Planning a trip can be very exciting, but there is always a lot to consider and a lot to do in preparation. Whether it’s a work-related trip or an adventure with your family, you spend time figuring out all of the details to make sure you and your family arrive safely and enjoy your time away. But one thing many people do not spend enough time planning is how to keep their home safe while they are gone. Below we highlight ways to protect your home so as not to come home to a very unpleasant surprise.
Ask a family member, friend or neighbor to check on things. Having someone you trust to bring in your mail, water your plants, and take out your trash and recycling is not only helpful, it also gives the impression that someone is living in the home, even when your away.
Even better, see if a family member is willing to house sit. Having someone come and go on a normal schedule will take your house off the radar of anyone casing it out.
This being said, do not leave a key outside for easy access. You can be sure that people who intend on robbing you know where to look for those “hidden” keys. Be sure to leave the key with your friend or neighbor and ask them to keep it on them at all times.
Assuming you have a safe in your house, be sure to lock up all valuables such as jewelry, extra cash, etc.
If you don’t have a person you can count on to go to the house daily or at least every other day for mail pickup, contact the post office and have them hold your mail while you are gone. Having your mail pile up day after day is a sure sign no one is home. If the wrong person notices, you might be setting yourself up for a break in.
The same is true if you let lawn maintenance and snow removal go. During the summer, keep up with weekly mowing by hiring a neighborhood kid or lawn service. During the winter, be sure to do the same by hiring a neighborhood kid to clear your walkways or hire a snow removal company to plow your driveway while your gone. Setting this up ahead of time will ensure your covered if you get a storm while your gone.
Be vigilant in locking your house up tight. While most people lock their doors each time they leave the house, many people leave at least or two windows unlocked. Be sure to double check each window to ensure you are not leaving thieves an open invitation. You also want to give some thought to your garage doors. If you have an automatic door opener, plan on disengaging it while your away. It is entirely possible your opener has a universal remote, which means others can use their own to gain access. On top of disengaging your remote, consider installing a deadbolt system or side lock to the garage doors to prevent anyone to trying to manually enter.
Install automatic timers on your lights and electronics in the home. Having your lights, and perhaps even your TV, set to turn on and off each day will also give the impression the home is occupied. Better yet, have them set to turn on and off at different times each day so it doesn’t seem so “scheduled”. In the summer, you should also plan on having your air conditioning turn on during the day. If someone is watching the home, it will be a dead giveaway that no one is there if the air conditioning never turns on during a heat wave.
Show off your security system. Place the security company stickers in your windows to advertise your house is being monitored. It is also a good idea to call your security company to let them know the dates you plan on being gone. This way, if the alarm does go off, there isn’t a delay in trying to reach you to determine if it’s a false alarm… they will automatically send the police to the house to check it out.
Finally, do not post your travel plans or vacation pictures on social media, as hard as that might be! There are some people out there that look for that information and jump on the opportunity to break in, knowing you’re out of town.
You don’t want to have to worry about what’s going on at home when you have the chance to get away. Following these basic tips and being prepared ahead of time will help protect your home and give you some peace of mind while your gone.