Going on vacation is an exciting time filled with adventure, relaxation, and new experiences. But before you hit the road or take to the skies, there’s an important matter to attend to–ensuring the safety of your home while you’re away. By taking a few simple precautions, you can enjoy your vacation with peace of mind, knowing that your home is secure.
1. Lock up and double-check
It may seem like an obvious step, but double-checking that all doors and windows are securely locked is crucial. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a trip, a window or door can be left unlocked. Take the time to go through each entry point in your home, including sliding doors, basement windows, and the garage.
2. Set timers for lights
A dark and unoccupied house can be an invitation for trouble. Invest in inexpensive timers for your lights, and set them to turn on and off at different times throughout the evening. This gives the illusion that someone is home, deterring potential burglars.
3. Don’t advertise your absence
It’s tempting to share your vacation excitement on social media, but hold off on posting those stunning beach photos until after you return. Broadcasting your absence to a wide audience can attract unwanted attention. If you want to share your vacation, do it privately with a select group of trusted friends and family.
4. Inform a trusted neighbor or friend
Let a neighbor or friend know about your travel plans. They can keep an eye on your property, collect mail and packages, and even park their car in your driveway to make it appear as if someone is home. Having a trusted person nearby can be invaluable.
5. Hold mail and deliveries
An overflowing mailbox or a pile of packages on your doorstep is a clear sign that no one’s home. Contact your local post office to hold your mail or ask a neighbor to collect it for you. Similarly, pause any regular deliveries, like newspapers or groceries, until you return.
6. Secure valuables
If you have valuable items in your home, consider locking them in a safe. Important documents, jewelry, and small electronics are prime targets for thieves. A home safe provides an extra layer of protection.
7. Unplug appliances
Save energy and reduce the risk of electrical fires by unplugging non-essential appliances. Items like toasters, coffee makers, and televisions can still draw power even when turned off. Unplugging them also reduces the risk of power surges.
8. Adjust your thermostat
There’s no need to keep your home as cool or warm as usual while you’re away. Adjust your thermostat to save energy and reduce your utility bills. Many modern thermostats can be controlled remotely, allowing you to raise or lower the temperature as needed.
9. Install a security system
Consider installing a home security system if you don’t already have one. These systems can include alarms, cameras, and even smartphone apps that let you monitor your home remotely. The presence of visible security cameras can deter potential intruders.
10. Check your insurance
Before you leave, review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered, especially when it comes to incidents that might occur while you’re away. If necessary, consider additional coverage for specific risks like theft or vandalism.
11. Arrange for lawn care
If you’re going to be away for an extended period, arrange for someone to mow your lawn or shovel your walkway in winter. A well-maintained exterior can make it seem like someone is home.
12. Keep your travel plans low-key
While it’s exciting to plan a vacation, try to keep the details private. Discuss your travel plans quietly, especially in public places where others might overhear.
13. Check your alarms
Before leaving, check that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly. These alarms can help protect your home from potential disasters, even when you’re not there.
14. Lock up your tools
If you have a shed or garage full of tools, lock them up securely. Tools can be used to break into your home, so don’t make it easy for potential burglars.
15. Emergency contacts
Provide a trusted neighbor or friend with your emergency contact information and a spare key to your home. In case of a problem, they can quickly access your home or reach out to you.
16. Clean up the yard
A well-maintained yard gives the impression that your home is occupied. Trim any overgrown bushes or trees that could provide cover for someone trying to break in.
17. Avoid a voicemail announcement
Don’t record an outgoing voicemail message that announces your absence. Instead, use a generic message that doesn’t indicate when you’ll return.
18. Don’t leave spare keys outside
Avoid the temptation to leave a spare key under a doormat or flowerpot. Experienced burglars know all the common hiding spots.
19. Secure sliding doors
Sliding glass doors can be a weak point in home security. Use a dowel or bar to prevent the door from sliding open, even if the lock is compromised.
20. Consider a home sitter
If you’re especially concerned about your home’s security, you might consider hiring a house sitter. This person can live in your home while you’re away, ensuring that it’s never truly empty.
Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in keeping your home safe while you’re on vacation. With these steps in place, you can fully enjoy your well-deserved break, knowing that you’ve taken measures to protect your home and belongings. Safe travels!
Learn more about what insurance you need to have in place before you travel in this article here!