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Prepare Your Home Before Going On An Extended Trip Abroad

Updated on January 8, 2014

Travel Planning

Traveling abroad is an exciting experience that requires careful planning and preparation. With all the important travel details that require attention, don’t forget to prepare your home for your absence. You don’t want to come home from an incredible trip abroad to discover your house has been broken into or a water pipe has broken. Taking the time and effort to prepare you home will give you some peace of mind during your trip abroad. Discover simple tips for preparing your home before you go on an extended trip abroad.


Since identity theft is on the rise, according to Prepared for Travel, taking measures to protect your financial papers is essential. Never leave your bank statements, social security card, tax forms, computer, or other financial papers laying around your home. If you can’t lock your personal valuables and financial papers inside a file cabinet, desk drawer, or other secure location in your home, consider putting them in a bank safety deposit box. Fortunately, there aren’t any restrictions on what you can put in a bank safety deposit box. For an extra preventative step, consider signing up for identity theft protection before you leave in case you accidentally lose your bank cards or they get stolen. Lastly, never leave your jewelry, coin collection, and other valuables sitting around your home. Either put your valuables in a safety deposit box or leave them in the care of a very trusted friend or family member while you are away.

Household Maintenance

Perishable foods will inevitably go bad while you are traveling abroad, leaving a rancid mess in your refrigerator and cabinets. Clearing out all perishable foods from your refrigerator before you travel abroad will save you the dreaded task of cleaning out your fridge when you return. Make sure all faucets are turned off, and check the toilets and water heater before leaving. Turn the heat down in the winter, but not below 55 degrees as you don’t want pipes to freeze and burst. In warmer months, you can keep your home at a mild temperature or leave your air conditioning off. However, you home will smell stale without any air circulation. Unplug your microwave, toaster, blender, and small appliances if you want to save some electricity, but keep your refrigerator and stove plugged in while you are away. It’s also a smart idea to check your home insurance before you leave to ensure it’s current and providing proper coverage.

Home Security

While locking doors and windows are obvious security steps, remember to physically lock the garage door, since some intruders use scanning door openers. Prepared for Travel also recommends stopping mail and newspaper delivery to your home while you’re gone for extended periods of time. Instead of closing all the window coverings, which is a giveaway that someone is gone, leave some blinds and curtains open to give the appearance that you are home. Set your television and a few lights on a timer so they come on each night, as well. Keep your outdoor lights on as you usually would, not excessively lit up. Never have your phone messages state that you’ll be away, but instead try to preserve the appearance that everything is normal. If you’re going to be away for longer than a week, have a trusted friend or family member check in occasionally and take care of your yard, remove flyers from your door or porch, check your phone messages, and just make your home look lived in. Of course, always inform someone you trust of your travel schedule.


While some incidents are inevitable, simple preparation can prevent a lot of unfavorable circumstances from occurring while you are traveling abroad. Plus, with the help of someone you trust, you can maintain the appearance that your home is occupied as normal. Don’t spend your trip abroad worrying about your valuables and home security; prepare ahead of time.


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