The gift of travel is one of the best things you can give yourself. It’s exciting, enriching and invigorating to explore new places and experience lifestyles different from your own.
But how to manage it? We’ve all got possessions and homes to care for. The dilemma of ongoing home security while we’re away for a month or two (or more if we’re lucky) prevents too many from taking the leap, so here are a few tips to help your peace of mind while you’re away.
Out of Sight
To guard against break-ins during your absence you’ll naturally beef up home security with lighting, locks and alarm systems. Friendly neighbours will help keep an eye on things too.
Another sensible precaution is to remove valuable items such as televisions and music systems or computers, stowing them somewhere out of sight. Other valuables might include collections of china or silver, antique furniture or hobby and sports equipment. Basically, anything that’s easily moveable is a prime target and should go on your list of items to hide.
Make an inventory, going systematically from room to room. Having every item of value on a list reminds you of how much you own and how costly replacements would be. Although insurance may cover most things, prevention is far better than cure when it comes to security. Another benefit of the inventory is that you get an idea of how much space you’d need to move items to somewhere more secure than your empty house.
For a few boxes, friends or family may be prepared to help. If they have loft, cellar or secure garage space, it could be a short term option for storage. Similarly, just moving things into your own loft or basement at least gets them out of sight of casual observers looking through windows.
For your high value items, or those things that would be hard or impossible to replace such as heirlooms or antiques, a more secure option lies in self storage facilities.
Many make the mistake of thinking self storage companies are just for very long term or large needs, whereas the opposite is true. A huge variety of storage sizes (from large lockers upwards) coupled with short term rental periods (from just a week) make it a viable option regardless of the quantity or duration of your storage needs. Another advantage is that you’re not locked into a contract, so should your trip be cut short for any reason you can give up your storage room with just a week’s notice.
Packing and Logistics
There’s no need for this to be complicated if you start thinking about preparing your home at the same time you start planning your trip.
With an inventory, you know roughly how much space you need to pack everything securely away, so it’s a small step to thinking about timing and removals. If you’re moving antiques or other large items, a removal company that specialises in caring for items of high value is the safest bet. Make enquiries even before you’ve made travel plans so you have an idea of availability and cost, then make firm bookings as soon as you’ve fixed travel dates.
If you’re using self storage, arrange your space at the same time so all parties know exactly what will happen and when. For packing up smaller items, many storage companies can also supply sturdy boxes and other packing materials. As you go through items, wrapping and packing and sealing boxes, don’t forget to label your boxes so you know what’s inside.
The reward of taking this much trouble to go on a trip is complete peace of mind and relaxation about what’s going on at home. Taking shortcuts and simply hoping for the best can leave you open to that persistent nag of doubt at the back of your mind. It’s far better to secure what you can then jet off knowing all is well until your return.