8 Ways to Help Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Hat and towel draped over pool chair

Making plans to take a well-deserved vacation is an exciting time. When you’re deciding where to go and what to pack, it’s also important to consider another issue—namely, what can you do to help protect your home while you’re away? There’s no full-proof formula for keeping your home safe, but following these tips may give you greater peace of mind so your vacation is as it should be—relaxing!

  1. Leave lights on a timer: An empty house can be a potential invitation for mischief. Using a timer on both indoor and outdoor lights, may make your home appear lived in, which could serve as a deterrent for thieves.
  2. Remove the hidden spare key: If you keep an extra key outside for the dog walker or close relatives, move the spare indoors while you’re out of town.
  3. Lock your doors and windows: Although this may seem obvious, make sure to take the time to double-check each entry point. Or consider the advantages of using web-enabled locks that you can monitor and access with a compatible smartphone.
  4. Turn on your alarm system: In a recent study, researchers found that 83% of burglars polled would check to see if their target had a security alarm before attempting a break-in. Sixty percent would choose a different target entirely if they saw evidence of an alarm on the premises. In addition to discouraging burglary, an alarm could limit the amount of time someone has to grab your valuables and escape.
  5. Stop your mail and newspapers: A mailbox stuffed to the brim might as well be a banner stating you’re out of town. Be sure to put mail and newspaper deliveries on hold. This also includes not placing online orders in the days leading up to your vacation so packages won’t arrive while you’re gone.
  6. Alert a trusted neighbor: Enlist the help of a trusty neighbor to keep an eye on your home—someone who can also put out and retrieve your trash cans, cut your lawn and pick up any mail or newspapers not stopped in time.
  7. Don’t broadcast your plans on social media: Sharing your upcoming vacation with your Facebook and Twitter friends is a great way to advertise an unattended house. If you must tell close friends, consider doing so in an email or over the phone. It’s also recommended by many to wait until you return home to post photos taken on your travels.
  8. Don’t include a vacation message on your voicemail: Likewise, consider keeping your voicemail recording as is or record one that’s more neutral so as not to inform any callers that you are away.

If you follow these simple steps before you go away, chances are you’ll be able to worry less about the home you’re leaving behind and spend more time having fun. Bon voyage!