Planning for a vacation can be an exciting time. While focused on everything ahead of you, it sometimes can be too easy to sail out the door without a second thought. But before you embark on any vacations, you may want to consider the following ways to protect your home while you are gone. It’s easy and just takes a little foresight.
- Hold Your Mail
If you will be away from home for more than a few days, consider putting your mail delivery on hold or asking a person you trust to pick your mail up for you. Newspapers piling up in your mailbox or on your lawn scream, “No one is home!”
- Make Your House Look “Lived In”
If you know you’ll be traveling for a while, don’t draw attention to your absence by leaving the lawn unmowed. Before you depart, set lights on a timer or schedule the TV and radio to go on or off at various times. Remember, you want to create the illusion that someone is there to act as a deterrent so robbers aren’t tempted to enter your home.
Here are a few additional pointers:
- During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm.
- Leave an unrolled hose outside or, if you have children, a few toys in the yard.
- Overall, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.
- Zip it
Don’t announce to the world that you’ll be out of town. Refrain from talking loudly in public about your departure and posting about your upcoming vacation on Facebook or other social sites. Social media settings aren’t foolproof, and sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish public content from private posts. To stay safe, don’t mention your trip until you’re back home.
- Trust a Friend
Record your itinerary, phone number and other important information on a sheet of paper and give it, along with a house key, to a trusted neighbor or friend. If there’s an emergency while you are gone, your neighbor or friend may be able to intervene or at least reach you.
- Advertise Your Security
While it’s not a good idea to advertise your whereabouts when you go on vacation, it is good to blatantly advertise your security measures. Post general security alarm warning stickers on your windows, install real or fake security cameras, or put up a “neighborhood watch” sign in your yard.
Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to help protect your home from an electrical fire or a power surge. This includes items big or small, from TVs, to your toaster, your coffee maker, and other appliances.
- Remove the Spare Key
Many people hide a spare key on their property so that they (or their kids!) will never get locked out of their home. Before you leave for a trip, remove the spare key. You don’t want any nosy thieves letting themselves into your home.
- Adjust Your Thermostats
Consider that while you are gone, your house doesn’t need to maintain the same temperature as while you are there. Set the air conditioner to go on only at 85°. You can also lower the temperature on your water heater.1 Although these measures don’t enhance security, they certainly help protect your hard-earned dollars, and perhaps leaving you extra cash to spend on your vacation.
- Lock Valuables Away
Lock jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fireproof safe.1
- Alert Your Alarm Company
If you have a home alarm system, call the monitoring service to let the staff know you’ll be away. Make sure all door and window alarms are set and working when you leave.1