7 Ways to Protect Your Home While You’re Away for the Holidays

protecthomevacationEveryone can agree — particularly overworked, overstressed moms — that vacations are pretty awesome. Whether you’re jetting off to London or driving to the nearest spa for a weekend of TLC, getting away is a treat.

But… in order to relax while you’re away, you need to feel safe leaving your home unattended. Stories abound of families who go on vacation only to come home and find their home robbed and rifled through. Homeowners are smart but sometimes burglars are smarter, so it’s worth while to do the research and be fully prepared.

If you don’t have a security system, it’s worth looking into. Pricing varies but it requires an investment. Americans spend over $20 billion a year on home security systems with costs ranging from $100 and up for installation, plus an average of $30 per month for monitoring. Home security screens for windows and doors runs much higher, into the thousands.

Here are some other ways to make your home less appealing to prowlers while you’re gone.

1. Light Up. No one wants to waste electricity, but a dark house is a clear sign no one’s home. Set outside and indoor lights on automatic timers to make your home look lived in.

2. Mind the Mail. Most security experts suggest stopping mail and newspaper delivery while you’re away. To make things appear “normal,” you can also keep mail coming and have a friend stop by frequently to collect it so nothing accumulates.

3. Watch Your Wheels. I live in a city where car break-ins are common. If you have a garage, you’ll most likely leave your family cruiser there. If not, having a car in the driveway makes it look like someone’s home — just be sure not to leave anything inside. An empty car is far less attractive to would-be thieves.

4. Groom the Grass. Overgrown grass or neglected plants can be clues for potential intruders that a house is vacant. American Family Insurance, a company specializing in helping homeowners keep their property safe, also suggests: “Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows. Make it difficult for would-be thieves to hide near your home.”

5. Let the Sunshine In. It may be tempting to draw the curtains and blinds so no one can peek into your home. Instead, it can make a house look closed up and empty. It’s smarter to leave your place looking normal, so open up!

6. Be Street Smart. Being on a well-lit street is a plus, but do spot-checks and make sure all streetlamps are working before you leave town. If not, contact the city to fix any problems.

7. Tame Your Tweets. We live in the age of social media where every move seems to be shared via Facebook or Twitter. As tempting as it may be to text your friends, “Adiós, amigos! I’m off to sip margaritas in Mazatlan!!” it’s best not to advertise you’re heading out of town.

For more tips and pointers of creating a safe and secure homefront before you head out of town, check out American Family Insurance.