How to protect your home while travelling with David Pagnotta
Hockey reporter David Pagnotta

As a hockey reporter and an events manager for sporting events, I travel across Canada and the United States on a fairly regular basis. I’ve been fortunate to visit some of the best cities in North America, and with the NHL® hosting games overseas as part of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series™, it was a real treat to visit Stockholm, Sweden this past November. Every month I’m packing my bags and heading out on the road for a game, photo shoot, meeting or event. Travelling is a constant in my life, and something I regularly prepare for.

Knowing that everything is taken care of back home while hundreds of kilometers away is a huge stress reliever.

There is a lot more that goes into travelling than most people think. I have three or four trips per year where I find myself away for a week or more at a time, but found being away from home for a few days can be equally stressful if you don’t take the right precautionary steps. It’s basically the same as when you head out on vacation.

The travelling checklist

There’s a lot I have to think through before hitting the road. I have to make sure my two dogs are taken care of, and that my windows are locked. Do I need someone to water my plants? Should I ask my neighbor to pick up my mail or have it held at the post office? Does my insurance company need to know that I’m going to be away for a while? Should I call my credit card company? After all that, I still have to remember the little things like turning off all the lights and closing the garage door before I leave.

Prepare for the weather

If I’m away during the winter, I check the forecast to see if we’re due for another snowfall. If so, and I’m gone for a 10-day stretch, is anyone available to clean my driveway and sidewalk? If it’s particularly cold, I may even ask them to check that my furnace is working and that the plumbing isn’t freezing.

At the end of the day, I’ve got to make the effort to protect some of the most important things I own. Once all that hoopla is finally in order, I can begin packing – usually 25 minutes before heading to the airport, something I don’t necessarily recommend.

Prevention is always the best bet

If you check off all the above, you’re in great shape for ensuring your home is protected while you’re away. If you want to go the extra mile, smart home technology can be a great investment and an added layer of security. For example, you can hook up security cameras in your home and sync them to your cell phone so you can check in from time to time. These devices can definitely help minimize damage should something ever happen. Be warned though, if the power goes out in a storm, your cell battery dies or your signal stinks at the exact moment you’re checking in, they may not help. You can at least still rest assured that you took the proper preventative measures to protect yourself before leaving.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I love taking on new experiences, but I still have responsibilities while I’m on the road. Knowing that everything is taken care of back home while hundreds of kilometers away is a huge stress reliever, especially when you’re gone for an extended period of time. For me, that’s the Stanley Cup® Playoffs. Bouncing back and forth between cities can take its toll. Once the Stanley Cup® is awarded, the NHL Awards™ and NHL Draft™ wrap up, and the first crop of free agents find new homes, I go home to relax until hockey gets back underway in late-September. And then I get to do it all over again.

The next time you have to head out of town for work or vacation, be sure to take the extra time to safeguard yourself and your home. It’s worth the effort, and the peace of mind alone is a life saver.

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