Whether you’re headed to the mountains for a long weekend or the beach for two weeks, planning ahead is essential to an enjoyable get-away.  Don’t end your planning with the reservations, though—make sure your home and vehicle are ready, too.  Here’s how to get ready for your next summer vacation:

Make sure your house is in order

Clean house

It may be the last thing on your mind before going on vacation but making sure the house is clean and tidy before you leave will make your return much more welcoming. Do the dishes; wipe out the fridge and throw away food that will expire while you're gone.  Dust, vacuum, and wipe down kitchen surfaces to avoid coming home to dust balls and bugs. Don’t forget to wash and put away laundry too.

Make arrangements for pets and plants

Give the pet sitter or boarding facility detailed care instructions and a generous supply of your pet’s food, toys and medicines.  Ask a friend or neighbor to water your plants or invest in self-watering plant stakes.

Hold mail and newspapers

Request a hold on your mail and newspapers so they won't pile up in front of your house while you're gone.

Leave a light on

During a short trip, leave a few lamps on throughout the house to make it look occupied. For a longer vacation, invest in inexpensive automatic timers that can turn our lights on and off at staggered intervals, making your house look occupied. Alert your home-security service or a trusted neighbor so one or the other can keep an eye out as well.

DON’T advertise your vacation on social media. 

Resist the urge to share vacation news on social media in advance of or during your trip.  Burglars’ surf social media for their next “hit” and vacationers posting their plans make for perfect targets. Save your vacation news and pictures for AFTER your return.

Turn up the thermostat.

Temporarily adjust the thermostat to 78 degrees to conserve energy while no one’s home. Unplug unnecessary appliances and turn off gas burners.

Give your car some TLC

Schedule vehicle service

Whether you’re driving to the airport or hundreds of miles to your destination, making sure your vehicle is in safe operating condition is paramount.  If you’re due or overdue for an oil change, and/or tune-up, now’s the time to get your car ready for your summer vacation.

Check the tires 

Replace old worn out tires or check tire pressure on newer ones.

Clean your car inside and out 

Before you hit the open road, give your vehicle a thorough cleaning inside and out--you and your family will enjoy the drive and each other much more in a clean car rather than in cluttered mess.

Check your insurance coverages

Before you leave for your next summer vacation, a review of your current home and auto insurance coverage with an independent insurance agent can give you peace-of-mind that you’re covered adequately at home and on the road.