealing prospect for a break-in than even the most expensive security system could.

If you’re not comfortable letting even your neighbors know you’ll be away, look to automated methods of making your home look lived in. For instance, you can install these smart lightbulbs and set them to “vacation mode.” That way, they will automatically turn on and turn off to mimic realistic use as though you were home.

This is even better than using the old-fashioned manual light timer, which after a few days of observation, reveals the tell-tale pattern of you being away to observant burglers.

Related Article: Find out how to further minimize burglaries while you’re away.

Mistake #2 | Turning Off Your Appliances

Advice tends to lean towards turning off appliances before heading away, but this isn’t always wise. 

For refrigerators, especially, the expense and energy usage of cooling a thawed fridge on your return is guaranteed to be more than if you had let it run for the course of your trip. 

Switching off your heating at a time when you would normally have it on (specifically when taking trips during winter) could also lead to frozen pipes and other setbacks. That might have you  returning to a cold house and seeking a heater repair before you’ve even unpacked. 

To avoid these mishaps, think carefully about what you’re unplugging, why, and how you stand to benefit/pay from doing so.

Related Article: Learn how you can handle broken appliances.

getting ready for vacation - taking out trash

Mistake #3 | Should You Put Trash Bins Out When Getting Ready for Vacation?

This may seem simple in comparison to the other steps mentioned, but putting the trash bins out in advance is another significant problem that a surprising amount of us make. 

After all, we’re getting away to escape reality, not spend our trips worrying about whether we missed trash day. 

In addition to further highlighting the fact that our homes are empty, exposed bins leave us at risk of rodents, broken bags, and a whole load of an ongoing mess that no one wants to return to. 

Instead, again ask neighbors or a friend if they could take your bins out for you nearer to the time and return them at the end of that day, keeping your safety and sanity far better in check. 

Or, if your town has a pay-per-bag system where you can leave trash bags out without a bin and they will take them altogether, that might be an option to consider.

However, don’t overlook the option of not putting your trash out at all. As long as it’s tightly stored in a trash bin, it can likely wait a week before it goes out. So when you’re getting ready for vacation, it’s okay to leave the trash until you get back rather than tipping off thieves.

Final Thoughts on Big Mistakes When Getting Ready for Vacation

If you get vacation preparation right, you can enjoy peace of mind on vacation, as well as an enjoyable return without any big surprises. That’s not a lot to ask during and after every single trip that you take. 

Photo credits: Trinity Nguyen (Unsplash)

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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