Article by Henry Moore
You’re going on the trip – perhaps over the weekend, perhaps for a week or two. The last thing you want is to return from a fantastic trip to find that your home has been burglarized while you are away.
There are the basics:
- Ask someone to water your plants and pick up your mail and newspapers so there are no telltale signs that your home is vacant.
- Invest in a sound security system that will allow you to check on your home even while you’re away.
You may have already heard those tips before, but there are a few more things you can do to detract unwanted visitors and keep things safe when you’re out of town. Read on to find out more.
Trim the trees
It may sound silly, doing yard work before you go out of town; however, trimming tall trees when you have a two-story home could prevent an opportunistic burglar from climbing up and gaining access to your home. You might also think about planting thorny bushes to keep someone from getting too close to windows on the ground floor.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to ensure your home is safe while you’re away is to install a security system, but you can also buy surveillance cameras that send a live feed to your smartphone or other device, allowing you to keep an eye on things no matter where you are. Motion-sensor lighting is another great idea; set these up at regular intervals around the house, and consider putting up a “Beware of Dog” sign, even if you don’t have a dog. Many criminals won’t look twice at a home that is well-lit and has a potentially dangerous animal inside.
Stay off social media
It can be hard to refrain from sharing photos of your trip on social media, but it’s important to avoid sharing too much info, even with people you know. You never can be sure who has access to someone’s account, and sharing a ton of vacation pics will alert everyone that your house is sitting empty and vulnerable.
Burglars aren’t the only safety issue
Unwanted visitors aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when you’re leaving on a trip; you’ll also need to think about protecting your home from the elements and disasters like a fire. Unplug all your electronics and appliances, and in winter, leave a faucet dripping to ensure the pipes don’t freeze. Make sure all lights are turned off and, if you have a programmable thermostat, set it lower or higher than usual (depending on the season) so your utility bills won’t take a hit.
Consider hiring a house-sitter
While this option may cost a bit of money, it can certainly put your mind at ease if you have a trustworthy friend or family member who is willing to stay in your home and keep an eye on things. They may even do it in exchange for meals and a comfy bed, and you can’t beat that.
Keeping your home safe can be a stressful undertaking, but if you’re a big traveler, it’s an important one. Create a budget and think about the best ways to use it; consider your neighborhood and whether you feel comfortable leaving your home unguarded for several days. Incorporating some of these tips can help give you peace of mind no matter where you go.
More tips for general home security
Check out this A to Z Guide to Home Security at Angie’s List.