The summer is in full swing and you’ve been planning to get out of town for months. Everything is packed: beach towels, toothpaste, boogie boards, and enough movies to entertain the kids during the long drive to your vacation destination. The best hotel room was booked in advance and you’re ready for some quality relaxation by the pool. You slam the trunk, buckle everyone up, and get your motor running.
As you merge onto the highway, you wonder… “Did I lock the back door?” “Did I pack my cell phone charger?” “Did I leave the stove on or the water running?”
These questions nag at you until your visions of margaritas and inner tubes morph into visions of burglary and water damage. Your best defense against out-of-town anxiety is to properly prepare your home before you leave it.
So what can you do to protect your home while you’re on vacation this summer?
This should be a no-brainer. If you don’t lock your doors and windows, you need to start doing so immediately. No robber wants to draw extra attention to themselves. The added noise and effort of having to break down a door or smash a window can deter a home intruder.
1. Remove the spare key from beneath the doormat.
Why do you still do this? Everyone’s spare key is beneath their doormat. Any common thief would think to check under the doormat or beneath the potted plant. It’s almost as if you’ve left the door wide open and baked cookies for burglars. Don’t make their “job” easy; secure your home! You need to double check that every door and window is locked before you leave.
3. Let a trusted neighbor know that you’re on vacation.
Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the house for you while you’re gone. They’ll notice suspicious activity and alert you if any danger is present (i.e. Cousin Martin is throwing a party and trashing your property).
2. Give your spare key to a friend or family member.
Cousin Martin will be more than happy to house-sit (eat all of the food in your refrigerator and watch television). At the same time, he can quell your fears about whether you left the water running. If you don’t have a spare key, we can make a copy for you.
4. Your newspaper subscription is a dead giveaway.
If you receive the newspaper, either pause your subscription or ask your neighbor to pick them up for you in the morning. Nothing says, “We aren’t home!” like six soggy newspapers in the driveway.
5. Invest in a home alarm system.
It’s likely the only time your alarm system will sound is when you accidentally set it off yourself. However, installing an alarm will give you peace of mind and make leaving home a little easier. You know that if anyone breaks in, the police will be alerted and the thief will probably wet his pants.
6. Hire the boy down the street to mow your lawn.
Depending on the duration of your absence, your grass could grow beyond the appropriate length. If you don’t want the Homeowner’s Association knocking on your door, make arrangements to manicure your yard. An overgrown lawn can also show burglars that you aren’t home, like the six soggy newspapers.
It’s easier to force open a door with only one lock. Consider installing a deadbolt and a bar latch for an added level of security beyond your simple door knob lock.
When it comes to protecting your home, a little common sense can go a long way. It isn’t necessary to install a moat, a barbed wire fence, floodlights, and booby traps. It is necessary to consider the consequences of leaving a window cracked or an overflowing mailbox behind. You don’t want to end your trip early because you didn’t take precautionary measures to protect your home.
Now that you’ve double checked the stove and taken out the trash, you’re ready to enjoy the worry-free vacation that you deserve. Enjoy it!