How to Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation

April 16, 2019

Going on vacation is a fun and exciting time for you and your family. But, getting ready to go can be stressful, especially as you try to figure out what to do about your home. The longer your vacation will be, the more planning you’ll have to do to make sure everything around your home is taken care of. It’s also important to make sure your home is protected and safe while you are away. Here’s how to keep your home safe on vacation:

1. Ask a Friend to Check in on Your Home

One of the best ways to keep your home safe and cared for while you’re on vacation is to ask a friend to check in or stay over while you’re gone. You may also know of a local housesitter you can trust that you can hire to live in and care for your house while you are away.

Having a trusted friend or housesitter around while you’re gone ensures the mail is brought inside, home temperatures are under control no matter the season, and that it is obvious to anyone who happens to be passing by that someone is at home. If you won’t have someone staying over, arrange for someone to stop by periodically to grab the mail over a long vacation or put your mail on hold with the post office.

Having someone stay at your house keeps your home from becoming an easy target for burglaries or other issues. It also means someone is there to make sure your pipes don’t freeze in the winter or that your home doesn’t overheat in the summer. This can also be a big benefit for homeowners who have pets. If you can’t bring them along for the vacation, having someone check in or stay over ensures your pets have the proper care and company.

2. Keep Social Media Posts Private and Under Control

It’s tempting to share exciting news on social media. But, when it comes to vacation announcements and sometimes even vacation pictures too, it’s usually best to keep those under wraps until you have returned. Posting on social media that you are going on vacation, are currently on vacation, or sharing vacation pictures in real-time can give criminals a heads up that you are not home.

Sure, you can control who can see your posts to a certain extent. However, your post’s reach is oftentimes much larger than you think it is and can sometimes reach people you don’t know. When it comes to vacation updates, save those pictures and wait to share them until you’re back home.

Another consideration is your voicemail. Some people update their voicemail message to indicate they are on vacation and this is a mistake. Keep your voicemail message generic so you don’t inadvertently let the wrong person know that you are not home.

3. Inform Your Neighbors and Local Police

If you live in a tight-knit community and you have a close, trusted relationship with your neighbors, let them know you will be away on vacation. If you’ll be on vacation for longer than a week or two and won’t be having someone stay in your house, you can also inform the local police and a local neighborhood watch program that you’ll be gone. If your home is along a regular patrol route, local police may keep an eye out while on patrol or driving in the area.

4. Unplug Your Appliances

If you’re going away for more than a day or two and won’t have someone staying at your house, unplug your appliances and save a little on your electric bill. If no one is going to be around to use them, unplug your TV, computers, toaster, and other appliances. Not only will this reduce energy usage in your home while no one is there, but it will also protect your appliances from a power surge should one happen while you are away.

5. Remove the Spare Key

Many homeowners hide a spare key outside their home in case of a lock-out or for another trusted person to be able to get in as needed. If you don’t have a friend staying at the house and no one will be coming over while you’re gone, remove the spare key before you leave. If no one will be around that needs to use it, there’s no need to have the additional risk of a spare key lying around.

6. Store Valuables Securely

If you’ll be away on a longer vacation and won’t have a friend hanging out around your home, store your valuables securely before you leave. This will keep them out of view from your windows and may also add some extra protection for them in the case of a break-in.

7. Consider a Light Switch Timer

Traditionally, when homeowners went away on vacation, they would close the curtains and leave some lights on to give the impression that someone was home. But, how natural is it for lights in a home to never go off, especially throughout the night?

If it’s not a normal state for your home, doing something abnormal to give the impression someone is home can sometimes just become an obvious hint that someone is not actually there. Instead, keep your curtains closed if that’s normal behavior for you and invest in a light switch timer.

Not only will this help control unnecessary increases in your electric bill, but it will also allow you to keep the lights on a more natural schedule that imitates your normal behavior. For anyone watching the house with nefarious purposes, they’ll see the lights flipping on and off and usually assume that someone is at home to make that happen. This makes your home a more difficult target and can help keep your home safe while you are away.

8. Invest in a Home Security System

One of the ways to keep your home safe on vacation is to invest in a home security system. There are pros and cons of home security systems, but their ability to protect your home while you’re away is undeniable.

If you’ve been back and forth on installing one and you know you have some longer vacations coming up, it may be time to consider a home security system more seriously. If you have a system and have someone staying in your house while you are away, make sure they have the entry code.

There are plenty of ways to keep your home safe on vacation. Implementing these practices can help increase your home security and make sure you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest without having to worry about your home.