Vacation Safety Tips for Your Home

Planning a vacation is exciting, but it's essential to ensure your home remains safe and secure while you're away. Preparing your home for vacation can seem daunting, but there's no need to stress when you have the right strategy. In this guide, we'll walk you through a comprehensive plan to safeguard your home before you embark on your next adventure. From home break-in prevention to regular house checks, these vacation safety tips will help you enjoy your getaway with peace of mind.

What to Do to Your House When You Go on Vacation

Before you jet off on your well-deserved vacation, it's crucial to prepare your home. Now, you don't need to go full “Home Alone” to protect your home when away. Just follow these steps to help safeguard your property and belongings:

Lock and Secure All Entry Points

Locking all windows and doors is the first and most essential step in vacation safety. Consider installing deadbolts for extra protection. It's also wise to reinforce sliding glass doors with a bar or rod to prevent forced entry.

Ask a Trusted Neighbor for Help

Good neighbours can be your best allies in keeping your home safe while you're away. Inform a trustworthy neighbour about your vacation plans and ask them to monitor your property. They can report suspicious activities to the authorities and help coordinate surprise maintenance issues.

Avoid Advertising Your Absence

In the age of social media, it's essential to refrain from broadcasting your vacation plans to the world. Posting about your trip on social networks or publicly announcing it can be an open invitation for break-ins. Save your travel updates for when you return.

Use Timers for Lights and Electronics

One of the best ways to give the illusion of an occupied home is to use timers for your lights and electronics. Set them to turn on and off at different times throughout the day and night to make your house seem lived-in.

Manage Mail and Packages

A pile of mail and packages on your doorstep clearly indicates that no one is home. Halt your mail and package deliveries, or ask a neighbour to collect them. An overflowing mailbox is a clear sign for burglars that no one is home.

6 Essential Safety Tips for Vacation-Ready Homes

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into some essential safety tips. Below, you'll find six tips for preparing your home before going on vacation. Follow them to ensure your home remains secure during your vacation:

1. Maintain Landscaping

A well-maintained yard can deter burglars. Before your trip, trim bushes and shrubs to ensure your property looks occupied. It will also reduce potential hiding spots for burglars and is a good practice for home break-in prevention. If you are on an extended vacation, plan to have a landscape company or neighbour cut your grass and maintain the property for you.

2. Lock Away Valuables

Store your valuables in a secure place, such as a safe or a lockable closet. It minimizes the theft risk, even if someone gains access to your home.

3. Unplug Electronics

Unplug non-essential electronics and appliances before leaving. It will reduce the risk of electrical fires and save energy. It's also a good practice to turn off your water supply to prevent any potential leaks or frozen pipes in freezing weather.

4. Set your Thermostat

Adjust your thermostat to save energy while keeping your home within a reasonable temperature range. It saves money and prevents extreme temperature fluctuations that can damage your belongings.

5. Lock Your Garage

If you have a garage, remember to secure it. Disconnect the automatic opener and lock it manually. A secure garage is a crucial part of your home's security.

6. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Before leaving, test and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It is a simple but vital safety precaution to protect your home.

How Can I Protect My House While on Vacation?

Here, we'll delve deeper into strategies to protect your home while you're away:

Notify Local Authorities

Depending on the length of your vacation, consider informing the local police department about your absence. Some law enforcement agencies offer vacation home check services. Officers periodically visit your property to ensure everything is in order.

Home Automation Systems

Investing in home automation systems can add an extra layer of security. With smart technology, you can control lights, locks, and even your security system using your smartphone.

Close Curtains and Lower Blinds

Before heading off on vacation, lower your blinds and close curtains to restrict visibility into your home. This simple action provides an extra layer of privacy. It can also prevent potential intruders from peering inside to assess whether your home is vacant. 

Install a Home Security System

Consider investing in a home security system if you haven't already. Modern systems offer various features, including security cameras, doorbell cameras, and smart locks that you can control with a smartphone. Having visible security measures can deter potential intruders. 

Opt for 24-Hour Care

For longer vacations, or if you have a pet that won't be joining you, explore the option of hiring a house sitter. Not only will they take care of your home, but they will also maintain your property, ensuring it looks occupied because it is! There are many options for this online, from home-sharing programs to professional house sitters. In this case, you may have some additional pre-trip planning to get your home ready for a guest, but the peace of mind while away will be well worth it. 

How Often Should Someone Check Your House When You Are Away?

Now, let's discuss the importance of having someone check on your home during your absence:

Frequency of House Checks

The frequency of house checks depends on the length of your vacation. For short trips, have a neighbour or friend check on your home every few days. It is not only necessary for the security of your home while away but is often required by insurance companies. Before you leave, check with your insurance provider for their specific requirements and schedule the walkthroughs accordingly. 

Tasks for House Checks

Ask your designated helper to inspect the interior and exterior of your home. Have them look and listen for anything out of the ordinary. It could include water dripping or pooling, open windows or doors, and signs of forced entry. During house checks, ensure doors and windows are secure, and double-check that the security system (if you have one) is functioning.

Secure Spare Keys

If you plan to give a neighbour or friend a spare key for house checks, ensure they securely store it. Also, make sure it doesn’t have your address labelled on it. Another safe and secure option for key storage is a coded key lock box. You can mount it on a wall in an inconspicuous location, and then all you need to do is provide the code to your designated house-check inspector.

Should I Leave My Porch Light On When I Go on Vacation?

Leaving an exterior front light on is a common practice by many homeowners when they go on vacation. However, if you don’t consider the next point, it may not have the desired preventative effect.

Use Timers and Smart Lighting

Leaving your porch light on 24/7 can signal your absence. Instead, use timers or smart lighting systems to make your home appear occupied. Timers turn your lights on and off at specific times. And with smart systems, you can control vital aspects of your home with your smartphone.

Your Vacation Should be Worry-Free

Safeguarding your home during your vacation is a vital part of trip planning. So, before you pack your bags and head out, ensure your home is well-prepared and safe. By following the vacation safety tips for your home, you can relax and enjoy your getaway with peace of mind, knowing that your home is secure. 


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