The anticipation is rising, and you just can’t wait to get away on that dream vacation you’ve been planning. There’s just one little thing nagging at you: what about your house? Do you have a home safety plan in place?
Here’s a handy home safety checklist with ten things you should do before you leave on vacation.
1. Have Someone Pop By
The best way to make the house looked lived in, is for it to actually be a little lived in. Ask a neighbor, friend or family member to stay over or drop by a few times a week. Have them park in your driveway, walk around and check the house, and come in and hang out for awhile. Don’t forget to leave them emergency contact information just in case anything unexpected happens while you’re away, like a fallen tree branch. If there’s no one you trust to do this, a bonded house sitting service is the perfect solution. They can also take care of pets and plants if you need.
2. Don’t Spread the Word
While it’s smart to let a few people, like friends and neighbors, know where you’re going and for how long, there’s no need to broadcast this information far and wide. You may be excited, but keep the details off your Facebook and Twitter pages, and certainly don’t tell everyone you run into that your house will be empty for the next few weeks.
3. Lock Up Tight
It sounds like an obvious travel and safety tip, but make sure you do a complete walk around before you leave for the airport. Check that you’ve locked up all of your windows, especially those on the first floor and in the basement. Double check that you’ve locked the door between your house and your garage. If you leave it unlocked, it can be a hidden entry to your house.
4. Act Naturally
Try to keep your house looking as normal as possible. Invest in a timer, to keep lights turning on and off at normal intervals. Hook up your television or radio to go on and off according to your normal routine. If you’re meticulous about keeping your lawn mowed or your driveway shoveled, arrange to have this done while you are away.
5. Put a Stop to It
Arrange for a hold on your newspapers, and your mail, if possible. If not, ask a neighbor or a friend to pop by and collect the mail. There’s no clearer sign that you’re away than a pile of old mail.
6. Turn Off Your Appliances
It’s not just to save on electricity, it’s also to prevent accidents. Unplug whatever you can, and if you live somewhere cold, make sure someone comes by a few times to run your water, so your pipes don’t freeze. Don’t forget to turn off your automatic garage door, so it can’t be opened with a universal remote
7. Inform the Authorities
It’s not a bad idea to let certain people know you’re away, including neighborhood police, your home security company, and your bank. Let them know where you can be reached, in case of emergency.
8. Turn Off Your Ringer
A constantly ringing, unanswered phone could tip off burglars that you are not at home, so turn off the ringer, and turn down the volume on your answering machine. You’ll still get your messages when you get home.
9. Just in Case
Consider storing your valuables, such as a home computer or jewelry, into a lock box or safe, just in case someone does break in. Make sure you get one that is both fire and water proof such as the First Alert 2096DF Waterproof Fire Safe with Digital Lock.
10. Watch Your Car
If you’re parking in the long-term lot at the airport, leave your portable GPS at home. If a thief breaks into your car, your GPS can give them a handy map back to your obviously empty house. So, leave it at home.