The holiday season is a time for joy, family gatherings, and travel. Many of us look forward to visiting loved ones or embarking on a well-deserved vacation during this time.
However, it’s important to keep your house safe while you’re away. According to a 2022 study, there isn’t a significant uptick in the number of burglaries during the holiday season, but they are costlier. The average value of stolen items is 5% higher in December than other months.1
Protecting your house from potential threats, whether burglaries, accidents, or weather-related issues, is essential for peace of mind during your holiday travels. In this blog, we’ll explore 10 valuable tips to keep your house safe when traveling for the holidays.
1. Lock All Doors and Windows
The first step in securing your home is to make sure all doors and windows are locked. This may seem obvious, but it’s a simple, yet effective, way to deter potential intruders, as burglaries are oftentimes crimes of opportunity. Be sure to check all entry points, including sliding doors, basement windows, and the garage. Consider installing deadbolts and reinforcing sliding doors for added security.
2. Invest in a Security System
A home security system can be a significant deterrent to burglars and provide you with real-time monitoring and alerts. Many modern systems allow you to remotely access cameras and sensors right from your phone, or you can pay for professional monitoring that will dispatch help in case of an emergency.
3. Notify a Trusted Neighbor or Friend
Inform a trustworthy neighbor or friend about your travel plans. Ask them to keep an eye on your property, collect mail and packages, and report any suspicious activity. This can also be a good opportunity to exchange emergency contact information, and to give them a spare key for safekeeping rather than leaving it under the garden gnome. Depending on your relationship with the neighbor, the length of your trip, and your level of concern, consider asking them to park their car in your driveway from time to time while you’re away to give the appearance that someone is home.
4. Secure Valuables
Store valuable items, such as jewelry, important documents, and electronics, in a secure safe. If you don’t have a safe, consider renting one or using a safety deposit box at a local bank. Make a detailed inventory of your valuables and keep a copy in a separate, secure location, or consider taking video of the contents of your home, garage, and any storage buildings for insurance purposes, and capture serial numbers of high-value items when possible.
5. Inspect Outdoor Lighting
Make sure outdoor lights are in working order and that any motion-activated lights are properly calibrated.
6. Be Proactive with Mail & Deliveries
Submit a Hold Mail request with USPS, and switch your Amazon or other deliveries to be left in your garage or a locker if neighbors can’t collect these items for you.
7. Adjust Your Thermostat
Set your thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter to save energy, but don’t turn it off completely. A temperature too low can allow pipes to freeze. Consider also opening the doors of cabinets that have interior plumbing to help prevent frozen pipes.
8. Utilize Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology can enhance your home’s security. Install smart locks, doorbell cameras, and smart lights that can mimic the typical patterns of a lived-in home. These devices allow you to monitor your home remotely and receive alerts if any suspicious activity is detected.
Also consider installing a whole-home water shutoff system to prevent a small leak from potentially becoming a big and expensive problem. Turning off the water at the master valve before you leave is another option worth considering.
9. Don't Broadcast Your Absence
Avoid posting about your travel plans on social media until after you’ve returned. Broadcasting your absence can inadvertently inform potential burglars that your home is vacant.
10. Back Up Important Data
Backup important data on your computer or other devices in case of theft or damage.
Protecting your home during the holidays while you’re away doesn’t have to be stressful. By taking a few simple precautions and investing in security measures, you can peacefully enjoy your travels.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Strategic Financial Planning, Inc. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered legal, investment, or tax advice.