There are so many important things to remember when you’re planning a trip it can be easy to forget one of the most important ones: making sure the home you’re temporarily leaving behind is fully protected.
It might be frustrating to add to your travel to-do list, but your home is your most important investment. More than that, you don’t want to go on vacation only to return home to a lot of issues. At least having the below checklist handy will make it that much easier to get your home all set before you leave.
- Hold the mail. Having the mail pile up is a dead giveaway to would-be burglars that you’re out of town, so have your mail held at the post office. Likewise, suspend any newspaper deliveries you have. The added advantage is that a pile of bills and related items won’t be the first thing that greets you when you return.
- Mow the lawn. Just like the mail piles, an unkempt lawn could be a clue that you are out of town. Mowing the lawn right before you depart will make it seem like someone is still home.
- Maintain normal routines at your house. If you normally have a lawn crew come around once a week, don’t cancel while you’re away.
- Leave the lights on. Likewise, leave the lights on. If you have a timer, set it so they come on when you would normally turn them on at night. Leaving basic routines in place while you’re away avoids tipping off anyone to your absence.
- Switch the water off. On the other hand, make sure you’ve turned the water off. A broken pipe that goes unaddressed while you’re gone could lead to some serious flooding in your house.
- Turn off electronics. Don’t leave that fan going. Unplug the TV. This will keep them safe in case there is a power surge.
- Check the weather. Don’t just study the forecast for your destination. Check the weather for your community. If a storm is on the way, make sure you do whatever you normally would do to get your house ready for a storm before you leave.
- Limit social media posts. At a very minimum, avoid posting details of your trip, such as the dates you’ll be away, on any social media platform. Ideally, you should hold off on posting live photos from your vacation. You can post everything on Instagram when you’re back in town.
- Have a friend or neighbor check in. Having a friend or neighbor dropping in to check in on things will give you added peace of mind. This might be particularly useful if you get an expected package delivery. Your trusted friend or neighbor will ensure it doesn’t remain outside too long, drawing the attention of would-be thieves. If you can afford it, go one step further and hire a house sitter.
- Don’t leave your spare key out. While it might normally be a good idea to have one, a spare key might make it easier for someone to break in. Most people are going to know to look in the planter, under the fake rock or loose brick, or over the door sill.
- Secure your property. If you have a pool, make sure it is locked and cover it. If you have a garage door, disconnect it to prevent someone from using it to get inside.
- Use your safe. Prepare for the worst-case scenario: in case someone does break in, make sure your jewelry and other valuables are locked away in a safe.
- Get an alarm system and advertise it. If you don’t have one already, now might be a good time to get a home security system. Posting notices that you have a home security system will provide an added measure of deterrence to intruders. Consider enhancing your security system with outdoor sensor lighting.
- Buy a home monitoring system. Some home alarm systems will connect with your smart phone or tablet. If not, consider setting up a home video monitoring system that you can access from your phone. Nothing will make you more certain your home is safe than being able to see it for yourself.
We know, it’s a lot to do. But this covers it all. After doing everything you need to secure your home, you’ll be able to relax just that much more on your trip.
Sources included: The Ordinary Traveler, Lincoln Savings Bank, and Bob Vila.