Preparing and Securing Your Home for Travel: A Quick Checklist Before You Leave for Vacation
Before I leave for vacations, I have a routine that we've always followed that's worked well. If you're headed out for a week or more, there are a few things you might want to consider to make your home not stand out as empty. Making your home look occupied and normal will help deter thieves and keep it safe. These solutions are simple, and can give you peace of mind before traveling so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Have just a few minutes before your trip? Good, because that's all you'll need to prepare your home. Also, you can find an easy checklist on what to do before you leave for vacation at the bottom of the page!
Use light timers to schedule on-off times for lights
A dark home at 8PM screams "we're not home," and that's the last thing that you want. Simple light timers will do the trick. If you have large bay windows or sliders, close them with a curtain. A stick in the slider track also is a good deterrent. Lights on all day and night is almost as bad as leaving the lights off. Who leaves their lights on all night long? If you have overhead lighting, drag a lamp or two into some of your rooms and attach the light timer to go on and off when you normally turn them on and off.
Maintain the illusion that someone is home
Stopping your mail is essential for your trip. A package on your doorstep or a full mailbox is a dead giveaway that you are on vacation and the coast is clear to sneak on in. Have someone pick up your mail for you, or put a stop on your mail at the post office. Also, stop your newspaper delivery or have your neighbors pick it up. A car in the driveway is also a good deterrent.
The Key to Keeping Your Front Door Attached
Leave a key with a trusted family member or friend before you leave in case problems arise at your home while you're gone. The last thing you want to come home to is a busted down door from the Fire Department because your smoke detectors were going off.
Give the appearance of a still active house while you're away
Nothing turns off thieves like people traffic. If possible, have a housesitter come to your home just to check on things. Let your nephew stop by and watch TV there, or let your sister have the run of the house. It all gives the illusion that you are still home!
TSA Approved Luggage Locks - good to have
When you're about to leave, the last thing you want to do is have something in your luggage missing between the dropoff and arrival point. Anything can happen, so having a luggage lock can help to curb some of that theft that may happen at airports. These TSA approved locks are okay to use since they can be opened by TSA officers if they need to. Having other types of locks on your bags might be a red flag, so be sure to stick with one that says it is TSA approved.
A pretty good price on this set - you can put one lock on each valuables compartment.
Save that extra money for your trip!
Why waste the water while you're away? Turning off your hot water heater (in the warmer months) and turning off your water pipes will save you some cash while you're away. While you're at it, try turning off the air conditioning or turn down the heat. Don't turn them down too much - enough to keep the pipes from freezing and cool enough to save electronics, appliances, and food.
- Close and lock all windows
- Cancel/stop mail and newspapers
- Set up light timers
- Turn off water and hot water
- Fill bird feeders
- Water plants
- Lock cars if in the driveway
- Prepay bills
- Put TV or radio on timers
- Close shades on windows that allow people to see in
- Leave all valuables out of plain sight
- Have someone else check on the house
- Try to use up old food in the fridge one week before you leave
- Pet sitting
- Lock the doors and leave!