Millions of people are itching to travel again. Some time may have passed since your last trip and staying home has made everyone feel a bit stir crazy. If you’re like us, you’re anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get out of town again. Before you do, take a few minutes to protect your home while traveling. Anxious travelers are not the only people who are ready to jump on the chance to go away for a few days.
As much as we wish things were different, we know there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who are also waiting on people to spend some time away from home. When people start traveling again, there will be plenty of opportunity for burglaries of unattended homes.
There are a few simple steps to help protect your home while traveling. Many of these can be implemented in a short amount of time and will leave you feeling better prepared.
Invest In A Security System
There are dozens of systems on the market, each offering their own features and price points. Take some time to research the system that best meets your needs and get it installed. Some features you may want to consider are glass breakage, motion detectors and cameras, professional monitoring, and even flood sensors. Be sure to arm your system prior to departure. Convenient apps allow you to check in once-in-awhile during your time away.
Inform Trusted Neighbors
Good, trusted neighbors are your ally when going away. Ask them to keep an eye on things while you’re gone. They might be willing to help with the mail, shoveling or mowing too. These things give the appearance that someone is still home.
Maintain Your Exterior
If you live in a house, it is important to maintain the exterior. Keep large bushes and shrubs trimmed back. Otherwise these can provide excellent hiding places. Do a quick check of the perimeter of your property too – make sure gate latches are secure and everything is in place. Again, have a plan to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled if necessary.
Light It Up
We are big fans of using programmable timers on our lights. Thanks to digital technology, you can now set a variety of programs on a variety of lights (as well as other electronic items). Setting random programs and keeping the house interior illuminated is usually a good deterrent.
Don’t forget exterior lights. Experts have said time and time again that a well lit exterior also deters burglars. If you can’t program your exterior lights, invest in a motion detector light. We purchased light bulbs with a sunset to sunrise sensor for our porch. These automatically come on when the natural light hits a certain point at night and turns off when it gets bright enough in the morning.
Survey your house for lights and electronics that do not need to be powered up during your absence. Unplug them! Even when not in use, these items draw a phantom charge. Items that you wish to leave plugged in like computers should be on a surge protector.
Consider The Weather
Be sure to check the local forecast during the time you will be away and plan appropriately. If there is a winter storm in the works, turn up the heat and prop open cabinets. The last thing you want is to come home to a pipe that has frozen and burst. The same goes for extremely hot temperatures, rainy days, etc. A few extra minutes of planning can help prevent unintended property damage.
It is a good idea to secure your valuables at all times, but even more so when you travel. If you choose to have a safe at home, keep it in an inconspicuous place. It is also important to make sure the safe is secured. A few strong people can easily carry a small safe out. Be sure to bolt it to a wall or something along those lines.
Shut All Interior Doors
This might help reduce heating and cooling costs while you are away. More importantly, you can help slow the spread of a fire by shutting the doors should one break out during your absence. Speaking of fire, this is a great time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
Check the locks for all windows and doors. It is so easy to think a window is securely latched, only to find out that it is not. This also includes double checking locks to gates, storage sheds, garage doors and even items you keep on your property (like cars, trailers, etc.). Make sure everything is properly locked up and spare keys are stored in secure locations.
Don’t Share Your Trip Details
Social media rules everything these days. But, as tempting as it may be, don’t post about your upcoming trip or share photos while you’re gone.
These simple steps will help you protect your home while traveling. None of them take much time to put in place, nor are they super expensive. Putting these in place will help give you peace of mind while you are away.