The week of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times for travel in the US. Back in 2016, AAA estimated that some 40.7 million people would travel away from home for Thanksgiving. They raised their estimate to almost 51 million the following year. Estimates for 2018 are not out yet, but you can bet there will be tens of millions of people on the go.
If you are planning to travel this Thanksgiving, you’re likely to be away from home for at least several days – if not longer. Don’t just walk out the door and assume everything at home will be fine. You might have no trouble, but you might also return home to find something unexpected.
We recommend doing a few simple things around the house before you travel. Each of the things listed below will reduce the chances of you coming home to something unpleasant.
Work on Cleaning out the Fridge
We all have things in the fridge that we are not quite sure of. Between expired food and leftovers that have been left for too long, the space inside the fridge can certainly be an adventure. Start cleaning out the fridge so that you leave nothing behind that could go bad in your absence.
If there are any leftovers the week before you travel, make sure to use them up. Take a look at your condiments for anything that looks close to being expired. Just remember that expiration dates don’t necessarily equate to spoilage. Anything nearing its expiration date can be further examined. If it looks and smells good, you are probably okay. If not, you can toss it and move on.
Give the Windows a Once Over
Having the windows open during the summer and fall is wonderful. But if you don’t get them closed tightly once the temperature drops, you could be in for trouble. Just a small crack left between the top of the upper window and its sash could mean moisture coming into your home the next time it storms.
Before you leave for your Thanksgiving trip, walk around the house and give all the windows the once over. Make sure they are all firmly closed and latched. If you find any cracks you didn’t notice before, now is the time to fix them. Also be sure to check the locks. They should be in good working order. Finally, lock your windows the night before you leave. You don’t need a burglar helping him/herself to your stuff while you’re gone.
Check Your Water Heater
If there is one bad thing about water heaters, it’s the fact that they almost always fail suddenly. But there are warning signs you can look for. We suggest giving your water heater a cursory inspection before you leave. Look for water stains on the floor below the heater. You can also look for evidence of leaks where the water heater connects to your home’s water lines. Any signs of leakage from either of these locations is reason to have a plumber come out and take a look.
Program Your Thermostat
It’s amazing how many people have programmable thermostats but don’t use them. Now is as good a time as any to program yours. You can set your heat to stay at a lower temperature while you’re away, thus saving money by not spending it heating a vacant house.
The My Divine Concierge team would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you enjoy time spent with friends and family. Just be sure to button up your house before you leave for your trip. Doing the things mentioned in this post will make for a more pleasant return after the holiday.