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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

135: Prepping Home For A Long Trip

Howdy! I travel enough where I can offer some tips on the subject. You never want to return from a trip to find your pipes burst, or a fine posted on your door due to a tall lawn, right? So here are some basic actions you can take before leaving home.

Take the season into account.

If you're leaving home in the winter:

  • Leave the heat on just high enough where your pipes will not freeze.

  • Cover any pipes extruding from your home.

  • If you'll only be gone for a couple of days and the weather will be below freezing, consider dripping the faucets in case there is a power outage. If you'll be away for weeks or a month, consider giving your key to someone you trust. That way if a freeze is coming, or if there is a local power outage, your peer can enter your home and set the faucets to drip. If you have a landlord, you may be able to call them while traveling, and ask them to set your faucets to drip. In my limited experiences, they have charged a small fee for this service. You don't want your pipes to freeze, thaw, and burst.

  • Take a look at the windshield washer fluid in your car. If you're in a warmer climate, traveling by car to a colder climate, all-season windshield washer fluid is a mistake. It can freeze at 32 Degrees Fahrenheit. Upon freezing, the windshield washer fluid can crack its plastic reservoir in your vehicle. You want de-icer windshield washer fluid which has de-icing capabilities.

  • If you're leaving your vehicle behind, consider giving a trusted peer the key, and having them run the car briefly daily, to keep the battery charged.

  • If you're traveling from a warmer to a cooler climate, double check your car battery has a high Cold Cranking Amps rating. Aim for the 250-600 range but double check what your vehicle model needs in the winter, since smaller vehicles can get by with a lower rating than larger vehicles. Batteries struggle more in cold weather and batteries that aren't made for winter temperatures are more likely to die. Chances are, if you already live in a cold climate, you probably bought the correct battery already.

  • Keep winter gear in your vehicle if you're going to be dealing with winter weather. This includes an ice scraper, and perhaps even a shovel. You also may want to have a blanket, gloves, socks, a flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, bottled water, snacks, a Swiss Army knife, and reflective triangles.

If you're leaving in spring, summer, or fall:

  • If you live in a town that fines people for tall lawns, and you usually handle your own, arrange for someone to care for your lawn if you'll be away long enough for that to become an issue.

  • If you have a garden and will be away for more than a few days, perhaps arrange for someone to care for it while you're away.

  • Keep an emergency pack in your car, which is just a good idea regardless of how far you're travelling. You want to have sunglasses, sunblock, a blanket, socks, a flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, bottled water, snacks, a Swiss Army knife, and reflective triangles.

Secure your property.

  • Leave a coin on the full frozen ice tray in the freezer. If, upon returning home, the coin is at the bottom of the ice tray, your home likely experienced a power outage. It may be best to throw out frozen or refrigerated goods in that case.

  • If you'll be away for more than a few days, consider moving food from the refrigerator to the freezer.

  • Cover all windows (with blinds or curtains! I'm only talking shutters or wooden boards if a major storm is imminent.). This helps conceal your belongings, and it is good for insulating the temperature of your home.

  • Consider bringing important documents with you or storing them in a locked safe.

  • If you are in possession of prescription drugs, that for whatever reason aren't travelling with you, consider storing them in a locked safe. Especially if they have black market uses/value.

  • If you are in possession of firearms that aren't travelling with you, store them in a locked safe.

  • If you are in possession of any valuables that aren't travelling with you, consider storing them in a locked safe.

  • Unplug everything you can, especially the Wi-Fi router. This keeps your power bill low, while minimizing housefire risks, and prevents strangers from trying to hack (and use) your Wi-Fi.

  • Have a trusted peer collect and hold your mail OR have the United States Postal Service hold your mail.

  • Obviously, arrange for your pets to be cared for if they're not coming with you. Rover is an app that helps pet owners find sitters/walkers for their pets. Be specific with your instructions and make certain the sitter/walker has your vet's information should an emergency arise.

    • If you're leaving pets home alone, and having a trusted peer stop by to care for them in spurts, consider informing your next door neighbors of how long you'll be away and what the situation is. You can, with the consent of the pet-sitter, give your next door neighbor the pet-sitter's number in case any emergencies arise. You can also have nanny cams set up for you to watch your pets while you're away. The idea is that your pets are safer the more supervision they receive.

      • Check that your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are functional, with working batteries, before leaving town. Ideally your pets will react loudly should the alarms sound, or your next door neighbor will hear the alarms, and contact whomever is relevant.

    • If you're planning on leaving dogs at a kennel, rather than someone's home, double check that they have humans physically present on site 24/7. Trust me on this one.

  • Ideally, you should have insurance, whether you own or rent. Here is a Reddit thread on some best practices for filing that claim, should the unfortunate occur.

We can't plan for everything but we can mitigate obvious risks. I hope you found any of this helpful! I drop a new blog post every Monday! Toodles!


Howdy! This past week I returned home to Texas from New York, and in the process, came down with a cold. I'm still getting over the cough but am otherwise well.

Before we left town in December, I purchased a fancier woodburning tool set than those I'd been using prior. This new toy has an adjustable temperature, includes two hot wands, and a wider variety of tips than I've used before. For reference, my older wood burning wands plugged directly into the outlet, rather than a power bank, lacked the ability to set the temperature, and were both similar in shape to soldering irons, with regards to the tips, which are screwed in. Now, one of my new wands is a different sort entirely. It ends in two prongs wherein I insert a bent wire tip, the bends having different thicknesses and shapes. I'm still getting a handle on how to line smoothly, and how to shade, but with high heat, I can make an area dark very quickly. That wasn't possible with the older wands.

This coming Friday I will be selling art and copies of my novels from my booth at the Art Loop of First Friday in downtown Bryan, Texas. If you're in the area and want to swing by to say hi, my tent is big and blue and I'll be stationed by Mr. G's pizza place.

Thanks for stopping by! I drop a newsletter every Monday! Toodles!

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