I am someone who just loves to travel. I sometimes have to leave my home, my adored pets, and my precious plants for up to 10 days. Usually just 3 – 5 days though, and not really that often. But being that it’s “That time of year” most of us will be travelling to someone, or somewhere for the season to be jolly ! And as we have so much else to think about with the gift giving, food eating and merriment drinking, its very easy to forget the essential steps you could take that will keep your own home safe and secure while you are visiting family and friends …
Here is a vital list of things I do to keep my beloved pets, home and Plants safe, and happy while I am away.
1 – Pets Come First
I have never, nor could I ever, put my pets in a kennel. My theory is I am going on holiday – I am not putting them in prison! So depending how long you are away for depends on the best solution here. And. as we know dogs have different needs than cats …
For example you can consider taking the dog with you? Maybe not so much the cat …
So I either get someone to stay in my home to look after them, or I have someone come round to attend. Depending how long you are going for depends on which solution will best suit. But make sure it’s someone who your animals know and love. And obviously, someone you really trust. Or you can even consider finding a professional to do this ….
Make sure you have all their necessities in abundance. Food, kitty litter, pop bags, toys etc …
And leave a list of important numbers and addresses – Vets for example.
2 – Precious Plants
Most plants will be ok for a day or two. But if you are leaving for a week or more you may need to think about water especially for house plants. You can give them to a trusted Green Fingered Neighbour!
Or – if you are driving – you could take one or two with you! Plants will travel in the car for a day or two with no signs of stress (as long as they are seated or housed in a fashion that they won’t get bashed about in!) I have travelled with plants across European borders without a problem. (I did call the relevant authority beforehand, and I was assured it was fine as long as the plants were not imported from outside the EU.) So, if you are driving back “home” for a week or more, and you are worried about your plants, you can consider taking them. Just remember to check with the relevant authority if you are crossing any borders.
3 – Security
Ours security system is Ace! Its an app called Alfred ! My genius man put it all together using old mobile phones ! All set up inside the house. We point the camera lenses of the phones at the various locations we want to monitor using flexible arm like phone grips. The phones have to be plugged into the power so they stay on. And the app then alerts us to any movement which it automatically videos and streams straight into the cloud for us to view. It’s works fabulously. Much better than most other systems we have tried.
Another security point is removing your spare key from where ever you hide it outside. And if you are in an area of high risk of burglaries, maybe get a timer on your lamps so they go on and off at different times. That way it will look like there is someone in the house. Just remember to leave the power on if you use any of these suggestions!
4 – Digital Security
Make sure all your sensitive data is locked away in the cloud. Inaccessible from all tech you leave in the house, but easily accessible from any, and all of your mobile devices while you are on the move.
Look at using Microsoft One Drive, or Google Drive. Doing this can help prevent digital disasters while you are on holiday.
5 – Leaving Keys & Notifying People
When we are going for more than a week, we make sure that we leave a key with two trusted people. Just in case ! People you trust, friends, neighbours or even employees. People who won’t mind coming round and checking things if your security system requests it. (Key change optional but available here)
You can notify the relevant people you will be gone too. Such as the police, or security guard / company.
And remember to cancel any standing orders that would arrive while you on holiday.
6 – Water, Gas & Power
Personally we shut the water and gas off, and leave the power on for the security system. But we do unplug all the big electrical items, like computers TV etc. Just make sure the people who you have given keys to know how to switch the water on in case it is necessary.
7 – Fridge & Garbage
If you are leaving the power on :
Don’t make the mistake of leaving perishable foods in the fridge … I guarantee they will have changed composition by the time you return: usually enough to produce a frighteningly powerful oder !
If you are shutting off the power :
Please empty your fridge and freezer completely and leave the doors open! If you don’t you will again be greeted by some new forms of life that odorize your home with thier own unique and filthy stench when you re-open your fridge freezer door. Give perishable foods away or bin them before you leave.
And do not forget to empty every bin in your home – for similar reasons …
8 – Communications
Your mobile is most probably going with you. You can always enable your “On Holiday” auto responder if necessary on most communications. But do make sure you know how to retrieve the messages on your land line or house phone while you are away. It will be easy to do. If you have never done it before you will probably find instructions online.
9 – Passports, Documentation and Medications …
Obviously, you are not going to lose or misplace any of these (!!!) But … just in case, it’s a really good idea to keep a copy of them on your phone. So photograph all documents and medicine labels. It just makes sense to have a digital copy in case of emergencies.
10 – Before you return
I am fortunate enough to have what I call “My House Angel”. My cleaner, or house keeper. She comes once a week and does her magic stuff that keeps our home shining ! So I always have her come in and clean the day before we return. This makes sure the house is sweetly scented for our return. Having a friend come in and just air the house for an hour can be beneficial. Especially if you have had one of these stressful family holidays …