Top Home Security Tips for Worry-Free Travel
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Getting out of town can be freeing, but it can also leave you with lingering doubts. Worrying you’ll come home to a damaged or ransacked house can really take the wind out of your sails. Next time you plan a getaway, take steps to ensure your home is safe and secure.
Reason to worry. Leaving your most valuable asset unguarded - your home - is worthy of concern shadowing your travel plans. Sometimes things just happen. Tree limbs fall, appliances short out, and of course, sometimes there are break-ins. According to studies cited by The New York Times, burglaries in 2014 cost an average of over $2,250 per incident to Americans. That’s just the loss of items; you can’t put a price on the loss of confidence, which occurs when a stranger breaks into your home, nor can you replace items with sentimental value. How do you counter that vulnerability when you aren’t there to take action? Thankfully, there are many smart strategies for securing your home when you travel.
Windows of opportunity. Your first step in preparing for your getaway isn’t buying tickets or packing bags. Before you do those things, HomeAdvisor recommends touring your property and looking for vulnerabilities. Check exposed surfaces for damage and make repairs so nothing gets away from you while you’re gone and stow loose belongings including your grill and patio furniture in your garage or storage shed. Unplug unnecessary appliances, lamps and electronic devices. Clean out your refrigerator so you don’t come home to spoiled food and adjust your thermostat; set cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer to save energy use. Lock your windows and doors, including those in your garage and any outbuildings, and if you have a home security system ensure it’s on and running.
There’s an app for that. Thanks to modern technology, you can enhance your home security through a number of innovations. There are smartphone apps available offering a variety of bells and whistles such as power outage backup and environmental sensors. Some are monitored through a subscription service and require professional installation, and some you can handle yourself. Another suggestion is to turn an old smartphone into a security system by using it as a security camera. It’s an inexpensive and clever solution, which provides peace of mind.
Connect with friends. A time-tested and worthy option for many travelers is to enlist the surveillance of a friend or neighbor. Offer some muffins in exchange for house watching, and you have eyes and ears monitoring your abode. You can even touch base routinely via texting or social media, easing your mind while you’re on the move. Have your friend pick up your mail, or make arrangements to stop mail at the post office while you’re out of town. Some experts suggest leaving a key with your friend or neighbor as well, just in case something goes awry. And Smarter Traveler recommends connecting with your local police department before you leave town so they can cruise by while on patrol.
Fake it till you make it. Presenting your home as occupied is another traditional home security option. It’s easy, effective and clever. One idea is to take things a step further than just leaving the lights and the TV on a timer. Put some items in your yard to make it appear a guard dog is on duty such as a couple bowls and even a “Beware of Dog” sign. Potential thieves don’t like to mess with complications like barking and biting dogs, so chances are they will move on to an easier target.
Next time you make travel plans, take proper precautions so you can leave home with confidence. Ensure your home is safe before you go away and employ smart security measures. A few simple strategies mean you can travel with peace of mind.