In all of your vacation excitement – and the joys of packing – don’t forget to take care of making your home safe while you’re away!
From the outside
Put your mail service on hold online or by completing the form at your local post office.
Stop delivery on all newspaper service. If you receive copies without subscriptions, ask a neighbor to pick them up for you.
Ask that same neighbor to clear your porch/front step of any deliveries and solicitations. Nothing says “I’m empty” like a house with piled up papers and things hanging from the doorknob!
Since we’re already imposing on the neighbor, ask them to also take your trash to the curb for you on trash day.
Use timers to turn lights on throughout the day and night. Leaving some key blinds and curtains open a bit will also signal someone’s home.
Check with a neighbor or family member about leaving a car in your driveway, or consider leaving your second car out.
Make sure your driveways/sidewalks are cleared of snow and your lawn is maintained while you’re gone.
Bring all hide-a-keys inside and leave a key with your poor put-upon neighbor instead.
From the inside
Set the temperature in the house to something reasonable – whether that be heat or air – but not as comfy as you’d have it if you were home.
Clean out the fridge! Deliver perishables that won’t last to your helpful neighbor and turn the temp down just a smidge. Since it will be shut for the duration of your trip, it will hold its temperature better.
Make sure you take out all inside trash before you leave. ick.
Shut off the water to your washer and dishwasher, turn off pilot lights and set your hot water heater to vacation mode or shut it off, if appropriate.
Unplug any unused electronics or appliances to conserve electricity.
Lock all doors and windows, close your garage, and set the house alarm.
Make a copy of your passport and other identification, and compile a list of the credit cards you’re bringing.
Clean out your wallet of any unnecessary credit cards and rewards cards. The less you bring, the less you have to lose!
Be smart – no flashing wads of cash or using unlit ATM locations, especially at night. You’re safer going inside a grocery store or gas station.
Use a business address, if possible, for all luggage tags and your cell phone number so you can be found if your luggage is too!
Costume jewelry is your friend. Leave the good stuff at home.
Consider using identification for your kids – such as tattoos.
Now you can enjoy your vacation even more knowing that your home and family are protected!