Holidays are synonymous with letting loose, relaxing, carefreeness and just generally a good time. But before bidding adieu to your home, some advice.
1. Check your travel documents
We usually don't use our IDs and travel documents all that much during the year. For this reason: make sure your documents such as national ID are still valid (for at least 28 more days in the EU). If you need to request a new ID, don't wait until the last minute - you won't be the only one who does so and long delays are possible with holidays approaching fast.
If you're planning on travelling outside of the EU, make sure you pack your passport. Most countries outside of the EU require you to have a passport that's still valid for several months AFTER your planned return date. Also don't forget that you need a visa to enter some countries so do your research (well) in advance!
If one parent happens to be travelling alone with their child, it could be useful to have the other parent sign an authorisation for the child to leave the country. At any rate, if you're travelling with your children, pack your family book to provide proof of the relationship. This may not be a good replacement for ID, but is certainly indispensable if the child and accompanying parent have different surnames.
Some countries also require international driving licenses. Contact the Automobile Club Luxembourg as the ACL is equipped to provide Luxembourg residents with European driving licenses with the international licenses.
2. Prevent break-ins
The risk of burglaries increases with prolonged absences and burglars look for signs that your home has been empty, namely closed shutters, empty bins, and the lights being off. Any house appearing to be empty is an easy target for potential burglars.
As we've previously reported, the police have a dedicated 'going on holiday' service, whereby you can report the dates you're away. The police will then integrate your home in its patrols to ensure all is well. For full details on how to profit from the service, check out our article.
If you do want additional security, you can also have a word with your more attentive neighbours, asking them to keep an eye out for anything suspect. Also be careful to not leave anything valuable in plain sight, such as garden furniture or a barbecue. Those of you wanting to keep an eye on your home from afar can also install webcams that you can access from your phone. There are a number of technological tools, ranging from motion-detecting cameras to automatic lights.
3. Find care for your pets
Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, parrot, or fish, your pets may not be able to join you on holiday. There are a number of different services on offer, both to look after your animals at home or in a pet hotel.
If you want to keep your pet in a familiar environment, you can find a petsitter to come by several times a day to feed your pet, go out with your pet, and make sure everything is alright. Some petsitters can also get your post and water your plants. In general, professional petsitters promise to send photos and have references from vets. Alternatively, if you have a close friend or family member, that may be preferable to your pet, especially if they're familiar with this person.
For animals that are unable to stay at home alone - namely dogs -, you also have the option of pet hotels. Here, it's important to visit the establishment in advance to ensure the sanitary state of the pet hotel in question, their attitude to more nervous animals, and how many pets are staying there.
As a rule, dogs should have enough space to be active, an area with food, and a resting spot. The Veterinary Services Administration regularly inspects all pet hotels and has reported very few issues.
4. Postal service
If the prospect of returning from your holiday with a letterbox stuffed to the brim with post (a tip-off to burglars that your home is empty) fills you with dread, POST has a solution: the postal service can keep all your post until you return.
To benefit from this service, you have to activate it several working days, usually three to six, before you leave. You can activate the service online, in a post office branch, or by talking to your postman.
5. Watering plants
Both outdoor and indoor plants often suffer when homeowners go on holiday, as they aren't watered as regularly. Some plants can even be completely written off without water in the heat. You could install an automatic watering system for outdoor plants, but this could be risky if your municipality imposes water restrictions whilst you're away.
As for indoor plants, using clay pebbles can help plants stay hydrated for a short, as they hold in moisture. For longer periods, you can put in place an upside-down water bottle to progressively water your plants. Keep the bottle closed but with a small opening in the cap and your plant will have enough water.
Finally, you can also ask your friendly neighbour to drop in and water your plants.