Travel Checklist: How to Prepare Your Home for a Vacation
You’re going on a trip? That’s awesome.
But the last thing you want is to return from vacation only to find a house that’s been burgled or is stinking and dirty — particularly when you’re jet-lagged and tired.
The good news is that by being a little proactive and running through a checklist before you leave for your trip, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the likelihood that your home will attract the burglars, while you’re away.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine things to do before you leave for your trip:
1. Leave a couple of lights on and a car parked in the driveway.
People who are on vacation obviously wouldn’t leave their lights on, right? That’s what you want would-be burglars to think, anyway, so be sure to leave a couple of lights on! Buy timers if you must.
If you’re going on a road-trip across the country, try to leave a car parked in your driveway. You’ll need one car to go on your road trips, and one car to leave as a deterrent. People in Bangalore can check out the awesome road-trips from Bangalore. See whether your family, friends or neighbors would be willing to give you a ride to the airport if necessary. Otherwise, consider public transportation or even springing for a chauffeur driven Ola or Uber.
This is your vacation, after all.
2. Reschedule any maintenance appointments.
Are you planning on a week(s) long excursion in Thailand or somewhere in Europe? Well, you better make sure to tell your gardener to stay on schedule even though you’re away. The last thing you want is for someone to be able to tell you haven’t mowed your lawn in three weeks. It’s a telltale sign that you aren’t home.
At the same time do not forget to reschedule any due service of your water purifier or any home appliance. You do not want the trouble of an appliance breakdown right few days after you are back. And after a vacation, we do tend to forget these things.
3. Lock your doors and windows — including your garage door.
You need to make it as hard as possible for criminals to step foot inside your home. Believe it or not, doing something as simple (and sensible) as locking your doors and all the windows can go a long way toward discouraging someone from illegally entering your home.
Don’t forget to shut the power to your garage door off, too — and lock the door that connects your garage to your home as well.
4. Enlist the help of a friend or neighbor.
Want peace of mind when you’re on your vacation? Ask a friend or neighbor to help check on your home periodically. That way, if anything looks amiss, that individual could let you know quickly or, at least contact the police. Or even better if a friend or neighbor could sleep in your home some of the days.
5. Have someone pick up your mail, or pause delivery altogether.
Regardless of how long it takes you to claim a mailbox bursting with bills when you are home, you definitely won’t want mail overflowing when you’re gone. Criminals will know you’re away if you neglect your mailbox.
So ask that neighbor of yours to pick up your mail, too, if they don’t mind. If you find yourself with more adversaries than friends, you can also call the post office and instruct them to pause delivery until you get back from your trip.
6. Don’t tell your 7,000 Twitter followers you’ll be away.
Want to reduce the likelihood that a criminal steals your stuff while you’re gone? Easy: Don’t advertise on social media that you’ll be away. While it can be tempting to upload those photos of your swirling a piña colada, it’s best to wait until you get home.
According to recent research, 80 percent of burglars do at least a little bit of research on social media before deciding which homes to strike. Believe it or not, thieves too, are on Social media these days.
7. Do your best to keep valuables out of sight.
It’s all about removing incentive from a would-be burglar’s mind. If you leave your brand new MacBook Air lying on your table in plain sight with the curtains open, a criminal might decide it’s totally worth breaking into your home, so long as they can grab that. Same goes for your parked car. Even take out the music system's mouth from the car.
So, keep all your valuables well hidden and safe. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Hide your spare key.
Do you leave a spare key lying around near your door? That’s great if you’re the one who finds it.
Be sure to put that key somewhere in safe storage. The last thing you want is a criminal snooping around your property only to find your key and gain easy access to your home. If you are afraid of losing your key while traveling, give a spare to a friend or relative. They could even check on your home a few times, while you are away.
9. Install a home security system.
If you’re particularly worried that someone might decide to break into your home when you’re out of town, you might as well install a home security system. Need a little more convincing? Homes without such systems are 300 percent more likely to be burglarized than those that have them.
You shouldn’t be agonizing over whether or not your home is safe when you’re on vacation. Take a little extra time before you head out and make your home a lot less appealing for the not-so-honest folks out there. More importantly, remember to kick back and have a great trip!
Megan Wild is a home improvement specialist who writes about ways that homeowners can take the best care of their biggest investment. Check out more of her tips and ideas on her blog, Your Wild Home.