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16 Tips for Securing Your Home Before Traveling

Aug 1, 2008
Thousands of Americans escape from the area every day to explore the open road. In today's travel planning, taking the extra steps to protect yourself and your home is an essential part of your departure plans.

There are many common things that can go wrong while you are away, so make sure to cover all the basics and leave a secure home before leaving it unattended.

Here are 16 Ways to Secure Your Home:

1- Secure important papers and valuables. Use a personal safe or lock box, or invest in renting a security box from a local company to safeguard any essential valuables that cannot be replaced.

2- Check insurance policies for home, auto, and life. Keep a copy of your insurance papers with your important papers.

3- Alert your trusted neighbors to your vacation. Aware community members are the easiest way to help protect your home if they know that you will be gone.

4- Make sure that windows are closed properly and that valuables are not visible from the outside of your home.

5- Hire a housesitter. This can be a personal friend or a professional. Maintaining your home (plants, animals, etc) and protecting it by giving the appearance of being occupied is easily accomplished by hiring a local responsible teenager or contacting a service.

6- Do not advertise your vacation with people you are not personal friends with. One of the biggest mistakes of going on vacation is bragging to the wrong people at the wrong time: which is generally before you leave. Keep your vacation stories for after you have returned.

7- Put mail on hold or get a secure locking mailbox. The post office will hold you mail for a specific time with a simple request, however locking mailboxes with enough storage can simplify the process if you are consistently traveling.

8- Install automatic timers for your lights. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of digital timers that can turn on at random or programmed intervals. Lights create the illusion of having an occupied residence.

9- Leave your car in the driveway, but make sure to not leave a garage door opener in your car.

10- Lock your garage door externally and internally. Garage doors are created with a mechanism that can be forced open from the outside.

11- Leave a key with a friend or neighbor (in addition to having a housesitter) so that they can double-check your property or be available in case of an emergency.

12- Document your valuables.The easiest way to do this is by photographing or taking video of each room, with a quick shot of any specific high-value items. Store the information somewhere else (security box at the bank, family members house, etc). In the event of loss, this will help you file an insurance claim and make sure you didn't forget anything.

13- Mark your valuables with an Operation Identification number. Your local police department probably has a pamphlet on this process. You can engrave or etch your drivers license number on to valuables, if stolen and later recovered, police can track you down through the department of motor vehicles.

14- Start a community watch and look out for your neighbors. Everyone goes on vacation, and this is an easy opportunity to establish a good-faith relationship with your community and enhance your overall safety.

15- Turn off all appliances (and even unplug them). Your can minimize the risk of an electrical fire by unplugging any unnecessary appliances.

16- Forward your home phone number to your cell phone (or a family member) to answer calls while you are away.

Finally: create a departure checklist for each family member traveling. Include items on this list, but also include important conversations with children and teenagers to make sure that they are not advertising your absence with the wrong people.
About the Author
Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles is Marketing/PR Specialist at MailBoss - a division of Epoch Design. MailBoss is committed to the design, manufacturing and distribution of a security mailbox of superior quality and value. The Mail Boss locking security mailbox product line secures sensitive mail, helping consumers protect themselves from the epidemic of mail theft and identity theft.
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