You finally managed to get time off, persuaded your family to rearrange their busy schedule, and booked a family trip for a dream vacation on a tropical island. But you have one twinge of regret: You are going to leave your beautiful home unattended for two weeks.
Looking back, you’ve spent the better half of each weekend mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, painting the fence, and taking care of your home. It’s not only the best maintained home in the neighborhood, but soon, over the course of the next two weeks, it’s going to the most vulnerable home, too.
You can’t think of anything more devastating than coming home after a wonderful vacation of sun and sand to find it burgled by a professional or vandalized by some of the wild teenagers in the neighborhood. Besides installing an ADT monitored security system for 24-hour alarm monitoring, what else can you do to put your mind at ease?
Here are 5 tips to keep your home safe while you are away:
- Reach out to your best friends for help.
By visiting your house every day, your friends can take of the many details that would give the impression that someone is at home.
Give your friends a key so that they can feed your feisty Golden retriever, rake your leaves, pick up the newspaper from the driveway, empty out your mail box, pick up Amazon packages left on your doorstep, water your plants, and move your car around to different parking spots on the street if you don’t have a garage. In other words, give the appearance that someone is there.
Leave them with your itinerary, any emergency contact numbers, and your own personal contact information.
You may also have to inform your neighbors about this arrangement, as they might be alarmed by strangers making themselves at home and call the police.
- Don’t make it obvious that you are going away on vacation.
Besides the neighbors you’ve informed about your trip, don’t make any public announcements. You can do this accidentally in a few ways:
- By making a grand exit. Strangers witnessing your entire family wearing straw hats and shorts and Hawaiian shirts as you leave the house during the first snow fall might suspect that you’re going away on vacation.
- By bragging on social media. It’s not a good idea to talk about your dream vacation on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you hang out online before you go. Remember, your friends aren’t the only ones who read your posts or tweets.
- By leaving a message on your answering machine that says you can’t call back because you’re away working on your tan. Just leave a message to say that you are not available to answer their call right now and to leave you a message.
- Inform the police if they patrol the neighborhood.
If you live in a small town neighborhood where the police routinely drive by, then go to your local police station and ask them to keep an eye on your house. They might add your house to the list of places they check out when they are on patrol.
- Tell your neighborhood watch program.
If you live in a neighborhood where there is a neighborhood watch program, then be sure to tell them about your temporary absence, as well.
- Make it look like someone is home.
While friends’ activities will go a long way in giving the impression that someone is home, there are other tell-tale signs that could give the game away. Specifically, curtains and lights.
Should you leave your curtains closed or open?
If you close them, then nobody can see what you have in the house, but the police or neighbors won’t be able to see any suspicious behavior either. The solution is to do what you have always done. If your curtains have always been drawn, then don’t fling them open to improve visibility for those keeping a friendly watch on your home. If, on the other hand, you usually keep them open, then closing them will arouse suspicion. If you do keep them open, then you should push your expensive stuff, like your big screen TV or that $5,000 couch deeper into the room so that it becomes less of a temptation. In other words, move your valuables out of sight.
What about your lights?
Should you keep them on all the time to give the impression that someone is home? This is not a good idea because it looks suspicious to have the lights on all night every night. In addition, you’ll spike up your electric bill. A better solution is to use a light switch timer. You can set a programmed schedule to automatically turn the lights on or off. If someone is keeping an eye on your house, they will assume that someone is home switching the lights on or off.
These simple steps will ensure your complete peace-of-mind while you are away on vacation. You should, of course, take the same steps even if you are merely going on a road trip for as short as a week. Prevention is better than disaster recovery.
Article Submitted By Community Writer