How to Make Your House Look Lived-in – Even When You’re on Vacation

July 09, 2017

The summer travel season is in full swing. It is expected that more people will travel in 2017 than in the past. According to the U.S Travel Association, year over year travel nationwide has grown 3.2% and is expected to grow another 1.9% through November 2017. There are many things to do before embarking on a trip such as planning the itinerary, deciding what to pack, purchasing airline tickets, booking hotel reservations, etc. However, to keep your home secure there is one more to do list to make before heading out the door – securing your home while you are away.

While an alarm system is a good first step, don’t count on just that. There are a few simple steps to take that will help make your home look lived-in even while you aren’t there and keep unwanted visitors away. Granted, most of these tips seem like common sense – and they are, but people often forget them because they are so simple; so here is a checklist to follow.

Lock up your house. Obvious; but be sure to lock or secure not only doors, but also windows, garage doors, and pet doors. Also disable the automatic feature on your garage door to stop potential thieves from using a universal remote to open your garage.

  1. Install light-sensing exterior lamps that will turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn.
  2. Set interior lamps on a variable timer in several places throughout the house to come on and go off at different times throughout the day.
  3. Put a timer on a portable radio and leave it on a news station.
  4. Although it may dampen some of your spontaneity, keep your trip plans to yourself when on social media and don’t post trip updates or photos until after you return.
  5. Arrange to have newspapers and mail stopped. You can easily put both on a vacation hold.
  6. Ask a neighbor to check for any deliveries or packages left at the front door.
  7. Alert local police that you will be away.
  8. Do you keep a spare house key hidden outside, just in case you forget yours? If so, be sure to remove it before leaving on your trip. Savvy thieves will look in the most likely hiding places for spare keys.
  9. If you will be gone more than a week, arrange to have someone trustworthy mow your lawn.
  10. Alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling. This will help avoid unnecessary credit card declines while you are away, leaving you to make an unexpected cash transaction.
  11. Dead Giveaway #1: Don’t leave trash cans sitting on the curb all week. That's a clear sign that you're not around. Bring them back inside before leaving on your trip or ask a neighbor to wheel them out of sight after they are emptied.
  12. Dead Giveaway #2: Thieves will often track the acitivity of thier intended target for a couple of days before attempting a break-in. If, all of a sudden, there is no car in the driveway when there ususally is one, that's an open invitation to the would-be thief. Best practice: Ask a friend or neighbor to leave a car in your driveway while you are gone.

Sources: ASecureLife, State Farm: Simple Inisghts™, Travel Insurance Review

For more information, check out the following resources TRAVEL TRENDS INDEX, US Travel Association, Protect Your Home While on Vacation, 13 Ways to Protect Your Home When You Travel, and 15 Expert Tips to Securing Your Home Before a Trip.

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