It’s a feeling that almost everyone can relate to: Those few days leading up to a winter escape or big vacation are filled with anticipation, and the only thing that your mind can focus on is sun, fun and freedom. But before you run off and get all footloose and fancy-free, we have just one question:
Have you thought about how you should help protect your home while you’re away?
If not, don’t worry — we’ve got some great advice to help you make sure that when you return, everything is right where you left it.
1. Mum’s the word — Don’t announce your travel plans on social media. Although you may be itching to brag about your tropical getaway in the middle of winter, resist the urge. You could inadvertently let robbers know that your house is vacant and ready to be burgled.
2. Postpone The Post — Stop your paper and mail service while you’re away. Nothing screams “empty house” like a pile of mail on your front stoop. Avoid giving thieves a heads-up that your home is ripe for the taking.
3. Get the dog a hotel — Have a care plan in place for your pooch.
A pet left to his or her own devices for an extended period of time means nothing but trouble. Find a reputable kennel or pet-sitter for your dog.
4. Shine bright — Put lights on random timers so your home looks lived in.
A dark home and yard provide the perfect cover for a burglary. Keep things well lit, and people won’t be able to tell that you’re away.
5. Keep it in the closet — Place valuables in a locked safe or other hidden area.
While you may leave certain pieces of jewelry out while you’re home for easy access, it’s best to be extra cautious when your place is vacant. Make sure to lock up anything that would be especially hard to replace if stolen.
6. Close the curtains — Nothing in your home should be visible from the street.
Many of us like to pull back the window coverings and let the wonderful rays of the sun warm our homes. But opening the curtains could also open your home to prowlers who want to check out the merchandise before making a “purchase.” To keep their eyes off of your property, close all window coverings before heading off for vacation.
7. Trim the tree — Prune landscaping so thieves don’t have a place to hide.
Keeping up the yard is an expected chore of home ownership. But before you leave for vacation, you may want to take extra care to make sure that your yard is as clean and pristine as possible. Overgrown shrubbery could provide the perfect cover for a thief to hide while picking a lock or prying a window open. Don’t help burglars out — make sure that your landscaping is cut low.
8. Letter to the law — Ask local police to keep an eye on your home.
Most police departments will gladly give your property a little extra attention while you’re away — all you have to do is call them up and ask for their help.
9. Call in a favor — Have a friend drop by to check on the house occasionally.
Employing the services of a trusted friend or family member as a part-time house sitter will not only help make sure your home remains safe from crime, but also safe from maintenance-related disasters.
10. Arm the alarm — Make sure you activate your security system before leaving.
There’s no substitute for the ‘round-the-clock protection of a home security system. Activate it before leaving, and rest easy the entire time you’re away.
And there you have it — 10 quick tips for a safe house.