How To Keep Your Home and Pets Safe When You Travel
Vacations are vital for positive mental health and anyone who practices self-care knows that taking time off from the stresses of life generally promotes increased happiness and productivity at work.
Traveling, whether for holidays, your job, or just because, is a great way to take a break from daily routines and affords you the chance to engage in new activities and explore exciting destinations and adventures.
Go ahead and book that cruise you’ve had your heart set on. Or, perhaps a visit to family or friends in another state or country is on your agenda.
No matter what your travel style is, planning is key to having a low-stress holiday and making sure your home and pets are safe while you are away. Follow these tips to help ensure your home and pets are safe when you travel so you don’t come home to any unwanted surprises.
Planning for your Home and Pets
A major part of planning your trip is making sure that your home and pets will be safe and well taken care of.
It may be easy to just lock up the house and head out on your adventure, but who will take care of the pets? What about mail and package deliveries? Who will mow the lawn or water the plants?
All of these questions need to be considered and planned for before you depart on your trip.
As a teacher, I have traveled extensively during the past several summers. I always felt the most prepared when I had taken the time to make sure my beloved pups, Murray and Munson, were well taken care of while I was gone. But goodness, kenneling two dogs is super expensive!
Often, it can be more economical and safer to use a house sitting agency rather than making less than ideal arrangements with a neighbor or friend.
For those who may not be familiar with house sitting, it involves a homeowner leaving their property, possessions, and pets while they travel and entrusting them to one or more house sitters.
A mutual agreement built on trust entitles the house sitters to live in the house for free in exchange for taking care of the pets and looking after your home.
Your property requires protection and your pets deserve loving care which are two things a house sitting situation can offer.
Pets Feel Secure
Nine times out of ten, travelers prefer a house sitter for their pets. Finding a kennel not only takes time and energy, but it also takes huge amounts of your money. Additionally, it can be a challenge to locate a trusted kennel nearby, and there are some animals you can’t kennel, such as pet birds.
Leaving your pet in a kennel is not only expensive but can be very stressful for the pet. Your pet can also be exposed to illnesses such as the highly contagious kennel cough.
While there are options of asking your friends or relatives to stop by and look after your pet, that’s not always the best option for them. Pets suffer when left alone for long periods of time and some can experience separation anxiety.
A house sitter can provide companionship and love for your fur babies. Your pets stay in their home while being kept well-fed, exercised, and safe. A house sitter can provide the same level of affection and companionship that your pet is used to.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your insurance company will have your back while you are on vacation. Many people are unaware that most homeowner policies contain a “vacancy clause,” which states that after a certain period of time – which varies from policy to policy – a vacant home will not be covered by the insurance company in the event of a loss.
If you leave home for several weeks, you could potentially void your insurance coverage. This is primarily due to vacant or unoccupied houses being at greater risk for vandalism, theft, weather-related problems, and fire, etc.
To avoid this, homeowner policyholders have the option of purchasing additional coverage for a vacant house, but the coverage comes with a hefty premium. It’s much more cost effective to hire a house sitter and keep your current coverage as is.
A house sitter not only helps you maintain your existing policy but also reduces the chances of theft and property damage, leaving you with peace of mind so you can focus on the travel experience and having fun.
It’s impossible to keep watch over your house when you are traveling, even if you have a top-notch security system. You could ask neighbors or relatives to keep watch over your home, but they cannot do that 24/7.
Hiring a house sitter will allow you to have someone looking out for your home, pets, and belongings. Having a house sitter will ensure that you have peace of mind regarding your home and pets while you travel.
If you prefer to take your pets with you when you travel, you might be interested in my article with recommendations about how to safely bring Fido or Fluffy along. Holiday Travel: Tips for Traveling With Your Pet.
Take the time to check out a house sitting agency the next time you travel. Not only will you feel better about leaving for vacation, but you will be assured that your beloved pets and home will be safer while you are away.
When looking for quality care for your home and pet, check out several sitter agencies as services can vary widely. Here are a few of the sitters I have looked into, but as always, do your own due diligence and choose the best sitter for your own situation.
I recently house sat for a week when my daughter gave birth to her first baby. Staying at her house with her three fur babies helped my daughter know that everything was fine at home and she could concentrate on becoming a new mom. My daughter has since said she never once worried about her house or dogs, so even though I worked for free, I was, in essence, a house sitter and eased her stress. Definitely a win/win situation.
Have you ever used a pet or home sitter? Was it a good experience? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below!
I house sat when I was younger. It was a great arrangement! My coworkers could go on vacation without any worries and I got to stay in a place that was much nicer than my tiny apartment.
I have done house sitting myself, and it has always worked out best for the pets. They were much more comfortable staying in their own home.
I never thought about house sitting! I have two pet chickens and I would love for someone to watch over them while I’m away.
Yes, you might benefit from a house sitter to care for your chickens. Bonus for the house sitter would be all the fresh eggs!
Yes, we use a house sitter and it is great. I recommend having one.
Thanks Missy. I recommend house sitters too and have never had any problems with them.
This is a beautiful post on important matters.
Thanks Jen. In my house, my two fur babies are just like family and deserve the best!
These are great tips! I’ll remember this for our dog before our next trip. Thanks!
I’m glad I could help Trisha.
Excellent tips. I always worry about our pets when we travel – our cat is a runner and our dog is very needy. Thank goodness for family – but it has shortened our trips for sure.
I hope you found these tips useful Pam!
I will only leave my pups if I have someone I trust able to stay in our home with them. I am also a Rover sitter!
I’m the same way! My pets are an important part of my life. Rover pet sitters rock!
Mu dog has to go to the trainer when we leave which is why we take him with us as much as possible. I would love to find someone who could handle him to stay here.
I hear you! Some pups miss their families something terrible and it results in less than desirable behaviors. I hope you can find a workable solution soon.
Great advice – thanks for sharing. I didn’t know about the insurance, but I will be looking into ours now.
It’s definitely a consideration…I would hate to be in violation of my homeowner policy.
You’re welcome Paige!
These are super helpful tips! We hadn’t thought about a house sitter, and I did not know about the vacancy clause on insurance! Will definitely think about both of these more.
I’m glad you found some useful information in my article!
This is a great article! I have never considered using a house sitter because it seemed unsafe. But I’m sure there are a lot of trustworthy people with a good track record out there.
Yes, there are many reputable companies that fully screen their house and pet sitters. Some of the private operations are licensed and bonded too.
I found that is one of the hardest things for me is what to do with our dog especially when it’s just a quick weekend trip.
I have two very different sized pups and they are my heart. I agree, it’s hard to find care for them on short notice, for short periods of time. The pet sitters I have experience with allow all lengths of trips so maybe you can find something that works for you.
Great tips. We have both had house sitters, and pet sat for friends. It helps to know your home and pets are taken care of.
Agreed! Pets are family and deserve the very best of care.
OMG I had no idea about the vacancy clause. I think I will be looking at my insurance policy tomorrow. Thank you for this post so helpful
Yes, the vacancy clause is something many are not aware of. I’m glad my article was helpful to you.
I will admit the biggest reason I don’t get a dog is because of how much we travel. We can barely keep a fish alive!
I totally get it Meg. Having a pet is a huge responsibility for sure.
I think house sitting is the ideal option . I would be seriously anxious about leaving my pet alone . They are after all part of the family .
I agree Tachira. My two pups are just cared for and loved as if they were my children.
The vacancy clause is something that I need to check in our policy. We travel frequently and was unaware that such language could be in the policy. Thanks so much for bringing that to me attention!
You’re welcome Steve. Many people are unaware of the exact wording in the clauses of any insurance policy.