Trying to get out of the cold? Maybe hit the beach? Don't forget to prepare your home for your vacation too! The last thing you want to return to is damage or stolen items. Here are a few points to think about before you head south.
Don’t tell the world you’re going away.
Posting your family’s travel plans and dates on facebook or twitter is never a good idea. You never know who may read it and target your home while you’re away. Keep your vacation information off of the web and away from strangers. This is hard with iPhones making sharing your vacation photos just a click away.
Don’t close the drapes.
Keeping your curtains fully closed for a week or two is bound to tip people off that no one is home. So keep your curtains in their usual position to avoid drawing attention to your house. Just be sure to remove any expensive electronics or jewelry from plain sight.
Hold your mail.
Don’t let a week or two’s worth of mail spill out of your mailbox or pile up on your stoop. Play it safe by asking a close friend or neighbor to collect it for you. If that’s not an option, put in a “stop” order at your post office or online at their official web site. That way, you won’t have a big stack of bills waiting for you the moment you get home.
Use programmable light switches.
Leaving the lights either on or off the whole time you’re away is a dead giveaway that no one is home. Purchase a few programmable light switches that will turn lights on and off at set times. This will help create the illusion that the house is being used and help decrease the chance of break-ins. You can find timers on sale after Christmas too, so now is a great time!
Unplug major appliances.
You never know when a lightning storm could hit and cause a power surge that fries your flat‑screen TV or home computer. Even when your appliances are off, they still use electricity when they’re plugged in. So always unplug your appliances before you leave for trips to keep them safe and to keep your electric bill down.
Have a friend or neighbor help.
Leave him or her a key to water the plants and make sure the water heater isn't leaking. You can always bring back a souvenir or return the favor on your friend's next vacation.