For the last few months all you've been able to think about is vacation. The sun, the fresh air, the lack of constant phone ringing and emails dropping in and forget about Twitter and chat sessions — all you want is a little time away. But before you go, run through this tech check list making sure your home is safe and sound.
We're hoping you remember the basics like taking out the trash and making sure your doors are locked, but there's a few other things you might not have thought of when it comes to leaving for vacation. Here's our short list, add your own thoughts below!
1. Put Your Mail On Hold: It's far easier than paying your neighbor to come get it for you, just log onto USPS.com and it only requires a few clicks. Resume service just as simply and best of all, there's no waiting in line at the post office! Also, don't forget to hold your Netflix as well, or even consider reducing service for the month if you won't be using it.
2. Unplug: Even in the scattered state most of us are in before we leave for vacation, one thing can make a small impact on the house your leaving behind — unplugging things! Not only does it give you piece of mind that you remembered to turn off the coffee pot (since you actually unplugged it instead) but it can also save you some bucks on your utility bills.
3. Turn Your Water Heater Down: Assuming you don't have anyone house sitting for you that will require a hot shower, turning down your water heater can be a great way to save a little green while you're away. It doesn't matter if you're there or not, your water heater will keep heating and reheating the water in the tank to your set temperature. You can of course go all out and simply turn it off and if you're feeling extra frisky, turn your water off as well!
4. TV on a Timer: For those who'd like to have their home appear a little more lived in while their away, try using the timer setting on your tv to go on and off at a certain hour. It comes standard with most units, though we're willing to guess most have never used it. Just be sure to adjust your volume so it doesn't blow the neighbors away in case Jurassic Park comes on.
5. Surge Protection: Although surge protection is mandatory for some, others prefer to just unplug when storms are in the forecast. To make sure nothing gets the better of you while you're away, unplug or add a surge protector to make sure nothing gets a zap while you're out of town.
6. Time Your Lights: Although you can simply leave a lamp on to help make it appear that someones home, all it takes is two trips by your home to verify that no one's really there and that the lamp was left on intentionally. Instead pick up a simple timer (we use the ever helpful Christmas Tree timer from our attic) and plug it in through that. Now you can set multiple lamps around your home to turn on and off at whatever times you chose.
7. Turn Down The AC and Heat: Obviously you don't want any pipes to freeze or to make your environment uncomfortable for any pets that are left behind, but turning down your climate control can save more than a few pennies while you're away.
8. Pre-Pay Your Bills: Most of us are hip to internet banking these days, so simply pay ahead, or schedule your payments to go out on time before you leave home. A little extra thought is sure to avoid last minute phone calls to take care of things when you could be spending your time on a beach drinking something fruity!
9. Run Your Garbage Disposal: Even if you remember to take the trash out and get all your dishes done, there's always a few bits of food waiting to be chewed up by your disposal. It's rarely noticed when you're doing dishes daily, but leave for two weeks and Mexico and it will be quite obvious something is a little funky. Run it with cool water and then add 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Once the foaming has stopped, rinse again and you'll be good to go!
10. Dropbox Important Info: If you're out of the country and your wallet or purse are stolen, it can sometimes feel a little frustrating to get everything cancelled and taken care of when you don't have any pieces of information with you to help out the process. Often times account numbers or security codes are asked for to ensure you are who you say you are, but when you're not sitting at your desk at home that can prove tricky. Instead, create a file with important phone numbers, account/billing numbers or even copies of your passport, social security card or driver's license. Then all you'll have to do is log on and print things out without having to leave them in an unsecured place like your inbox or random pocket in your carry on.
Do you have any additional tech tips before heading out for vacation? Sound off below!
(Image: Flickr member tlillis4 licensed for use by Creative Commons)