Prepare Your Home for Travel
It’s summer, which means vacation time! Family travel is high this time of year since the kids are out of school.
Personally: I love to travel. I love to take mini-vacations. I love to take long weekends away. I even love the occasional “stay-cation.” Exploring new places and cultures is like an energy infusion. It piques my interest and makes me excited to know “what’s next.” I even like to be a tourist in my own town and try to see the sight like someone who only has a few days to be here.
As your trip gets closer, though, you start asking yourself: What if I forget something? What if I forget something really important…like my credit card or my boarding pass or photo ID.
One thing most people don’t think about is what you need to do to prepare your home for your trip. Although you’ve got everything else covered, you may not have a travel plan for your home.
Everyone has their checklists and preparation rituals. But what about a checklist for securing your home while you’re away? Naturally, you’ll think about checking the locks on the doors and windows (twice, even three times) and unplugging the iron, but what else should you be doing?
Checklist to Prepare Your Home for Travel
- Secure the building
Check the door and window locks twice before you head out. All of them. If you have sliding doors, consider adding a bar across the bottom so even if the lock gets broken, the doors cannot slide for access.
- Check your social media privacy settings
Does the world know you’re traveling (…and that your home is vacant with all your valuables in it?) What did you post on your social media leading up to your vacation? Hopefully your travel dates weren’t among the postings. What are your location and privacy settings? You know you’re going to post photos of your trip (or the awesome meal you have), but are you going to “check-in” while there? Now is a good time to check your defaults – who sees your posts – just friends? friends of friends? public? Does it include your location?
- Check your phone’s privacy settings (including location services)
Just as with your social media, your phone might be tagging the date and location of the photos you take. It may also be automatically uploading them to your social media (is that safe?) or your cloud storage (how much data will that use to upload them?). Does this mean when you post a photo that everyone will know where you were….and that your house is empty (and ripe for the picking?)
- Automate, automate, automate
The more the house looks like things are happening “as usual,” the less likely anyone will have a clue you’re away. Consider putting timers on the lights throughout the house (or program the timing in your smart home app) so that they go on (and off) as usual. What about the porch lights. Consider installing inexpensive dusk-to-dawn sensors a few weeks before you leave so they will come one when it’s dark (and off in the morning)
- Mail call!
Did you put a hold on your mail? Nothing like having your box overflowing with mail…meaning you didn’t get it. Same with your newspaper delivery. Plus you won’t be paying for a paper you didn’t get to read! If you don’t want to put any hold notices, at least arrange for a trustworthy friend/neighbor to pop by daily to grab it.
- Check the thermostat
Not so much a security issue, but definitely something you’ll be grateful you did when the electric bill comes. Consider setting to a higher temp than when you’re home so you’re not paying to keep the house like an icebox when you’re not there to enjoy it. EXCEPTION: If you’ll be leaving pets in the house and having someone check on them, keep it at a temperature that will keep your fur-babies comfortable.
Hope this starter list helps you get ready before you high-tail it out of town for your summer adventures!