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Travel nurses thrive in new environments, and one of the benefits of the job is experiencing new places. Knowing that your home is safe and clean while you’re away will help you appreciate the freedom travel nursing can give you. If you’re considering travel nursing but you’re not sure what to do with your home while you’re away, consider the following tools and strategies to travel with confidence that you’ll return to your home just the way you left it.
Keep Your House Maintained When You’re There
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your home will be safe while you’re away on assignment is to keep it up-to-date while you’re there. Make sure you’re regularly performing general maintenance tasks like ensuring you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors, draining your sprinklers in the winter, sealing small cracks that let pests in, and staying on top of appliance maintenance and cleaning so a small problem doesn’t become a big one while you’re away. If you’re not sure what needs to be done, there are several yearly home-maintenance checklists online to get you started.
Read Your Insurance Policy and Purchase Unoccupied Homeowners Insurance
Many homeowners insurance policies won’t cover property loss or damages if you’ve been gone over a certain length of time. From an insurance company’s perspective, an unoccupied house is a bigger risk, because there’s no one there to notice small problems that turn into big damages. For example, if you’re home, you might notice a leaky pipe and call a plumber, but if no one is home, that pipe could turn into a flood. As a travel nurse who could be gone for months at a time, check if your policy covers an unoccupied home, and if it doesn’t, invest in unoccupied homeowner’s insurance to cover damages while you’re away.
Disconnect Non-Essential Devices
Electronic devices use energy when they’re plugged in, even when they’re turned off. If your travel nursing assignment leads you to be away for several weeks or months, lower your energy bills by unplugging devices like televisions, laundry machines, refrigerators that have been emptied of perishables, and smaller devices like lamps and exercise equipment. If your outlets are in hard-to-reach locations, connecting devices to a power strip can help you unplug them all at once, and will also prevent power surges from damaging your devices. Ensure that essential devices like security systems and thermostats are still receiving power.
Invest In Smart Home Devices To Keep Your House On Autopilot
Internet-connected devices allow you to keep an eye on things at home even when you’re on the road. Nest thermometers are an energy-efficient way to keep your home at a safe temperature, especially in climates where extreme heat or cold can damage structures in your house. Ring doorbells can help you monitor deliveries and other activity that happens outside your house. Smart entry systems allow you to lock and unlock your doors remotely, so if maintenance is needed while you’re on assignment, workers can enter your home without you needing to give away a passcode or key to a stranger. And devices like water sensors will alert you immediately if there’s a flood so you can mitigate damage before it becomes a huge problem.
Don’t Let Mail Pile Up
A sure sign that your home is unoccupied is a pile of mail and packages. Make sure your mail is being forwarded to you at your new location through the USPS, or have them hold it and schedule a date for pickup when you return. Sign up for accounts at UPS and FedEx so you can arrange different package delivery or pickup options during your nursing assignment.
Simple Steps To Deter Thieves
One of the biggest concerns with leaving your home unoccupied is the potential for burglary. Deter burglars by installing visible security systems, or, if cost is a factor, dummy cameras that look like the real thing. Connect a few lamps in your house to smart plugs with timers, and schedule the lights to turn on for a few hours each night to make it look like you’re home. Ensure that your yard is maintained by hiring a lawn service or installing low-maintenance landscaping. The last thing you want is to come home from travel nursing to find your house has been broken into, so taking preventative measures will definitely pay off.
Invest In A Fireproof Safe
While most things can be replaced in the event of a fire, flood, or burglary, there are some things you shouldn’t risk – important documents like birth certificates, family heirlooms and jewelry, and safe deposit box keys, to name a few. For these items, invest in a fireproof safe that will keep nature and thieves out. Make sure this safe is in a secure location and mount it somewhere so a flood or person can’t easily carry it away.
The good news is, if you take the proper steps to secure your home, it’s extremely unlikely that anything bad will happen while you’re off on your next travel nursing assignment. A few simple steps and purchases will allow you to do your job with the peace of mind that everything is taken care of at home, and knowing your home base is secure will give you the freedom to enjoy all travel nursing has to offer.