Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The top 25 travel tips for protecting your home while traveling

A great trip depends on keeping home safe while you are gone.

I know we all wish we could stay on vacation forever. However, we all have to come home sometime. And when we do, it would be nice to have it just like we left it--right. These travel tips can make that happen.

Johnny Ray

25 Tips to Safeguard your Home and Property while You Travel

Author: Kathy Steinemann

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

Protecting your home while you travel involves much more than discontinuing newspapers and arranging to have the lawn mowed. Here are 25 tips that will make your home more secure while you enjoy your holiday.

1. Keep a lid on it.

You may be bubbling over with enthusiasm about your upcoming holiday. However, avoid discussing details in public. The guy standing behind you in the bank or grocery store might be a professional thief itching to break in the moment you leave.

2. Avoid advertising your intentions.

Professional thieves often watch "housesitter wanted" ads for potential break-in targets. Do not advertise on the Internet or in a local newspaper for a housesitter. Instead, contact a professional housesitting service.

3. Tell the right people.

Be sure to tell your alarm company and the local police authorities about your plans. Provide them with details for a local emergency contact and let them know how they can reach you while you are gone.

4. Put your tax dollars to work.

Ask the local police detachment to patrol your area more frequently while you are on holiday.

5. Provide your housesitter with important details.

Be sure that your housesitter knows where to locate all water and gas shutoff valves as well as fuse boxes and main electrical circuit boxes.

6. Put your digital or cell phone camera to good use.

Take photos of everyone who has permission to enter your home while you are away: yard maintenance people, petsitters, contractors, etc. Develop the photos and give prints to your housesitter, or e-mail digital copies to him/her. Alternatively, provide authorized people with a signed permission letter granting them access.

7. Keep the yard well-lit.

Burglars avoid bright lights. Installing motion-sensitive yard lighting is an excellent investment that will help to discourage night intruders.

8. Secure windows and doors.

Good deadbolt locks will discourage all but the most dedicated intruders. The majority of trespassers will abandon break-in attempts if they take more than 60 seconds to gain access.

9. Provide 24-7 security and fire monitoring.

There are many excellent monitored alarm systems on the market. In addition to providing security, they may entitle you to lower house insurance rates. Discuss systems with your insurance company before making any purchases. Your agent might be able to make recommendations or provide discount coupons. The best systems will monitor for intruders as well as carbon monoxide fumes and smoke.

10. Check exterior lights.

A week or so before you leave, replace burnt out bulbs and/or repair yard lights if necessary.

11. Keep the yard well groomed.

Arrange for regular yard maintenance such as lawn and hedge trimming, raking of leaves, snow removal, etc.

12. Put it out and pick it up.

Ensure that someone takes the trash to the curb on garbage day and picks up your mail soon after delivery.

13. Use a few children's toys imaginatively.

Scatter some children's toys in the yard where they will be visible from the street. This gives your property a lived-in look.

14. Plan some vehicle deception.

If you are not taking your vehicle with you, do not leave it in the garage. Instead, park it in the driveway and arrange for someone to move it once in awhile. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to use your driveway for parking.

15. Secure the garage.

Garage door remote controls are produced on assembly lines. They often have the same combinations or operate on the same frequency. Prevent accidental or intentional activation of your garage door by unplugging the opener before you leave.

16. Utilize your safety deposit box.

Move items like loose cash, expensive jewelry, and other small valuables out of your home and into your safety deposit box.

17. Protect appliances and conserve electricity.

Unplug all non-essential appliances as well as electronic and computer equipment. This protects surge sensitive devices and saves a bit on your electricity bill.

18. Avoid tattletale telephones.

Switch off all telephone ringers. A constantly ringing unanswered phone is an advertisement to passersby that nobody is home.

19. Be extra careful with voice mail or answering machines.

Never record a message that mentions your holiday or admits that you are not home. Instead, say something nonspecific such as, "Sorry, Bill and Sue can't come to the phone right now. Please leave a message when you hear the beep. We'll get back to you as soon as possible."

20. Protect your extra house key.

Do you hide an extra key in a hanging plant, inside a dryer vent, or above the doorjamb? Guess what - if you can find it, so can a thief. Give your extra key to the housesitter.

21. Avoid water damage.

Hoses to appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can spring leaks. Prevent water damage by turning off each appliance's water supply valve.

22. Provide light and sound.

Set timers on two or three lamps and a couple of radios so that they turn on and off throughout the day. The sound and light will create an illusion of occupancy.

23. Secure all entry points and holes.

Lock all the doors and windows of your home and outbuildings, and secure pet doors as well. Have you ever seen a raccoon or cat squeeze through what looks like an impossibly small space? Some burglars are almost as agile.

24. Use your air conditioner wisely.

If the temperature outside is 99F in the shade and your air conditioner is not working, a smart thief will deduce that nobody is home. Set it on a moderate setting so that it activates on extremely hot days.

25. Clear your voice mail or answering machine.

While you are gone, check and clear your voice mail or answering machine to avoid beeps, "voice mail full" messages, or immediate routing to the messaging system that might indicate you are not home. If you cannot or do not wish to do so, arrange for someone else to do it for you.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.

About the Author:

Be sure to visit 111 Travel Directory for more travel articles and tips. Another good travel tips website is - with over 1000 tips submitted by fellow travelers. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, try

Article Source: - 25 Tips to Safeguard your Home and Property while You Travel


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