In one week, you’ll be on your way to that much-needed 5-day vacation. You have a list of what to pack, your flight and airport car parking are booked, and you just can’t wait to soak up some sun and surf the waves of Bondi Beach. But before you leave for your holiday, don’t forget to make arrangements to keep your house safe while you’re away. Thieves these days are quite smart and will go to great lengths to get inside a house. If you want peace of mind while on a trip, and don’t want to come home to an empty house, check out these tips:
1. Bribe someone to check on your house
It’s best to have someone visit your house every now and then while you’re away. You don’t have to bribe someone with cash, though. A small gift, a souvenir, or promising to return the favour is usually enough to convince someone you know to be a house sitter for a few days. Once you’ve found someone, come up with a short list of what to do: feed the pet, water the plants, and take out the trash. An empty house wouldn’t look empty if the trash is taken out and the lights are on. This will discourage thieves from visiting your home. Provide the sitter with the keys to the house, your contact information and itinerary, and who to call in case of an emergency.
2. Don’t post your holiday schedule/itinerary on social media
Love to let the world know what you’re up to every hour? Posting photos of what you had for lunch today is harmless, but posting details of your holiday next week, like how long you’ll be gone, is a bad idea. It gives thieves all the information they need to figure out which house to target. Burglars can now easily stalk Facebook accounts, so don’t over share information about your holiday plans. Only give out your vacation details to your house sitter or a close relative for your own safety.
3. Get a home alarm system
Equip your home with an alarm system, and don’t forget to switch it on before leaving for a trip. If thieves discover that your house has an alarm, they’ll easily get discouraged and won’t continue with their plans. When a house alarm goes off, it also alerts the neighbours and the cops. If you want to keep tabs on your house while you’re hundreds of miles away, get an alarm system that comes with surveillance cameras you can access through your laptop or mobile phone. Most thieves will also be discouraged when they see security cameras on houses.
4. Invest in a light switch timer
Instead of keeping the lights on during your entire vacation, install a light switch timer. This tool automatically switches the lights on and off at pre-programmed intervals to make it look like your house isn’t empty. It lets you lower energy costs because you don’t need to leave the lights on 24/7. Your sitter won’t also have to think about whether to leave the lights on or off, so it’s one more item off the list. A switch timer that includes sunrise and sunset activation modes and that can be used as a regular switch is a worthy investment for your home safety.
5. Stop mail delivery
Before you leave, contact your local post office and ask them to temporarily stop sending mail to your house. If not, ask the house sitter or a neighbour to pick up your mail so stuff won’t pile up on your front steps or inside the mailbox. Remember, homes with a porch or mailbox filled with mail are easy targets for burglars. It’s easy to put your mail on hold. You can either apply online or drop by the post office and submit a Mail Hold application form. It takes 3 business days before the Hold Mail service starts after sending an application, so be sure to submit the form several days before you leave the house.
With enough common sense, a trusted friend, and the right security system, preventing burglars from visiting your house won’t be a hassle. Make the arrangements at least a week before you leave, and you should be good to go.