How to Prepare Your Home When Traveling in the Winter

Wisconsin is known for its brutal winters- frigid temperatures, icy sidewalks, frequent snow, and slippery roads. If you’re considering a trip somewhere warm to get a break from the weather, you wouldn’t be alone! Before you go, take some time to prepare your home for when you’re gone. Taking a few steps to secure drafts and arrange snow cleanup could help save you a major headache once you return. Here are a few simple moves you can make to prepare your home before your next winter vacation: 

Arrange for snow removal

When planning your travel arrangements, ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to stop by and clear your walkways after a snow fall while you’re gone. In most Wisconsin communities, snow must be cleared from the sidewalks in front or behind your house by noon the day after a snowfall but double check with your local city to stay within their regulations. This will protect you from any fines and an annoying hassle of shoveling when you get home.  

Lower Your Thermostat

Save yourself a little extra money while you’re away by setting your thermostat to a lower temperature-but not so low that it causes your pipes to freeze. While you’re on vacation, you would be safe lowering your thermostat to 60-65 degrees, but do not set your thermostat below 55 degrees.

Clean Your Kitchen

Don’t forget to clean your fridge of any food that could expire while you’re away. Empty your trash and put your trash bins at the end of your driveway if trash pickup occurs while you’re gone. The last thing you want is any critters or bugs greeting you when you get return! 

Seal the Draft

Check if any windows, doors, and other openings have any cracks allowing a draft in and seal them up before departure day. Applying plastic over your windows is a great way to prevent any breeze or draft from sneaking in and making your furnace work extra hard. Your local store should have a winter window kit or weather seals for you stock up on.

Stop Your Mail

If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days, it might be a good idea to have the post office hold all your mail. Or have a family member, friend, or neighbor swing by to grab your mail and check on your house while you’re gone. You’ll have the comfort of knowing your mail is safe and someone is checking in on your home when you’re not there. 

Unplug Your Electronics

Avoid unnecessary fire risk by unplugging any electronics you can while you’re away. TVs, coffee makers, electric blankets, phone chargers, space heaters, etc. Not only will that eliminate a fire risk, but you’ll save a little extra cash. Even if they’re not on or in use, electronics still use electricity when they’re plugged into the wall.

Prepare Your Car

Is your car winter ready? Before you hit the road, check on the condition of your tires, windshield wipers, and make sure you have a full tank of gas. If you don’t catch a simple repair before hitting the road, it can give your vacation a huge headache before it even starts. Also pack an emergency winter kit. While you think you’re good to go, you never know what situation you might run into on the road, and it’s better to be prepared. Items you should consider putting in your emergency kit include: an ice scraper, change of clothes (extra socks if your feet get wet), winter boots, shovel, blanket(s), bottled water, some food, and a phone charger. 

For more tips on keeping your home, car, or family safe in the winter, contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent. Stay warm and safe travels, Wisconsinites!