Six Tips for Preparing Your Home Before You Travel

Whenever you travel, whether for vacation or business, you are leaving your home unoccupied and thus more vulnerable to break-ins and other issues. Before you leave on your trip, it is important to take precautions that will protect your home and reduce your risk of returning to a disaster.

A locked door in Changdeok Palace

A locked door in Changdeok Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Stop Deliveries

Most people get mail delivery on a daily basis and potentially newspaper delivery as well. If you will be gone for a period of time, put a stop on these deliveries. This will keep them from building up in your mailbox or on your driveway, signaling that you aren’t home. An alternative is to ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to pick up these items every day.

Set up Light Timers

Turning on lights and other electronics in your home can be a good way to give the illusion that someone is home, even when you are away. Put a few of your home’s lights on an automatic timer for a few hours in the evening. You may also consider putting a radio or television set on a timer as well to create some noise. Motion detectors on exterior lights are also helpful.

Store Valuables

When thieves break into a home, they are likely to look for valuables in the bedroom. To protect your jewelry and other valuables from theft while you are gone, consider putting them somewhere else for storage. Either pack them up and take them to a relative’s home or hide them in an obscure location in your home. Burglars don’t like to spend a lot of time inside a home and aren’t likely to look in unlikely places for valuables.

Clean out Your Refrigerator

Depending on the length of your trip, some of the perishable food in your refrigerator may go bad while you are gone. You can reduce the smell and the need to deal with rotten food when you return by cleaning out your refrigerator before you go. Some items will be fine, but throw out those that are likely to expire before you return.

Check All the Locks

Make sure that you check all the locks on doors and windows before you leave. Systematically go through your home and check each one individually so there is no question whether you forgot one in the process. If you have a garage, remember to shut that as well so thieves don’t have access to your garage or your home through your garage while you are gone. Right before you leave the house be sure to set your security alarm. In fact, according to a study conducted by, almost 28 percent of the total burglaries committed in 2013 were no-force entries. This means that close to a third of burglaries owner left their doors or windows unlocked.

Talk to a Trusted Neighbor

Choose a neighbor you can trust and talk to him or her about your absence. Let your neighbor know how long you will be gone and ask him or her to keep an eye on your property for any suspicious activity. Give this neighbor your contact information, along with the information of a friend or family member who will be home, in case of an emergency. Having someone who can be your eyes and ears at home is important.

As a homeowner, it is important to protect your home, even when you won’t be there for a long period of time. These steps are a great way to prepare your home before you go on a trip, reducing the risk of theft or other issues while you are gone.

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