If you’re like us, you probably want to return from vacation to find your house just as you left it. What could be worse than ruining that “vacation high” by coming home to a ransacked house?! Not only do you have the replacement cost of lost valuables, but it’s a pretty serious violation of your personal space.
If you’re planning a summer vacation or weekend getaway, we’d like to suggest a few simple steps before you hit the road. The theme here is simple: make it look like you’re home.
Here you go, 10 simple steps. Happy travels, and home safe.
1. Don’t tell the internet you’re away.
Think twice before advertising your trip all over social media. Hard to resist, we know.
2. Stop the mail.
It takes just a minute at the US Postal Service website to put a hold on your mail while you’re gone. Or you could ask a neighbor to collect it daily.
3. Flyers be gone.
You’ll need a neighbor or house-sitter for this one: check daily for flyers stuck in your front door. Would-be thieves sometimes put them there and wait to see whether they get removed.
4. Keep the lawn mowed.
Long grass can say “I resist the suburban status quo,” but it can also say “I’m on vacation.” If you’ve got a yard or lawn and you’re away long enough, you might need to hire someone to mow or tend to the higher maintenance yard items. Winter trip? Arrange to keep everything shoveled.
5. Loan out your driveway.
If you’re lucky enough to have one, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway a few times while you’re away. That’s right… keep ’em guessing.
6. Program your lighting.
It didn’t fool the guys in Home Alone, but it’s still worth a try. If you’re smart-lighting capable (check out Philips Hue or Lutron), it’s easy to set lamps to go on and off at appropriate times. If not, old-fashioned timers or even solar-powered lamps will work.
7. Pack the car in the a.m.
Road trip? Don’t advertise it by packing the car the night before you leave, unless you have a garage to hide it in.
8. Keep good stuff away from windows.
Why put stuff worth stealing on display? At the same time, don’t pull all the blinds. It looks like you’re … not home.
9. Hide your stuff in weird places.
If thieves do manage to get in, experts say they’ll often focus on the master bedroom, looking for cash and jewelry. So get creative and hide valuables in, say, the pantry or the fridge.
10. Avoid false alarms.
If you’re savvy enough to have a full-on security system, make sure to tell your security company your travel dates. If someone breaks in despite your preventive efforts, they’ll know it’s not a false alarm. This goes double for you if you’ve had false alarms before!