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Leaving for a Long Time: Six Things to do Before you Travel 
 
by Calee Lee July 27, 2005

Spending an extended amount of time away from you home can be an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. Just make sure to make the necessary arrangements before you leave so coming home will be just as enjoyable.

Ever dreamed about backpacking around Europe for six weeks?  Preparing for a 3-month relocation across the country? Heading home to spend time with ailing parents?  Spending the summer in at a beach house?

Whatever your reason, leaving your home for an extended period of time is not as simple as it may seem.  Houses need people; they’re constructed for constant use.  When the people disappear, the house will not only get lonely, it will begin to fall apart. 

 Here is a simple checklist of important things to do or arrange for before you leave your house vacant.

 1. Home Visitors

Your house will get lonely without you.  If you have a lawn, window boxes, or houseplants, they will get lonely even quicker. You need to have someone either staying in your home or regularly checking up on your place.

 Hiring a House Sitter can have some serious advantages over a friend dropping by every once in a while.  If you have pets that you are planning on leaving in your home, a house sitter is almost a necessity. Especially dogs and cats, animals can cause a lot of damage when left alone for long periods of time. The other advantages to a house sitter is that they can pick up your mail, water your plants and do the little things that a house needs (like water running through the pipes) without too much of a difficulty.  The disadvantage to have some one stay in your home is that many people feel nervous about handing their house keys over.  Asking someone to stop by once in a while can feel much less invasive than offering up your medicine cabinets to a snoop. 

If you’re going to ask for a regular Check Up on your house, here are a few things to think about. 

  • Find a friend to adopt your pets. Birds, hamsters, cats and dogs—they all need to live somewhere else while you’re gone. A kennel will work but if you can find a short-term home for them, both you and the pets will feel much better.
  • You probably want to put some sort of hold on your mail. Your plants may die, the house may smell a little, but you don’t want your mailbox to get full if your visitor forgets to stop by. (More about this later)
  • Write up a checklist to remind your visitor what needs to be done on each visit.  Some sample things would be: water plants, open windows, flush toilets, run garbage disposal, check to make sure no mail has arrived.

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