Vacation is such a wonderful time, you plan ahead, you check things off your packing list and you jump in the car and head to the beach. But, before you go, you might want to protect your biggest investment – your home. Here are some great tips we have put together for you to make sure you do before you vacation.
Get a friend or neighbor to help: If you’ve got a trusted friend or neighbor who might be willing to keep an eye on your home while you’re away, butter them up first (freshly baked brownies or cookies are never a bad call), then ask them if they’d mind checking in on the place on occasion during your absence. If they’re up for the task, leave them with a spare key and the security code (if you have a security system), and ask if they’d mind bringing in the mail, taking the garbage out to the curb for pickup, watering the plants, etc. while you’re away. Note: Upon your return, a souvenir from the place you’re visiting makes for a great gift to thank them for their troubles.
Limit online signs of your absence: When you’re visiting a place as beautiful as Myrtle Beach, it’s natural to want to share your photos and news of your adventures on your favorite social media sites. But think twice before making vacation-related status updates while you’re so far away from home — in the wrong hands, this online information can serve as a virtual invitation to thieves by letting them know you’re away. Save all of your photos and stories up for a larger update/photo album that you post to social media upon your return. As an added bonus, spending less time on social media during your getaway will give you more time to enjoy the destination while you’re there.
Let the police know you’ll be gone: Especially if you live in a smaller community, you might want to call the police and let them know that you’ll be away on an extended vacation. In some cases, officers might be willing patrol your neighborhood a bit more frequently if they know you’re away, and some might even go out of their way to double-check your residence for any concerning signs for the duration of your trip.
Place a hold your mail: If you schedule the service before you leave, the S. Postal Service will place a hold on your mail for up to 30 days while you’re away, then deliver it or hold it for pickup upon your return. During an extended absence, this prevents mail and packages from stacking up in your mailbox while you’re gone — a telltale sign to thieves that nobody is home.
Put your lights on a schedule: To give any passersby the impression that you’re home, put a light or two in your residence on a light-switch timer (or a lamp on an outlet timer) while you’re away. This way, you can schedule the lights to turn on for a while in the evening, then off again during the late-night hours — just as they naturally would if you were at home and on a typical work/sleep schedule. If you’re a tech-savvy homeowner, you can even purchase smart bulbs or a smart outlet that can be controlled via your smartphone (or other internet-connected device) and an associated app while you’re away.
Secure that spare key: You won’t need your spare key anyway while you’re out of town. And especially when it’s stored in a predictable spot — think under the doormat, above the doorframe, in the hanging plant by the door, under that fake rock by the walkway — it presents a clear risk of being found by thieves. It’s never a bad idea to remove that spare key before an extended time away from home — or to at least relocate it to a less-obvious hiding place.
This checklist will help you feel safe and know your home is okay during your getaway!