Holiday Travel & Safety at Home

    Hopefully you are looking forward to visiting family (or better yet, a balmy beach!!) during the upcoming holiday break. Maybe your trip is not happening until spring. In either event, taking time to secure your home is essential. Here are several important things you should consider before heading to the airport:
    1) Social Media – Who can resist changing their status to “Off to Mexico for some sun! See you in 2 weeks!” or updating your location to “ORD, Bound for Hawaii!” We want our friends and family a little envious of our escape to warm sunshine…but the people closest to you are probably aware of your plans. What your status might as well say is, “I’m out of the country for 2 weeks, feel free to help yourself.”
    2) Same goes with your answering machine…don’t advertise that you are away.
    3) The best deterrent is to have someone house-sit for you. This is especially great if you have pets.
    4) If you do not have someone to house-sit for you, find a neighborhood teen who is happy to earn some money bringing in your mail and papers and making sure your driveway and walks are shoveled.
    5) If you have an alarm, whether you pay to have it monitored or not, make sure it is set. The loud alarm ringing will scare away intruders and attract the attention of neighbors.
    6) Secure your pets. Be sure you know where they are in the home when you leave to ensure that they are not accidentally locked outdoors or into a room with no food or water.
    7) Unplug all appliances that do not need to be on while you are away.
    8) Ensure all doors and windows are locked, including pet entrances.
    9) Always leave a couple small interior lights on. Consider using a timer for outdoor lighting.
    10) Don’t adjust your window treatments! Closing all of the blinds in your home can be like a neon sign announcing “I’m not home!”
    11) Keeping a video recording of your home’s valuables and checking to be sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to date before your leave can provide added peace of mind.
    Taking precautions before leaving on vacation will ensure you can rest easier while you are gone! Safe travels and Happy Holidays!

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