arriving at JFK airport

So you’re going on summer vacation (bully for you!) But, before you take off for the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley, Coney Island or whatever other idyllic environs you have your heart set on, don’t forget to look after your digs! Here are a few tips to vacation-proof your apartment:

1. Tell Your Landlord

If you’re going away for a substantial period of time, it’s always good to tell your landlord so they can check up on the place periodically. If your vacation spans the first of the month or whenever you normally pay rent, make sure you’ve arranged to pay your rent early or to pay it when you return. The last thing you want to do after splurging on a big vacay is arriving home to find you’ve racked up late fees on your rent.

2. Find Parking

Finding a garage is preferable to racking up alternate side of the street parking tickets. Or, if the idea of paying upwards of $500/week in garage fees is antithetical to your New York City “I can do it myself” mentality, you can be strategic! In some neighborhoods, the alternate side of the street days are spaced out such that you can go several days without having to move your car.

If you don’t want to coordinate your vacation schedule around alternate side of the street parking, you can beg an unsuspecting, car-less neighbor or friend to babysit your car for the week. Little do they know how much of a hassle it is to have a car in the city.

If you’re heading out of town by plane, you may also consider long-term parking at the airport. Rates are often cheaper and that way you at least cut out the cost of the taxi on the way to and from the airport.

3. Adjust the Thermostat

Make sure the AC is off or the heat is turned down to an appropriate temperature or run cycle.  You should also close and lock your windows. It’s not a bad idea to crack some windows open — especially if it’s summer, but only do this if you have screens on your windows,  live on a high floor or have bars. This will help keep the airflow going in your apartment so it doesn’t get dank and stuffy while you’re gone.

4. Close the Blinds

But consider putting a light on a timer — especially in case you’re not having a friend come over to check on things every so often. If you don’t have blinds or curtains in every room, put away items that are sensitive to the sun (i.e., photographs, delicate fabrics, etc.) or things that you don’t want to fade. This is especially important in the summer months!

5. Plan for Your Plants

It is a very sad thing to return home from vacation to find your plant collection shriveled to a crisp. The easiest thing to do is ask a neighbor, friend or kid on the block to come by your apartment and keep them watered and happy.  If you’re just going away for a couple of days, you probably don’t need to have someone come in. Just be sure your plants are fully hydrated before you go and place them in a cool, shady spot (like your shower or bathtub). If you’ve got potted plants on a patio or terrace, you may also want to move them into the shade or indoors while you are gone.

6. Take Care of Your Mail

If you’re having someone stop by to water the plants, get them to check the mail, too. If not, it’s not the end of the world to let your mailbox fill up. If you really do get a lot of stuff, think about having the mail held at the post office. It is important, however, to suspend any standing weekly deliveries that you get, such as Blue Apron, BarkBox, FreshDirect, etc. You may also want to suspend your newspaper subscription, if you get one.

7. Pick Up Your Stuff

Did you drop off dry cleaning last week? Or leave your towels in the dryer in the building’s laundry room? Pick them up before you go! It will be a lot easier to remember where they are and much less of a hassle to deal with these items before leaving on vacation than it will be once you’re back.

8. Unplug Small Electronics

That means your toaster, coffee pot, electric razor and the like. Make sure that your other electronics are connected to surge protectors. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a powerless apartment. Also, if you’ve got a clock radio or anything else on a timer – make sure the alarm is off!

9. Take Out the Trash

Don’t be lazy. Empty all your trash cans before heading out for your vacation. The compost and regular trash is a must, but the recyclables and paper are also good to get rid of. They won’t stink like the perishable stuff, but you’ll have tons of odds and ends to throw out when you’re unpacking after returning. Might as well take the preemptive step and have an empty trash can to fill when you’re back. Also, remove any perishables from the fridge, but consider leaving yourself the makings for a quick dinner or snack for when you get home! Your hungry, travel-weary self will thank you later.

10. Clean Up

It may seem like a lot to handle while you’re rushing to get to the airport on time, but nothing beats coming home to a clean bedroom and fresh sheets. At the very least, try to empty your hamper of all the dirty laundry so that you can fill it with your dirty, travel gear when you’re back.