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Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: The Do’s and Don’ts

Do's and Don'ts to keep you home safe while on vacation

Take extra precautions to keep you home safe, lock up, then leave your worries behind.

Going on vacation soon? Murphy's Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while on vacation -- which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Make keeping your home safe and secure a priority before you leave. Following a few basic do’s and don’ts (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more while away.


DON’T leave a message on the answering machine saying you are on vacation. Callers don't need to know that you're not home -- they just need to know that you can't come to the phone right now.

DON’T close the blinds when you leave on vacation if they are usually open. The more normal the home looks, the better. Move expensive items out of plain sight if they're visible from the window.

DON’T hide a key outdoors in a protected spot, either. That plastic rock isn't fooling anyone. Burglars know the best hiding places better than you do.

DON’T leave your portable GPS in the car if long-term parking is used at the airport. It’ll alert thieves that you’re not home and give them a convenient map to your house.

DON’T forget the doggie door. Lock or secure all pet doors that a person might crawl through.

DON’T post the details of your vacation for the whole world to see. Never announce travel plans or whereabouts on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. It’s like setting up a sign letting criminals know your house is ripe for the picking!


DO make sure all doors and windows are locked and fastened. Also, secure sliding glass doors and windows by placing a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track.

DO examine the house from the street and make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, are visible from the street. If a passerby can see your belongings, so can criminals.

DO unplug the power to the automatic garage door to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote. Make sure to also lock the door to your attached garage.

DO make it appear that someone is home - purchase a light switch timer that can turn lights, radios, televisions, etc., on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule.

DO leave the air conditioner on. A silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication that someone isn’t home.

DO ask a friend or trusted neighbor to help - Ask them to pick up the newspaper and mail while gone, which gives your home a more lived-in look. Also, ask them to put the trash containers out for pick-up and put them back again when they’re empty.

DO consider installing a home security system, and make sure it is activated when leaving. Provide the alarm company with an up-to-date list of people to contact.

Install Added Security Features

Recent studies have shown that homes without a working home security system are 300% more likely to experience a theft. While deterring crime is obviously important in a home security system, there are several other benefits:

  • An intruder entering a home with a security system will generally exit the home immediately upon hearing the alarm, significantly decreasing the risk of loss or physical danger.
  • Homeowners with home security systems typically enjoy lower insurance rates due to the reduced risk of burglary and fire.
  • A home security system can be an added selling point when putting a home on the market.
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