Whether you are jetting off to a foreign country or taking a weekend road trip, worrying about the state of your home can put a damper on your fun. Don’t leave home without taking a few measures that will give you peace of mind while you enjoy your vacay.
- Light timers can keep energy costs down but still make your home appear lived in. Set timers in visible rooms to go on at dusk and off when you’d normally go to bed. Keep porch lights off completely. They’re typically on when you’re waiting for someone to get home, so you won’t be fooling any robbers. Motion sensor lights, on the other hand, can be a great deterrent.
- Hiring a house sitter can give you peace of mind, but it can be costly, especially if you have a pet. Ask a friend to do a swap. You’ll water the plants, walk the dog, and bring in the mail when they go on vacation if they do it for you this time.
- If you don’t have a house sitter or neighbor to collect mail, then hold mail delivery for up to 30 days at USPS.com. They’ll store it at the post office and deliver it all when you get back. Newspapers piling up in the driveway are another dead giveaway that no one is home, so suspend service if need be.
- Use every lock in your arsenal—deadbolts, windows, even backyard gates should be sealed with a combination lock. If your garage is connected to your house, lock that door and disable your garage door opener (often done with the flick of a switch). If you have a sliding door or windows, wedge a rod in the slider so they can’t be opened.
- Unplug all appliances and turn down your thermostat to conserve energy and lower your bill. If you’ll be gone an extended period of time, you may even want to turn down your water heater.
Final tip: Don’t forget to take care of some basic housekeeping tasks before you go, like cleaning out the fridge and taking out the trash. Just don’t leave bins on the curb—another clue that no one is home.