Protect Your Home While Away for the HolidaysHoliday season is upon us which means many people are making travel plans to visit friends and family.  Whether you are going “over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house” or flying to visit family or friends, don’t forget to think about leaving behind an empty home. Being prepared to travel over the course of the holiday season is just as important as protecting your home while you are away.  Taking the right steps can allow you to travel freely and rest easily knowing your home is safe and protected.

Below Are Some Simple Tips of Protecting Your Home, but Not Limited to:

Imagine going out of town for Thanksgiving only to return home to a burglary.  The fact that someone invaded your house and stole personal property and valuables while you were gone is a frightening feeling of which nobody wants to encounter.  Taking some preemptive actions before you embark on travels can help minimize the likelihood of coming home to unfortunate and unexpected situations. Burglars are less likely to target your home if they think someone’s home. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before leaving for the holidays.

Put Your Lights on a Timer- While out of town, it is a good idea to have some lights on to indicate someone is home.  You can purchase an inexpensive smart plug that allows you to control lights with a simple app regardless of where you are.  Having a house that is completely dark is a red flag that nobody is home.

Invest in Home Security- To lessen the chances of a burglary, invest in deterrents such as video doorbells, extra lighting, and motion detectors to alert you of someone coming onto your property.

Involve Your Neighbor/Friend- Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your home.  If he/she notices anything “off” they can let you know right away.  It’s also a smart plan to give your neighbor a key to your home in case they need to go over there for any reason while you are away.

Be Careful of Social Media Posts- Many people make this mistake.  You may be out of town, on vacation, or visiting friends and family only to post tons of pics letting everyone know you aren’t home. While you want to share with your friends the lovely time you are having, it’s not smart to alert people that your home is empty and vulnerable to burglary.

Stop Mail/Deliveries- While out of town, ask the postal service to hold your mail until your return or ask someone to pick it up daily.  If someone sees your mail piling up, it is a red flag that nobody is home.

Plan for Trash Pickup- Make sure you don’t leave your yard, trash, or recycle carts on the curb while you are gone.  That’s a dead giveaway that you are out of town which can lure a burglar right to your home. Ask a neighbor or friend to move the bins back to their designation.

Prepare a Checklist Before You Leave for the Holidays

Your home may be your biggest investment so it’s essential you have the right homeowners insurance protection along with making a checklist for safety prior to leaving.

  • Water-Plunging temps can lead to frozen pipes. Before you leave, turn off the water main and drain the pipes by turning on faucets, showers, and flushing toilets.  This can lessen the likelihood of pipes freezing and bursting.  Even a small leak can slowly release water which can lead to significant damages to your furniture, flooring, and appliances. You may even want to turn the temperature down on your water heater to save money on heating water when you aren’t there.
  • Locks and Alarms- This one may seem obvious but remember to lock your doors and windows when leaving for out-of-town travel. If you have an alarm system, don’t forget to set it too.
  • Appliances-If you plan to be away longer than a week or more, it is recommended to unplug any appliances not in use.  This may include your computer, coffee maker, toaster oven, and washer and dryer.  Appliances can drain a lot of energy when they are plugged in and not being used.  
  • Thermostat- Before leaving, you should reduce the thermostat temperature in your home, but not below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below that can lead to things freezing, but you do want to conserve energy while gone.

Regardless of your travel plans, taking extra precautionary measures can help minimize the risks of something going askew. Doing these things will allow you to enjoy travel and visits with family and friends.  May your holidays be bright and cheery!