Preparing for a vacation is a hectic affair – double checking lists to ensure you didn’t forget that last little thing you just can’t do without, packing, clearing out leftover edibles, putting dust-covers on the furniture, settling bills, planning your journey expenses, getting international ATM cards, checking your hotel reservations – it’s an endless to-do list, and chances are, you will forget something.
But here’s one item that should be at the top of your checklist – ensuring the safety of your home while you’re away. Most people think it’s a simple matter of locking the doors and windows up tight and the house will take care of itself. But hiding everything away under lock and key won’t deter a professional burglar, so here’s what you should do instead:
- Don’t announce your travel plans: News like that always gets around, so keep the trip announcement for when you’ve returned from your journey. However, do tell a close neighbor that you’ll be away, and ask them to keep an eye on your home till you come back. There’s no security system as good as a watchful neighbor!
- Don’t create a paper mountain outside your door: A mass of unread newspapers, letters and fliers on your front door or garden is a giant, flashing announcement that you’re away from home. Ask your newspaperman to quit deliveries till your date of return, and request a neighbor to pick up any mail and fliers you receive in the post.
- De-clutter your garden: Untrimmed bushes, a dirty lawn, overgrown branches and dry grass are again, sure-shot signs that no one’s at home to care for your garden. Spruce up your plants before you go, and ask a neighbor to water your plants every now and then. If you have a sprinkler system, leave it on when you leave. If there’s likelihood of rain, ask your neighbor to cover up your garden ornaments and furniture.
- Don’t turn off the lights: And by that, we don’t mean, “Leave one or two lights on and the rest off, to save on electricity.” Leave a significant number of lights on, because having just the kitchen and bedroom lights on in an otherwise dark house simply signifies an empty house. The best thing to do would be to hire a house-sitter, or ask a friend, neighbor or relative to come in once a day to open and close the curtains, and switch on lights and fans, which will give the impression that someone still lives there.
- Don’t leave valuables in the house: Put away jewellery and small valuables in a safety deposit box instead of leaving them in your house safe. Make a catalogue of all your furniture, appliances and other items, so that you can check against it for any missing or damaged items when you come back.
- Don’t forget security: Get a security system and cameras installed in your house before you leave, and consider getting the best home insurance plan to negate any remaining risk. If you already have home insurance, check whether or not it covers burglaries. If it doesn’t, then a good travel insurance plan will also suffice to cover your home against break-ins.
Taking these few simple preventive measures may save you a world of trouble and worry – you won’t have to be afraid about finding a burgled home when you return. If, by some unlucky chance your home is broken into after all, you may be assured that the loss was minimized as much as possible.