The Newbie Guide to safeguarding your home while you are on vacation
avie wt o at hrill.ne t http://aviewto athrill.net/2011/03/07/the-newbies-guide-to -safeguarding-yo ur-ho me-while-yo ure-o n-vacatio n/The Newbie’s Guide to safeguarding your home while you’re onvacationRenee KingCongrats! Af ter making the decision to take your dream vacation, you’ve scrimped and saved and put of f shortterm gratif ication in order to make that dream come true. But bef ore you step outside that door, have youthought about saf e proof ing your home while you’re gone?T here are certain steps you should take to make sure that your home is saf e and sound when you returnhome. In no particular order: Be sure that you lock all doors and windows. Yes, it seems obvious, but many people f ail to do just that. Bef ore you leave, go around the house and make sure that all doors are locked; that means any entry way that can give someone a way to enter your home. You should actually turn the knob to conf irm that it’s locked. Lock all of the windows too, including the ones on upper f loors. You will be surprised at how thieves have been able to enter homes through windows on the upper level. How? Of tentimes, people leave their ladders outside their home and the criminals will use it while thanking you f or making their job easier. So, be sure to take your ladders or anything else the crook can get his/her hands on to gain entry to your home. Do make sure that someone retrieves your mail while you are gone. If you recruit a trusted neighbor or trusted f amily member to gather your parcels and mail while you’re on vacation, ask them to do it under cover of night. While they are at it, have them remove anything that may have been delivered to your f ront porch as well as newspapers. If possible have the newspaper service interrupted until you get back. If someone is watching your home, it won’t be dif f icult to surmise that you’re not there when someone walks up to your mailbox, removes the mail and drives of f . Personally, I go online and arrange f or my local post of f ice to stop delivery the day that I leave and to restart delivery the day I return: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/landingView.do Buy a programmable light timer which will switch
Buy a programmable light timer which will switchyour overhead lights and lamps of f and onperiodically throughout the day. T hey are prettyeasy to use and can be timed to correspond withyour usual schedule. T here is a version that youcan use with appliances like televisions that will f oolthe budding criminal into thinking you are sittingright in f ront of your set. If you are pretty diligent about lawncare, be sureto hire someone to cut your grass, etc. Neglectscreams that no one is home, so be sure to keepeverything maintained as if you were at home. I like Pho to Cre d it: ne ws .c ne t.c o mto garden, so I make sure that I water all of myplants (indoor ones too) bef ore I leave. T here’snothing sadder than coming home to a yard f ull of dead f lowers. One thing that baf f les me is when peopleannounce on their answering machine that they areon vacation or their email response announces thatthey are away on vacation. You may as well wear asign that says ROB ME! T here is no good reasonto inf orm anyone regarding your plans unless it’syour security company (assuming that you have amonitoring service). With f ew exceptions, keepthat inf ormation under wraps and give only tothose on a need to know basis. As a precaution, pull out that video camera thatyou have packed in your luggage and walk throughevery room indicating any valuable items and besure to get a great close up of said items. Takeyour sd card or tape and store it in a saf e place likea metal f ireproof box where you keep yourimportant papers. Pho to Cre d it: alo hap ro p e rtys e rvic e s .c o m Reduce your electric bill by unplugging items thatwill not be in use while you are gone. Of course,keep those lamps/lights and your tv and radio onstandby f or the timer, but unplug that computer oranything else that’s unnecessary. For anything thatdoes make the cut, be sure to protect them byplugging them into surge protectors in the event anasty thunderstorm tries to claim them. T his has less to do with security than just peaceof mind. I try to clean the house thoroughly bef oreI leave. Why? Because af ter a long trip away, I hatecoming back to a f ilthy house. It’s a psychologicalthing. Pho to Cre d it: g e o ffre yls mith.c o m Be sure to make sure that your pets are taken
Be sure to make sure that your pets are taken care of . Arrange f or boarding or you can kill two birds with one stone (in a manner of speaking) by having someone to housesit and take care of your pets. T his addresses the security issue and pet care. A def inite win-win providing that you really trust this person. Otherwise, it could be your worse nightmare if you come home to a wrecked semblance of your f ormer home and all of your neighbors now hate you. Stop buying groceries up to a week bef ore you leave, especially perishables. It would be a shame to come back to a f ridge f ull of spoiled f ood. Remember to take any lef tover trash outside at the very least so that your nose won’t be greeted by Pho to Cre d it: c le aning s e rvic e s o rland o .b iz decayed f ood remnants when you get home. Reduce your heating bill by adjusting your thermostat to lower temps or conversely, your cooling bill by raising the thermostat depending on what time of the year it is when you take your trip. I like to pack the car with our luggage the night bef ore when it’s nice and dark. When we get in the car to leave the next day, no one is the wiser about what our plans are. Invest in motion controlled outdoor lighting. It’s been my experience that thieves scatter like roaches when the spotlight is on them. Make it Pho to Cre d it: s aving c he ap .c o m dif f icult f or them to violate your property by installing motion detectors. It will be a sure tip-of f f or any trusted neighbor who is aware of your absence. If you are inclined to keep a spare set of keys hidden on your property, try to f ind the most inconspicuous place to do so. It’s surprising how many people still put them underneath a welcome mat or some out of place rock close by the steps. At least make the thief break a sweat bef ore the cops come to take them away.What things do you typically do bef ore setting sail onyour vacation?Renee King is an At lant a, GA based Pho to Cre d it: vid hinid hi.wo rd p re s s .c o madminist rat ive assist ant by day who spendsmost of her waking hours plot t ing t he next excursion t o anyplace out side of her zip code.She want s t o t each t hose who t hink t hat t raveling is some unobt ainable dalliance f or t he richand f amous or t he well connect ed, t hat it is not t rue.
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