If you're going to be away for an extended period of time or you're going to be without internet service for a week or two (yes, some people can actually still do that), you may want to think about finally setting up that auto-pay feature for some of your utilities to pay them automatically while you're away from civilization.

While keeping the electricity up and running is important, you may not need to leave everything plugged in while you're gone.  Unplugging non-essential electrical items can also help protect them in case of a lightening storm or an unexpected power surge.  If you have house plants, be sure and consider their needs as well when deciding on what temperature to leave the thermostat on while you're away.

Home Depot has a wide range of both indoor and outdoor timers that will allow you to set a time (or times) for your lights or a TV or radio to come on in the evening and remain on until the timer shuts them off.

If you have an alarm system, you may want to make sure that it is in proper working order as well as notify your alarm company of the exact dates that you'll be out of town.  If you ask someone to check on your house, be sure that they know the alarm codes along with the basic functions of the system.  Most alarm companies will also be able to set you up with a temporary code for them that will automatically expire on your return date.

You definitely don't want to come back to a house full of bad smells or flies (or both) so be sure and remove all perishable items from the fridge and countertops.  Check that all trash cans are emptied and see if that same friend might be able to put your trash canisters out for collection - and then put them back on collection day.  This will reduce the impression that nobody is home and your neighbors won't be annoyed by your trash cans being left out on the street for two weeks.

Also, be sure and put on hold any newspaper subscriptions as well as check with your local Post Office and see if you can have a vacation-stop put on your mail delivery.  You can also easily do this online now!

Finally, be careful when talking about your vacation plans on social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Burglars frequently monitor social media sites for indications of empty houses.

So stay safe, have fun, and don't forget the sunscreen!

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay