Most of us rush around in a flurry of activity before a holiday, with countless tasks and errands to complete before we can jet off into the sun. We've made a simple check-list to make the process easier.

 

  1. Photocopy and photograph your passport, together with documents of family members you are travelling with.

  2. Turn on your email auto-responder. Even if you plan to check your emails while away, with the responder on, your contacts will be more understanding if your replies take longer than usual.

 

  1. Tell your bank and credit card companies that you are going away, so they won't block your cards in overseas ATMs or when you make purchases on plastic.

 

  1. Pause any newspapers for the duration of your break. For a longer trip, ask a relative or neighbour to collect your mail. A build-up of newspapers and post is a sure-sign for a would-be burglar that your home is vulnerable. Royal Mail offers a service called Keepsafe, which stores your mail while you’re away: https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/keepsafe/

 

  1. Close the curtains or blinds of any rooms that can be easily viewed from outside your home. If you're concerned this will look odd during the day and perhaps attract unwanted attention, opt for half-closed/half-

 

  1. Mow your lawn before you go away. If you're travelling for a long time, arrange for someone to cut it at the midway point of your holiday. Grass usually grows faster in summer months and a rampant lawn is another sign you're not in.

 

  1. Don't tell everyone on social media that you're going on holiday. It's best not to post any photos until you return - as challenging as that might seem.

 

  1. If you don't have them already, consider investing in electric timers so that lamps come on at night. If your area has a problem with burglary, this could be a prudent step.

 

  1. Unplug all appliances that don't need to be on, and save money.

 

  1. Think about turning off the water supply - at least to appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. If you're leaving during winter months, the risk of a burst pipe is obviously much higher, so turning off the stop-cock and draining the plumbing is worthwhile. Burst pipes can cause a huge amount of damage, especially if water is escaping over several days.

 

  1. Remove perishables from your fridge, damp clothes from your washing machine and dirty dishes from your dishwasher - unless you want to encounter some rather unpleasant smells when you return.

 

  1. For a longer trip away, ensure you water any plants, or have someone come and water them for you.

 

  1. Take as much rubbish out as possible on the last collection day before you go. If you have a lot of rubbish in your bin before you leave, ask a neighbour or friend if they have any extra space in theirs, or try to dispose of it in public recycling bins. Alternatively, you might ask someone living nearby to put your bins out on the next collection day.

 

  1. The final day/hours: Double-check the flight departure time, and check road traffic/public transport updates, in case you need extra time to reach the airport.

 

  1. Leaving your car in the airport car park? Note down precisely where it is, so you won't spend the first hours of your return searching manically for your vehicle.