How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation
A family vacation is something some folks work very hard to earn, and the last thing homeowners want after finally getting some fun in the sun is to return to a burglarized home with a missing TV or stolen jewelry. Unfortunately, if you don’t take certain precautions ahead of your trip, your home could become an easy target for thieves. It is also important to take steps to avoid damage or any other hazards while you’re gone, independent of any threat from home invaders.
Here are a few important things all homeowners should keep in mind when taking an extended vacation.
Minimizing risk and lowering costs
Traveler’s Insurance reported that there is a long list of things you can do to prepare your home that have nothing to do with protecting against robberies or anything like that. By taking the time to power some things down and change a few settings, you can save yourself some money and minimize the chances of coming home to water or fire damage.
Because many home appliances will continue to use electricity even when they are off, it may be worth unplugging a few of them to save from phantom charging. Although your refrigerator is exempt from this, it may be wise to go through and either freeze or throw out some food. To further save on utility while you are away, consider using timers on your indoor or outdoor lights. Similarly, depending on the season, either set your heat or your air conditioning to an appropriate level. Otherwise you could come home to frozen pipes or a hefty bill.
Thwarting the bad guys
When it comes to specifically protecting against the threat of a robbery, there are a number of things that can be done to make it less obvious you are not home, according to Independent Traveler. Even if you live in a neighborhood with low crime rates, it is important to protect your home and your family.
It goes without saying that locking your windows and doors is a pretty important step when it comes to preventing a home invasion, but Traveler’s Insurance found this is can be overlooked. Even locking the garage is a good idea, and make sure any hidden keys are removed. However unlikely, it is best to not make things easy for home invaders.
In the same way you might reach out to your cable and Internet providers ahead of a trip, let your alarm company or the local police about your vacation. It is also advisable to stop your newspaper subscription and the mail for the week, because a few uncollected papers and a full mailbox is an easy sign to would-be criminals that you are not home. Likewise, leave a few lights on throughout the house.
In this modern age of technology, Independent Traveler even suggested that avoiding flaunting your vacation on social media is a good idea. You may be excited about your trip and want to share with your friends, but if you’re too specific with dates and not posting in secure locations, undesirable folks in your neighborhood may stumble upon a new opportunity.
While you are away
Some of the most important steps to protecting your home from a potential robbery occur while you are already on your trip. Taking preventative measures is important for making your home a less attractive or obvious target for the bad guys, but by asking a family member, friend or trust-worthy neighbor for help, you can further ensure nothing bad happens while you are away.
“A car in the driveway may scare off area criminals.”
Have this person come by once or twice during the week. A car in the driveway may scare off area criminals, and this person can also collect your mail or newspapers if you forgot or were unable to pause these services. Your friend or neighbor can also turn on new lights and bring in the barrels from the curb if necessary.
Another reason why bringing a friend into the fold is helpful is because they may be able to feed your fish, water your plants or do any other household chores that may be helpful. As Independent Traveler pointed out, be sure to thank them with a bottle of wine or plate of cookies.
If your family is new to a community or neighborhood and you don’t yet have someone available to check in on your home, there are programs that can keep an eye on your place. For example, Independent Traveler stated that AWatchfulNeighrbor.com can send you text or email alerts about any changes or updates and can even notify the authorities if needed. Similarly, you can reach out to your local police station and request an extra drive by or two while you are on vacation. In small towns, it is entirely likely that they will have the time to fit this into a patrol schedule.