Everyone deserves a nice long vacation, and if you’re fortunate enough to be able to take the time off during the holidays then by all means pack up and go! Yes, sometimes it’s nice just to stay home, watch a movie, complete the little renovation project on the powder room you started last spring, or maybe just catch up on some sleep. Whatever suits you. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about hitting the road, getting away, and in particular traveling during the holidays.
Whether you’re venturing cross-country or just across the state, one thing to keep in mind when traveling during the holidays is the safety and security of your unoccupied home while you’re gone. That brings up two main concerns, accidents and burglary.
Accidents are the easiest to mitigate. Start with turning off the main water supply valve in your home. One of the top insurance claims throughout the year is water damage, and a burst pipe while no one is home to take care of it right away is no way to start the new year. Also, turn off your water heater and its gas supply. Not only does this prevent potential gas leaks, you’ll save money on your energy bill. Everyone’s equipment is different, so refer to manufacturer’s directions first when considering any of these practices. Here’s a complete checklist of things you can do to minimize the chances of an accident occurring while you’re away.
The best way to deter burglary is to minimize opportunity while making it appear the house is operating just as it would any other day. Stop newspaper delivery for the time you’re away so papers don’t start to pile up on the front porch. Put house lights on timers. Park a car in the driveway. Remember, Business as usual. That’s the message you want to broadcast to the outside world. Even then, burglars are always out during the holidays looking for opportunities. Don’t make it easy on them. Hide spare car keys, jewelry, and other valuables in shoeboxes or behind the canned vegetables in the pantry. Have a trusted neighbor stop by periodically to monitor the house, or consider hiring a house sitter for the week!