Three Keys To Protecting Your Home During Long-term Travel

September 27, 2016

Going out of town is no big deal, right?

However, have you considered what happens to your home when you leave for long periods of time, perhaps weeks or months on end?

Keeping your home safe and secure is more about just locking your doors and leaving the lights off; likewise, you may be throwing cash away if you do not establish a regular routine for long-term travel.

Whether you are traveling abroad, taking a family trip, or have to be away from home due to an emergency situation, do not treat your house like business is usual. Instead, consider the following as a checklist to make sure your bases are covered safety-wise and you are not needlessly wasting cash while you are on the-the-go.

Safety First

If you have ever traveled a significant distance, it is difficult to shake the inevitable worry of wondering what is happening at home while you are gone. Safety is and should be one of your top priorities, but what can you do to make sure your homestead is secure?

Rather than blowing out your budget on a security system, instead consider three simple steps to avoid any potential criminal activity while you are away:

Do not give anyone a sneak peek into your home: for example, sturdy shading such as faux wood blinds can keep intruders from looking in.

Rather than needlessly leave the lights on, install a timer switch on the interior light of your living room to create the illusion that somebody is indeed coming and going (such devices can be purchased for approximately $20 on Amazon).

Consider contacting your local police department if you are going to be out of town for months on end; although unnecessary for a weekend trip, many departments are willing to send a patrol by periodically if you are paranoid

However, keeping your home safe goes beyond the interior. How so?

Do Not Forget The Exterior

Upkeeping the exterior of your home while you are away represents not only a courtesy to your neighbors, but also a safety issue. After all, if a vehicle does not move for weeks on end and your lawn becomes too unkempt, your absence becomes rather obvious.

Burglars typically target empty homes, therefore, you need to do everything you can to create the illusion of an occupied household. Consider asking a neighbor, perhaps even hiring a teenager in the neighborhood, to take care of some small exterior housekeeping such as:

  • Collecting your mail
  • Mowing the lawn and trimming hedges
  • Periodically repositioning your vehicle in the driveway

While the small details of your home exterior may be the last thing on your mind while you are away, you simply cannot afford to ignore them.

Do Not Drive Up Your Bills

Perhaps the most obvious piece of advice for those leaving long-term would be to turn off an needless appliances to save on your energy bill. However, there is no need to go overboard, for example, you do not have to go as far as unplugging your refrigerator, as modern models only take a few cents per day to run. Instead, save where it really counts:

  • Consider canceling your cable/internet service if you know you are going to be gone for months at a time, otherwise you are potentially flushing away hundreds of dollars
  • Cut off your air conditioning, however, try to make a point to clean thoroughly if you live in a humid climate to avoid a breeding ground for mold and pests while you are gone
  • Unplug smaller electronic devices and appliances such as your router and microwave, also put your water heater on “vacation” mode to keep your water bill down

By having the proper plan in place alongside someone to assist you, it is relatively easy to keep your home safe and secure at a moment’s notice. Rather than stressing out during long-term travel, enjoy your next journey with peace of mind.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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