Top tips before you leave for the holidays

5 years ago
3 minutes

There is no better feeling than a holiday that’s about to happen. Tickets booked, bags packed and sand, surf and summer just over the horizon.

While leaving is exciting, you want your return to be welcoming and free of nasty surprises. That means securing the house and also ensuring that you are not going to come home to find appliances have been running for no reason, the plants are dead, and vile smells have germinated in the kitchen.

If you have a smart home with a security system, you are halfway there. Just make sure that lights are timed to switch on and off, and maybe have music playing in the evening as well.

If you don’t have a smart system, there is still plenty that you can do to make the home seem lived in. Criminals look for easy targets and a home that is obviously empty is too much temptation.

Neighbourhood watch

Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the house. Nobody minds doing this and you can return the favour when it’s their turn for some downtime. Give them your contact details and, if you know them well, a key for occasional indoor checks.

Social media

We all like to make our friends a little bit jealous, but if you have a public social media profile, maybe don’t mention your holiday plans. Tempting though it is, you might also want to wait until you get back to post those envy-making pictures.

Delivering peace of mind

One of the most important things is to stop deliveries. You can cancel mail online or at your post office, and time online purchases so that everything is delivered before you leave.

The garden and houseplants

Cut the grass and tidy the garden or courtyard. If you are going to be away for several weeks, you might consider organising a gardener to keep things in order. Also check outside for items that could become dangerous if there are high winds.

If you don’t have an automatic watering system, then that nice neighbour will probably help out, or you could leave pot plants at a friend’s place.

Another excellent idea for outside your home is to install a couple of outdoor motion-sensor lights to illuminate your house and garden. Only the most brazen burglar would keep trying to force entry with a spotlight shining on him.



Buy a couple of cheap timers and plug-in lamps so that lights come on in the house in the evening. Make sure you switch off timers for air-conditioners and other appliances. 

The kitchen can be a time bomb. It’s always a good idea to leave as little as possible in the fridge and freezer and the smell of a fridge crippled by a power outage takes the shine off any holiday. Make sure you throw out fruit and vegetables, and food that will become out of date, and empty the kitchen bin.

Pet possibilities

You have a few options when organising the pets – kennel or cattery, house-sitter (which solves a lot of the security problems as well) or a kind friend who will tuck your furbaby under his or her wing. 

There is also another option. If you are going to visit friends or relatives, ie, not staying in a hotel, it may be more economical to take your pet with you. Flying a small pet interstate can cost less than a pet hotel, depending on the amount of time you will be away. After all – why should they miss out on the holiday?