Don’t leave home for vacation without first PREParing your home! The last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to get away is how secure you’ve left your home!
How to Prepare Your Home when Leaving on a Vacation? Best 13 Tips
The USPS now has a quick and easy way to stop your mail, and you don’t even have to go to the post office to do it! There are even ways to redirect it if you’ll be gone for a long period.
• Tip: Here’s a good moment to pay a neighborhood child some money to check to make sure there’s no paper sitting in your driveway, no phone books on your doorstep, or restaurant hangers on your door.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Get Timers for Lights and Television
Making your home look lived in is the point of getting timers for the lights and television in your house. You can set them to look like your typical activity during the time you’re away, including having a television set turn on and off (make sure your set can handle this). Even a portable radio will work in place of the television, especially if you live in an apartment or townhouse.
• Tip: It’s a good idea to make sure you have motion sensor lighting in your home, as well. You can get them inexpensively and install them in areas like your garage door, ill-lit alcoves, etc. We have even purchased a motion-detecting light for our front porch that is lit all the time but gets brighter when someone approaches the door.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Lock Up!
A great way to have someone unwanted in your home when you’re away is to forget to lock up. Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked, interior doors from the garage are locked, and gates and sheds are locked up. You may even want to turn off the garage door so that burglars can’t open it with universal remotes as they drive down the alley.
• Tips: If you are making your home a smart home, there are apps and mechanisms for controlling the lights and doors in your home. You can answer a doorbell from afar, turn the lights on and off in your home, and even code a remote ‘key’ to allow neighbors in if you don’t want to give one out.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Have Someone Check It Often
Even if they aren’t going to have a key to get in, have someone visually check your property often to make sure it doesn’t look as if something has happened. This is especially important with impending bad weather. You may decide to give a key to a trusted friend or neighbor which allows them to get inside to deliver packages and check that the water heater hasn’t emptied its contents onto your newly installed wood floor, etc.
• Tip: They can put your garbage cans out for you (and put them away), pick up whatever flyers have been left on the door, or phone books that have been dropped on the porch.
• Tip #2: See if your local police or sheriff’s department has a vacation check program where officers drive by and check out your property while you’re gone.
Set Alarm and Notify the Alarm Company
Be sure to set your alarms when you’ve gone. If a neighbor has your key, give them the access code so that they don’t set it off, and make sure to make the alarm company aware that you’ll be gone so that they know to be even more alert if the alarms do go off in your absence.
• Tip: If you are going to be gone for an extended time, consider contacting your local police department to let them know you’ll be gone. While they can’t be your security company, they may make the extra effort to drive by when they’re in your neighborhood.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Set your Own Alarm System
There are new systems on the market now that don’t require you to be attached to pay by the month company. This system allows you to set up your doors and windows with alarms, and this Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell/video monitor allows you to talk to whoever is ringing your doorbell even when you aren’t home!
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Keep Window Coverings Closed
There’s no point in advertising an empty house with windows that are wide open to peek in. If you have a neighbor checking the house for you, they can change the window coverings a bit to make it look as if someone has been around, but leave them closed!
• Tip: Just in case – make sure not to leave any obvious valuables laying in plain sight of a window.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Park a Car in the Driveway
Even if it’s your car from the garage or the neighbor’s teenager, have a car placed in your driveway to help make it look like someone is coming and going.
• Tip: I overheard this recently when traveling and thought it was a great idea – if you use a mountable GPS system in your car, remove it whenever you park somewhere. It just yells that you’re out on the road and not home. Especially if you’re parked at the airport.
Get a House Sitter/Pet Sitter
If you’re going to be gone for a while, or if it will make you feel more comfortable, hire someone to house sit for you. This might allow you to keep your pets at home, as well, which will help serve you with barking or peeking out windows (our cats live in our windows) as if nothing were out of the ordinary at all.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Don’t Advertise on Social Media
I am always amazed at how often I see people posting all over the internet that they aren’t home. What better way for someone to see that your house is now ripe for the picking? Sure…they’d have to follow you and know where you live (assuming you’ve got your account set to friends only), but it isn’t that hard for information to make it out past your smaller circle of friends.
• Tip #1: Be mindful of check-in apps like Foursquare (and Facebook) that automatically post your location when you check in or post an update.
• Tip: Be sure to check into your social media while you’re gone in case friends have left you messages announcing that you’re not home “Can’t wait to hear all about your vacation when you get back!”
Hide Empty Trashcans
Ever thought that a burglar might scout your home based on the empty trash can sitting in the alley/curb on trash day? If you have no trash to go out for trash day, you’ve likely not been home to create trash.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Keep the Yard Maintained
If you’re going to be gone awhile, make sure to pay a neighborhood teen or a lawn service to mow your yard or clear it up from the snow.
• Tip: I see this posted often, but never recommend doing it in the first place — remove any hidden keys you may have in easy to figure out places in your yard or on the porch. That’s just a bad idea anytime.
When Leaving Your Home for a Vacation Turn Your Devices Off!
If you’re not going to be using it, it’s often a good idea to turn it off.
- Turn off your water supply into your house (don’t use the city’s access, but the one at your house).
- Turn down your water heater to save power
- Turn down (or up) your thermostat, but do keep it at a level safe for the winter weather
- Unplug items that will not be used – televisions, computers, coffee makers. Don’t turn off fridges, freezers, or lamps/radios/TVs that will be used on timers for safety.
Weatherize Your Home
If you’re going to be gone during the winter, it’s a good idea to check your weather for serious dips in the temperature and prepare your home accordingly. Protect the outside faucets and pipes, don’t turn your thermostat down too far.
While you can’t prepare for a freak spring storm, this is a good time to have a neighbor go check your home, visually, for weather damage and get in contact with your insurance agent immediately to start work on getting your home further protected from weather, even if you can’t get home immediately.
YOUR THOUGHTS: Share some of your home security tips for when you’ll be away on travel.
Tom is a Marketing & Communications graduate interested in nature, gardening, agriculture, and traveling. For the last decade, Tom has turned his hobbies into a full-time job, creating useful resources and guides for all our readers. If he is not working on his next article, you will find Tom spending quality time with family or taking care of his own back garden.
Last update on 2023-06-02 at 06:40 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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