One thing that I hope you don’t have to worry about is the safety of your home while traveling. The best of vacations can be ruined upon returning home and finding something seriously wrong with your home. Planning before your trip may help to remedy these and ensure a smooth return home.
- Ask Friends For Help. A great way to have some peace of mind is know that someone is watching your property while you are gone. Depending on the length of your trip, this can be a real stress reliever. Consider bribing your friends with cookies when asking your neighbor to check on the pets, take the mail in or provide some basic lawn maintenance. If you will be gone for an extended period, consider having someone ‘house sit’ in your absence.
- Don’t Broadcast Your Absence. We all love to travel and share those experiences. Posting your absence and travel photos on social media is one of the primary way burglars learn of vacant houses. Be careful with your messages on answering machines and email autoresponders as these may also tip off the wrong crowd.
- Curtains Closed? Closing curtains may prevent the thieves from looking in, but it may also prevent those who may help from looking in too. Some suggest leaving the curtains how you would leave them on an ordinary day. If leaving them open, move expensive items from view
- Lights on? Don’t leave your lights on 24/7 while you are gone. If you are normally in bed by 10pm, it is better to have a timer that turns lights on and off approximating your normal daily routine. There are even products now that you can control with a smart phone if you forget to set them.
- Stop Your Mail. One of the easiest things to do is to stop your mail by visiting www.usps.com. There is nothing that says “I’m not here” like a week’s worth of newspapers on the front porch.
- Find a Friend You Trust. If you will be traveling for more than just a few nights, we suggest leaving a key to your house with someone you trust. They can check on frozen pipes during winter or issues that might develop in your absence.
- Pull the Plug. Unplug things you don’t need running like TVs, computers, water heaters if electric, etc. These drain electricity with no benefit in your absence. Adjust your thermostat to a reasonable temperate to save resources.
- Remove Your Spare Key. If you have a spare key hit somewhere, we suggest removing for your travel time. An experienced criminal has an advantage on finding them. See #6 as a better alternative.