What to Do With Your Apartment Before a Lengthy Trip

Woman packing overfilled suitcaseSummer is fast approaching and with it comes ample opportunities to travel with friends, family, or solo. When you’re a renter, it’s normal to have some reservations about leaving your apartment and all of your possessions behind.  I live alone and have done my fair share of traveling so I understand the anxiety. If your roommate is traveling with you or you live alone, how can you be sure that everything will be just as you left it? Luckily, there are many options for you to solve this issue.

Get a house-sitter (1 to 3 weeks)

Lets say it’s your birthday and you’re surprised with a 2 week cruise through Europe (we should all be so lucky!), but the ship doesn’t allow pets on board. A house-sitter would be the perfect option for you. There are ways to search for and hire house-sitters e.g. Angie’s List or your community’s forum. To me though, the safest way to go is to hire someone you know and trust. They can live in your apartment part or full time, take care of your pets/plants/anything that’s alive, and you get to come home relaxed knowing there’s nothing to worry about. Also, you’ll probably get a better rate if you go with a friend.

Weekly check-ins from your family/friend (2-4 weeks)

This option is definitely less complicated than a house-sitter but it offers the same amount of comfort. If you have a friend/family member that lives relatively close to you, they can check-in on your apartment once or twice a week. They would basically make sure nothing’s leaking, everything is locked up, and no one has tried to break in during your absence. If anything were to go wrong, that person could alert your landlord and have the issue fixed before you come back from your blissful trip. Yes, you would definitely let your landlord know that you have this arrangement with someone so they aren’t caught off guard if an issue were to arise. Also, if you have no friends or family available to do this, you could always have a trusted neighbor keep an eye out for you.

Sublet (2-3 months)

If you’re participating in a study abroad program or an international volunteering trip, subletting is a great option for you. When an opportunity to travel for months comes along, sometimes your means of making money are cut off. Bills rack up, life keeps going, and you’re in Singapore hoping you’ll have enough money to live when you come back home. So as long as it is legal for you to sublet your apartment or room, and you follow all the rules, go for it!  (For example, if you live in a rent stabilized apartment in NYC, it’s  legal to sublet, but you must get landlord’s permission, which cannot be unreasonable refused, and the process will take 30+ days.) It will give you peace of mind for your apartment and your wallet. Just make sure to screen your potential subletters. If they’re not someone you know personally, try to get someone who’s vouched for by someone you know. If that doesn’t work, sites like airbnb help to facilitate the connection between you and a potential guest who can sublet your place. When you put your apartment or room up as a listing, you’re able to choose to include certain requirements which must be met by the members in order for them to apply for your listing.

Move out (Over 3 months)

As much as you may enjoy your humble abode, if you will be gone for more than three months it might be time to think about giving up your apartment. Of course, this all depends on where you are in your lease and how long you can implement the options previously mentioned. If you can find someone to sublet for 4 months, house-sit for 2 weeks, and do weekly check-ins for another month, you might be able to get away with keeping your apartment. If you see yourself away more than you’re home, maybe having an apartment isn’t in the cards for you right now.

Of course, a no muss no fuss way to handle your apartment is to just leave it alone. If you have no living organisms living with you, you have the money to pay your rent while you’re gone, and you feel your apartment is secure enough, you can definitely leave it vacant until you come back. As long as you leave your apartment in tip top shape and lock everything before you leave, all should be well.

Are any of you guys traveling for a long period of time? How will you settle your apartment? Let us know in the comments!

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Author My First Apartment

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I am a first time renter who was born, raised, and still lives in New York. I had a few stints with campus apartment living in college so I know a thing or two about roommates, decorating, and $2 meals. I've learned a lot thanks to my past experiences and my healthy obsession with HGTV but I'm still learning as I go along. Come learn with me!

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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar John Donovan

    Figuring out what to do with your apartment when you go on a trip can be tricky. It certainly does depend on the length of the trip! If the trip isn’t too long, I just give my key to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to check on things while I’m gone.

  2. Avatar Jess

    For me, I want an apartment while I’m in college. It’s a lot cheaper (I made spreadsheets and charts to convince my parents), but I’ll most likely be going home over summers, right in that 3-month zone. My parents just recently moved out of state from my college, so it’s no longer going to be okay for me to just stay in my apartment over the summer. Any suggestions?