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11 Things You Must Do Before Leaving for Vacation

You're headed out of town. Tickets are ready, reservations are made, and bags are packed. But before you go on vacation, here are 11 things to take care of around the house.

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Set Up Security

Make sure all windows and doors are locked and that the locks are in good condition. If you have an alarm system, make sure it’s set before you head on out on vacation. Install a deadbolt to make it harder for bad guys to break-in to your home.

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Turn Water Off

The last thing you want when you come home from vacation is to find water damage. Before you go, shut off the water supply to your entire home to prevent catastrophes such as frozen pipes, a leaking water heater or a burst supply line. Prevent water damage while you are away with these six easy tips.

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Adjust Heat and Cooling Levels

There’s no need to keep your home at your ideal comfort level when you’re not there. Set your thermostat to a temperature that will give your furnace or central air a bit of a break, depending on the season. Learn how to save money on energy and cut cooling costs.

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Stop Mail and Newspaper Deliveries

The U.S. Postal Services makes it easy to put a hold on your mail while you’re on vacation. You can fill out this form online or a card at the post office. If you have newspapers delivered, contact the paper to put a hold on your delivery as well. Find out exactly when the mail arrives with this clever alert system.

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Have Plants Watered

If you have flowers or a garden, have a friend or neighbor swing by to water your plants while you’re gone. And don’t forget your indoor plants—depending on the plant and how long you plan to be gone, your indoor plants may need to be watered as well. Check out this clever way to water indoor plants.

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Clean House

It may seem kind of silly to clean your house before you leave for vacation, but it will be one less thing you’ll have to do when you get home. At the very least, clean the bathrooms, do the dishes and wipe down kitchen counters and vacuum. Try these 13 tips to clean your house quickly.

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Make Pet Arrangements

Make arrangements for your furry family members. If you’re planning on boarding your dog, make reservations a few weeks in advance of your vacation. Have a friend or neighbor check on and feed other pets while you’re away. Here are 40 perfect pet projects to show your pet some love.

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Notify Your Bank

It’s a good idea to notify your bank before heading out on vacation, especially if you plan on using your bank-linked debit or credit card. This will help reduce the chance of having your card flagged for suspicious activity and getting stuck with frozen finances.

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Unplug Electronics

Many electronics draw power even when they are switched in the “off” position. Unplug electronics such as toasters, coffee pots, computers, the stereo and television before leaving on vacation. Try these 10 tips to save electricity and lower your electricity bill.

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Pay Bills

Pay any bills that will come due while you’re on vacation or immediately after. This will help give you some peace-of-mind while you’re gone. Better yet, set up auto pay, if it’s available. Lower your water bill by conserving water.

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Clean Out the Refrigerator

The last thing you want to come home to is rotten food in the refrigerator. Take a few minutes and toss anything that will spoil or rot while you’re gone and give the shelves and drawers a quick wipe down. Clean a stinky fridge with these simple tricks.