This handy checklist of 20 tasks to remember before you go away for the weekend could help to keep your house safe and avert disaster on your trip. What have you forgotten?
Check your insurance
If you have standard health insurance and ambulance cover, it’s likely that you will be insured in case of medical emergency whilst you are away for the weekend. It is, however, always good to check. The other insurance issue to consider is whether your electronic devices, such as your smartphone, camera, tablet or kindle would be covered in case of accident while travelling. It is often possible to have individual items within your contents insurance covered worldwide for an additional fee – it might be worth the extra cost for the month to insure these devices outside your home. Remember, you can always remove this option later to reduce your costs.
When packing your bags, check that your medications are on the list. Almost anything else you forget can be replaced or lived without, but any daily medications on which you rely will be difficult to source without the appropriate prescription. Always ensure that you have enough of your medications with you to last a few extra days, in case anything should go amiss during your holiday.
Reading glasses (and other essentials)
Other essential items on which you rely, including mobility aids, hearing aids, glasses (reading and otherwise), contact lens fluid etc. should be the next things in your case after medications. What good are all those books you’ve carefully packed if you forget your glasses?
The final essential category to ensure you pack are chargers for each of your devices. Unlike books your eReader will run out of battery, as will your phone, tablet, camera, laptop and electric toothbrush. Electrical devices always seem to run flat on your weekend away, so be sure to pack all the necessary chargers.
Cancel your newspaper
Even though you will only be gone for the weekend, it is important to cancel your newspaper for those few days. Stacked up newspapers are a sure sign that you are on holiday, and they can quickly turn your house into a burglary target.
Notify your neighbours
Let your neighbours know that you will be out of town for the weekend. That way if there is movement in or around your house they will know to contact you or the police to notify them that something could be wrong.
Lock all the doors
It might seem simple, but if you are travelling with a partner or your family then it can be easy to assume someone else has checked all the doors. Be sure to check locked doors and chock sliding doors out with blocks of wood.
Lock all the windows
It is so easy to forget that windows are as much a target as doors when someone is looking for a way into your home. Be sure to check the windows, and once again chock any sliding windows and screens with blocks of wood.
Leave a light on… sometimes
A light blazing through the kitchen window at 3am can alert people that you are not home, and that you have simply left the light on to ward off burglars. Instead of just flipping the switch, consider investing in a powerpoint timer plug, and setting a standing lamp to go on and off at appropriate intervals during the evening.
Prepare your pets
Ensure that any pets not travelling with you are taken care of. This means multiple bowls of food and water left at different locations, feeding the fish and checking that your canary has a well-stocked seed bowl.
Empty the fridge
Remove any food from the fridge which is likely to go bad during your holiday. It is never nice to come home to rotting food.
If you don’t want it to turn on over the weekend, unplug the device. Unplugging your TV, radio, toaster, microwave and washing machine will protect them from power surges, and save you money while you are away.
Take out the rubbish
Remove the rubbish from all the inside bins. This way you will come home to a fresh smelling house.
Turn off the climate control
If you have central heating or cooling, turn it off while you are away. It is a waste of power to heat or cool a home with nobody inside to appreciate the regulated temperature.
Avoid social media
No matter how excited you are about your trip, avoid mentioning it on social media. You never know who might be watching your updates, and burglars are now using social media to alert themselves to an empty house nearby. Instead save the photos and stories for when you get back – that way you can make everyone jealous come Monday morning.
Remove your spare key
Nobody is fooled by that plastic rock. If someone realises you aren’t home, the first thing they will do is search under the doormat, flowerpot, inside your shoes and in that plastic rock for your spare key. Leave it inside for the weekend to prevent easy breaking and entering.
Water the plants
Water any indoor plants before you leave, especially if it is going to be hot over the weekend.
If you are worried about your garden, you could purchase a soaker hose and a tap timer. This way you can choose to turn the soaker hose on for one hour each day, ensuring your plants stay alive while you enjoy the holiday.
Close the curtains
Closing the curtains or not is a contentious issue. Some would argue that a house full of closed curtains can alert potential thieves to your weekend away. Others suggest that closing the curtains stops people looking in to check whether you are home. This one really is up to you.
Check the washing machine
Just before you go, double check that you haven’t left any soggy clothes in the washing machine. Just don’t forget to turn it off and unplug it again!