Tips for Preparing your Home for a Weekend Getaway

Peaceful waters

While a weekend doesn’t provide most of us with enough time to travel across Canada, it’s a perfect opportunity to get out of the city for a few days.

My family and I are fortunate enough to spend many summer weekends up at the cottage so we know a thing or two about short-term travel and weekend getaways. Heading up to cottage country entails a few hours of packing, a few hours to prepare the house for your leave, and a few hours of travel, all in exchange for a few days of pure joy in the great outdoors. However, the last thing you want to deal with when you come home is property damage or theft.

Here are some of my tips to help you prepare your house for your absence if you’re heading out for a few days:

  1. Reset the temperature. This summer has been a warm one (trust me, I’m not complaining) which means that our air conditioning has been working overtime. However, we don’t need the house to be as cool while we’re not home. Re-setting our thermostat a few degrees helps us save energy and costs.  It’s a win-win.
  2. Take an inventory of your food. Perishables should be taken with you when possible (i.e. fruits or vegetables) and should definitely not be left out on the counter top.  Also, since we live in the city (which is full of raccoons who can easily get into our garbage bins), we put the food we don’t want to bring with us in the fridge instead of in the garbage.Raccoon inside turned over garbage bin
  3. Remove garbage. We always take out our trash before we leave to ensure that we return to a clean and odour-free house.
  4. Turn off appliances. Make sure you don’t leave any major appliances running including dishwasher, clothes washer, or dryer. Running appliances you don’t need while you’re away is not only an unnecessary utility expense, but it also could lead to problems if something goes wrong with an appliance while you’re away.
  5. Close the blinds. Whenever we leave, we close all of our curtains. This way, intruders won’t have any visibility to items in our home.
  6. Tell a trusted neighbour or family member. We’re fortunate to live in a tight-knit neighbourhood where we know most of our neighbours very well.  Living in the city, parking space is limited but we’re fortunate to have a front-yard parking pad.  We always let our neighbour know that they can park there while we’re away for the weekend. That way, our house appears to be occupied.  We also ask them to keep an eye on our front-yard in case garbage ends up on our lawn (due to raccoons, see point 2 above) so they can clean it up in a timely manner and it won’t appear that we’re away. Finally, several of our neighbours have our contact information should they need to reach us in case of an emergency.
  7. Turn on the alarm. Lastly, but most importantly to us, we always turn on our alarm system. It gives us peace of mind to know that we have a reliable backup plan to protect our assets and valuables while we’re away every weekend.

Sunset by the lake

This post was written as part of the Allstate Canada Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate Canada.  All opinions are my own.