Whether you are flying cross-country to visit family or hitting the road in your RV, for many people the holidays are synonymous with traveling. But, leaving your home unattended can expose your greatest assets to risk. Here are some tips for protecting your home while you travel.
Suspend services. Contact USPS to put a hold on mail delivery and put your newspaper delivery on hold (unless you have made arrangements for someone to collect them daily). Piled up newspapers and overflowing mail are signs that no one is coming and going, which may make your home an easy target. You may also want to turn your water off if it is not needed while you are gone and unplug any unnecessary devices or appliances.
Sign up for patrol by RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program). You can submit a Vacation Check Form to request to have the RSVP visit your property while you are traveling to make sure nothing is amiss.
Have a neighbor check in. Let a couple of trusted neighbors know when you will be traveling and give one a key to access your home to check in (experts DO NOT recommend leaving the key hidden under a mat). It is not impossible that something could happen (i.e. a burst pipe) and catching it early could minimize damage. Be sure they also have a contact phone number in case they need to call you.
Leave a light on. Leave an inside light on so the house does not look deserted. If you have motion lights, make sure they are in good working order and/or leave your exterior lights on (or put them on a timer) so that there are signs of life in and around the home to deter any unwanted activities.
Take inventory of your belongings. If you haven’t taken an inventory of your belongings (with photos and/or video), it’s a good idea to have this information recorded before you leave. Why? Because things happen. If there is a burglary or flood that happens while you are away, you will be prepared to deal with insurance companies. It is recommended that you do this annually regardless of your travel plans.
Bonus tip: DO NOT post photos of you while traveling on social media, as tempting as it is. Many people forget that “social” means that their photos in far away places may be seen by people they do not know. And do not “check in” to locations far from home. Your best bet is to save those glorious photos until you return and THEN post and share them. Don’t worry, people will still “like” them.
If you have any other tips or tricks for protecting your home while you are traveling, please share. And, happy travels!