How to Protect Your Home While Traveling

There are many good reasons to love travel. You get exposed to new places and new people, you get to take a break from your usual routine, and you get a diverse range of experiences you can harness for a better perspective in your own life. But one of the downsides of traveling is that it leaves your home unattended—and therefore vulnerable to burglaries and vandalism.

If you want to make the most of your next trip, you need to put your mind at ease—by ensuring your home is protected while you’re away.

Invest in a Home Security System

First, review the different home security service providers in your area and see if you can find a good deal. Most home security providers provide multiple packages at different price levels, most of which will include some kind of alarm system, a camera or two, and a notification system that will alert you to things like broken glass or other damage to your property.

Of course, if you’re looking for something less expensive, you could install a webcam of your own to keep an eye on your place, or install motion sensor lighting to scare away potential thieves.

Conduct Routine Home Maintenance

Thieves and burglars aren’t the only threats your home could face while you’re away on vacation. If there’s a leak or other form of significant damage to your home, the problem could grow worse due to being left unattended. You can prevent the majority of these incidents by conducting routine home maintenance a week or two before you leave. For example, you can unplug as many electric devices as possible to reduce the possibilities of an electrical fire, and inspect your pipes and roof for any possible leaks.

Contact a Neighbor You Trust

If you have a neighbor you trust, reach out to them and let them know you’re going on vacation. They may be able to keep an eye out for any unusual events or activities while you’re away. For example, if they notice smoke, they can call the fire department, knowing there’s no one inside to watch or control the fire. If they see someone trying to get into the front door at an odd hour, they know it’s not you, and can then take action.

Ask a Friend or Family Member to Stop By

Even with a neighbor keeping an eye out, it’s a good idea to have a trusted friend or family member to stop by your house and take care of things. They can check for mail (more on that in the next section), inspect for signs of entry or damage, and on longer vacations, operate your water so you don’t have a stagnation problem.

Hold Your Mail

It’s easy to hold your mail with USPS. Simply head to their hold mail site and fill in a few details about yourself and your address. You can then hold all mail for a specific period of time, and retrieve it when you come back from your trip. While you’re at it, hold your newspaper subscription, and any other services that might add up while you’re away. If they continue to arrive, it might serve as a sign for would-be burglars that your home is vacant.

Watch What You Post on Social Media

It’s tempting to post all about your vacation on social media, but if you’re concerned about security, you might want to think twice. Anyone who knows where you live may notice that you’re out of town, and use that opportunity to take advantage. Save most of your photos and videos for when you come back, or post sporadically so people can’t tell what your vacation schedule is.

Keep Your Valuables Hidden or Safe

If you have any valuables in the house, like jewelry, emergency cash, or precious metals, make sure you don’t leave them out in the open, or in an obvious location (like your sock drawer). Instead, try to find a creative hiding spot, like a hollowed-out book on a shelf, or in the inside of your air return. Of course, if you don’t want to risk forgetting about it, you can also invest in a safe; this is a good long-term investment since it will also protect your valuables from natural disasters (if you purchase the right model).

Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, it pays to double down on your security measures to ensure your home is protected. Most of these options don’t cost much money or time, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of them. Once you’re protected by a handful of different defenses, you’ll be able to get more enjoyment out of your trip—and find your home just the way you left it.