Pack your bags and grab the kids. The vacation of your dreams is about to begin. Just make sure you have properly secured your home before you head for the beach/mountains/jungle or you may return to a nasty surprise.
- Secure All Windows and Doors – Keeping your home locked up will deter most potential vandals or robbers from targeting it. Of course, make sure that you fasten all windows and doors before you leave for vacation. Additionally, if you have a sliding glass door, leave a pole in the track to prevent the door from being forced open. Alternatively, some sliding glass doors have a hole you can stick a nail into, which prevents them from opening. Finally, disable your automatic garage door opener just in case someone has its signal decoded.
- Temporarily Stop the Mail and Newspaper – A couple of days before you depart, place a hold on your mail and your newspaper subscription. Most people let their mail and newspaper accumulate while they vacation, which makes empty houses easy for criminals to identify. If you would rather not interrupt your services, simply ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspaper daily, just as you usually would.
- Set up Timers to Turn on Lights – Another way to give the impression that there are people living in your home is to set up timers on a couple of lights throughout your house. Have the timers set to turn your lights on and off when you normally would each morning and evening.
- Leave a Radio on – People rarely live in perfectly quiet homes 24 hours a day, so why should you leave your home devoid of noise when you vacation? Simply leave a radio on or set one up on a timer, like with your lights, to give the impression that you really have not left.
- Ask a Friend or the Police to Monitor Your Home –
If a criminal notices someone monitoring your home, then he or she probably will not target your house. In some cities, you can ask the police to drive by your home while you are vacationing. Of course, you can always have your neighbor check in on your home if the police are not an option.
You could also give your valuables to a trusted neighbor to watch. If you’re leaving a car at the house, give your neighbor the keys. That way, if you are robbed, they won’t be able to steal your car. Your neighbor could also move your car to further the illusion that someone is still living at your house.
- Alert Your Home Security System Company – Monitored home security systems can protect your home while you’re away. By alerting your vendor that you will not be home, the security company can alert the police as soon as they notice an irregularity as opposed to trying to call you first. Those few seconds can make a big difference when someone has broken into your home.
- Unplug Unnecessary Items – Not just criminals could ruin your home while you’re gone. Leaving items plugged in while you vacation could result in disaster. Since no one will be home, a spark from an electrical short could easily cause a house fire. By taking a few minutes to unplug all non-essential items before you leave, you can greatly reduce your risk of coming home to a burned down shell.
- Turn off Water to Your Clothes Washer – The water supply hoses connected to clothes washers fail from time to time. You should turn off the water to your washing machine to prevent returning home from vacation to a flooded house. While the likelihood of a water supply line bursting is low, it only takes a few seconds to turn off the water to your clothes washer. Do not take the risk of leaving the water on.
Many of the above tasks require very little time to complete. Securing your home prior to leaving for vacation will allow you to relax on the beach truly, since you will not have to worry as much about something bad happening at your home. Just beware of falling coconuts if you decide to lie under any palm trees.