July and August are the most popular months of the year to take a vacation. So, whether you take a road trip across the country, or travel abroad, we would like to offer a few tips to keep your home and possessions safe while you’re away:
Before you Leave
Before taking off for your summer vacation, take a few precautions to make sure you and your home stays are safe while you’re away:
- Put a hold on your mail and newspaper delivery. Fido won’t be around to bring it to you anyway. An overflowing mailbox could attract criminals.
- Keep your vacation plans under wraps. No need to broadcast your itinerary. So resist the urge to post about your travel on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. But you should tell a few people you trust so that they can keep an eye on your house.
- If you have pets, consider hiring someone to housesit to keep your animals and property safe in your absence. Or you could check your dog into one of those exclusive doggie hotels. Just a suggestion…
- If you opt to leave your home empty, set up an electrical timer to control your lights and TVs to fool potential thieves. Set the timer to reflect your normal routine.
- Depending on the length of your trip, consider temporarily shutting off your gas and water. This s particularly important if you will be gone for an extended period of time. Shutting off your utilities will prevent potential flooding, fire or gas leaks.
- Keep your lawn well manicured. Nothing says ‘empty house’ like un-mowed grass and weeds. So if your trip is lengthy, hire a gardener to handle it while you’re gone.
- Unplug electronics that aren’t on automatic timers. The best way to make sure you don’t accidentally leave a curling iron or blow dryer on is to unplug them.
- Don’t forget to lock the doors and set your alarm. If you don’t have a whole-house alarm, consider installing one. This might seem like a no-brainer. But it might be easy to forget if you don’t include it on your before-vacation list of “to do’s.” If you’ve got a good watchdog, you shouldn’t even have to worry about locking folks out while you’re home.
- Get rid of your spare key. While you might have come to rely on having a backup when you lock yourself out, you should eliminate the convenience to keep it out of the hands of potential thieves.
- NBC News recommends notifying the police before heading out. “No need to let the cops know about a weekend getaway, but do call them if you’re leaving town for a week or more. It’s possible the police may go out of their way to drive by your house while on patrol, especially if you live in a small town. You may also want to contact your local neighborhood watch program if there’s one in your area.”
While traveling, don’t become a target for thieves and pick-pockets.
- Leave jewelry and other expensive belongings locked up at home.
- When you are in crowded, unfamiliar areas, keep your money in a belt rather than in your purse.
- Consider using traveler’s checks. Although most of us rely on debit cards these days, the safest way to keep funds safe is by using traveler’s checks.
- Latch your purse. Though you might be safe bopping around your own neighborhood, traveling could put you in harm’s way. So take extra care of your personal belongings.
- When traveling with kids and pets, bring updated photos of each of your children and your best friend — in case you become separated from them. Strategize with your family about who to call and what to do if they get lost or if another emergency arises.
- If you are traveling by car, keep an emergency road kit in the trunk. Be sure to include jumper cables, flares and other necessities as well as a first aid kit, bottled water and nonperishable foods. Also, if you’re traveling with your pet in a car, open the windows. We love lots of fresh air.
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