If you’ve got cabin fever, it’s great to get away in winter. That’s especially true if you live in colder northern areas, where winter can be long, dark and frigid. Traveling to some sunny getaway or hitting the slopes at a popular ski resort are just a few enjoyable ways to chase any winter blues away.
It’s a strong benefit to have friends, relatives or a caretaker at your home, but many don’t have that luxury. Unfortunately, some 25,000 burglaries take place every day in the U.S. according to the FBI. That works out to almost 9 million annually, causing property losses up to $15.5 billion in total. No vacation should be marred by a break-in, burglary, vandalism or other problems.
Even if your place isn’t targeted while you’re gone, employing a few common-sense winter travel safety tips can put your mind at ease while you’re traveling. That means you’ll be able to maximize your fun while minimizing your worry while away.
You’re not alone if you’ve been wondering “how can I protect my home while traveling?” Read on for some practical holiday safety travel tips from SABRE. Our four-step guide to home safety when traveling this winter will show you some smart and easy ways to keep your home secure and make your vacation even more enjoyable.
It may seem like common sense, but this can be an easily forgotten step if rushing to pack and prepare for a vacation. Before you leave, double-check all the window locks to make sure they are securely fastened. Also check all doors, including sliding glass doors.
If you have a garage, don’t forget to lock it. Even if it doesn’t have a door connecting to the inside of your home, thieves could take everything you keep in the garage.
Check Lights and Temperature
No matter what time of year you are traveling, be sure to set your home’s interior lights on a timer when you will be away for more than just a day. This will help make your home look occupied and lived-in, encouraging would-be crooks to move on to easier pickings.
It’s also wise to have some exterior lighting on your property in strategic spots. Using a timer to turn on lights when it’s dark outside is a smart way to protect your home. Burglars love to operate under cover of darkness. They will think twice about trying to break into your place if you put them in the spotlight. Motion-activated lights also can be an effective way to scare burglars away.
To make it look like you’re at home, stop mail delivery while away. This is easy to do online. If you subscribe to a newspaper, stop delivery of the paper too.
In winter, make sure to set your home’s thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your home warm and prevent your water pipes from freezing and bursting. The extra money spent on utilities will more than compensate for hiring a plumber to fix broken pipes. Add insulation to unprotected water pipes and faucets. Letting water run at a slow drip can also help prevent burst pipes.
It’s also smart to unplug expensive electronics like computers, TVs and other items while away. In the event of a power surge, this will protect them from damage. It could also save you a few bucks in a lower electric bill, because many appliances draw power even when turned off.
Consider Standalone Home Alarms
One simple and inexpensive option for home safety while traveling is to use a standalone alarm. These alarms are ideal for apartments, dormitories and individual rooms but may also be used as a basic, affordable way to protect a house. They are simple to install and use and require no monthly payments to an alarm service.
Mounted to doors or windows, these alarms make a loud sound when activated by an intruder. They are designed to scare intruders while warning folks nearby that trouble is afoot.
When shopping for a standalone alarm, look for a quality alarm that will function dependably and can be heard far off. Standalone alarms are available from SABRE that can be heard up to 1,000 feet away.
Other inexpensive items can supplement standalone alarms to deter crime. Fake security cameras, security pads and similar items are affordable and a cinch to install. Preventing just one break-in will immediately repay this small investment.
Install Wireless Alarm Systems
For larger homes, especially houses, a wireless alarm system can help you rest easier when you are away. These systems are available in many styles and at many price points, making it easy to find one that’s right for you.
Wireless systems are a cinch to install. You don’t have to hire an electrician to set one up. They also avoid monthly billing from a security monitoring company, saving you even more.
Even so, these systems provide great security. Operated from a central control, like a key fob or a keypad control, these systems are user-friendly. Because they use compatible wireless components, they are expandable. You can start with a wireless door or window sensor, for instance, then add more door and window sensors or a motion-detector alarm to monitor staircases and other areas. An unlimited number of wireless sensors can be added to custom-design your safety and security system.
Enjoy your winter travels with the peace of mind that you’ve better secured your home with these four steps. These steps can make a big difference in protecting your home while away.