Planning a vacation includes much more than you may realize. You need to plan what you’re going to do, how you’re going to get there, when you leave, and pack all the necessities, but you will also be leaving behind your house.
To have peace of mind that your home is safe and sound while you’re on vacation, it’s best to take some precautions so you don’t come home to a disaster. No one wants to come home from an exciting vacation only to discover that their home was broken into, or have an exorbitant energy bill waiting for them, or that apart from having to unpack and do laundry, house cleaning also has to be tackled.
1. Have a housesitter
While you should at least have someone check in on your home periodically when you’re away, a housesitter can keep a close eye on everything in your home, take care of plants, pets, and more. Additionally, the house won’t appear to be empty to opportunistic burglars. Also, let your neighbours know that you have someone watching the house so they are prepared to see a different person around your home.
2. Clean the interior and exterior
It isn’t glamorous, but you will be thankful when you get back from your vacation and your to-do list is short. From clearing out your gutters, mowing the grass, and cleaning up your yard before the snow arrives to doing a thorough cleaning of the interior, there’s lots to do before you head out on an adventure. You can also ask someone to clear the snow from your driveway and walkways while you’re away. Not only will that help immensely when you come back, but burglars are less likely to target a well-kept home with a shovelled driveway.
3. Security system
The installation of a security system for your home should have already been taken care of, but before you head out on your adventure, triple-check that it’s working perfectly. Check all the locks, lights, and alarms. If you don’t have exterior motion lights set up, take the time to situate them around doorways and other potential points of entry to ward off any unwanted attention. A benefit of living in a strata is that this is all taken care of for the entire strata complex.
4. Be inconspicuous
You may want to go on and on about your vacation to anyone who can listen, but it’s best to keep a low profile — especially online. Don’t announce when you will be leaving as that also tells everyone how long your home will be empty. Simply be discreet and share your excitement with people closest to you.
5. Don’t appear to be on vacation
This is easier said than done, but there are strategies you can use. On top of having your driveway shovelled, stop all mail delivery or have a neighbour, friend, or family member pick up your mail regularly. Next, create the illusion that there is someone in the house by setting timers for your lights in various rooms to give the appearance of activity. A light that is left on night and day is just as obvious as there being no lights on for long stretches of time.
6. Lower the temperature in your home
You won’t be in your house, why waste the energy to keep it warm? Of course, if you have pets or if someone will be housesitting you won’t lower the temperature of your home too much, but you can still lower it somewhat to save a few dollars and reduce your energy usage.
7. Unplug your electronics
Many electronics nowadays have something called standby mode. While they don’t use nearly as much energy in this mode as they do when they’re being used, they’re still using energy all day long. By simply unplugging all of your electronics, this stops them from using energy while you’re away. Keeping your home green, even when you travel, will save you plenty of money in the long run.
8. Hide and lock up valuables
In the case that a burglar ignores your exterior motion lights and is persistent enough to enter your home, be sure to make it not worth their while. Hide all your valuables or lock them away in a safe too big to carry. Also, keep noteworthy items away from windows so they cannot be seen from outside. Before you drive away to start your vacation or head to the airport, do a final check of all your locks and alarm system.
Bonus: Focus on enjoying your holiday
Finally, make the most of your vacation. Follow these home safety tips so you can confidently travel with peace of mind that your home will be just as you left it. Not only will you be more relaxed while on vacation knowing that your home is safe, but you won’t have to deal with any hassle when you get back.
Whether you’re an experienced homeowner or a first-time homebuyer, it’s imperative to take all the necessary precautions to keep your home safe every time you travel whether it’s in the winter or the summer.