Do you know what my sister is doing today? Just look at her facebook page.
No really… you can look.
She is on a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise.
You know what that means, right?
Her house is empty.
If you also look at her Facebook page- you can see what city she lives in. A simple Whitepages.com search of her husband’s name came up with their address (which I will not publish).
And for real… I waited until she was back to actually publish this blog post… I’m not a complete moron! LOL…
A few days ago I wrote a blog about robberies and burglaries and home safety and I mentioned that this week I was going to do a blog about vacation safety. Here it is.
Most of us do it- we are super excited about going on vacation- so we want to tell our friends. And how do we tell our friends? We post about it on social media.
I am guilty of this a hundred times over. I mean- if my children want to know where mom is- they just have to check my Facebook.
But my sister’s house is sitting empty for two whole weeks and she has broadcasted it to the world. It’s like an open invitation for people to come rob her.
Now- luckily for me- her insurance agent, cat / house sitter, and favorite sitter- we are not going to let that happen. Because they – and I – are following some safety steps that we are going to share with you.
- Never announce that you are going on an extended vacation. (oops- she gets an F on this one!)
- Get an alarm system- with doors and windows that you can set. Ideally that you can set on a vacation mode that will go to a command center that will call 911 for you if you don’t turn it off with a code.
- Install a video doorbell
- Put timers on your TV’s and lamps to turn on when it gets dark. This will help fool would-be burglars into thinking that you may be home when it gets dark. Think “Home Alone” when he throws that fake holiday party with all of the cardboard cutouts and what-not.
- Get a pet. Preferably a dog. And then hire someone to come stay with them or at least come daily to walk and feed him/her. My sister has a cat, Leila. Leila is friendly (which is good for me, bad for deterring burglars). We should bring my other sister’s cat, Stewie over. Stewie is mean.
- Pay someone to come stay there while you are away. Maybe someone who just needs a break from their life. Maybe a mom who needs a break and wants dad to know what it’s like to have to do 100% of the work. Who knows… but find someone.
- Stop the mail. Mail building up is a sure sign that you’ve left town. You can even do this online here.
- Leave the blinds open- blinds being shut for a week is a tell..
- If you don’t have outdoor motion security lights yet- install some. Burglars are more likely to go for areas that are dark and hidden from the neighbors view. You can illuminate these areas by installing motion lights. Oh- and by the way- probably a good idea to tell the neighbors you are leaving- and if you have a house/pet sitter- tell them who it is and maybe show them a picture of that person. (That little kid next door was giving me the stranger-danger stare as I lugged my pillow and laptop into my sisters house)
Oh- and depending on what time of the year- please make sure you adjust your thermostat so your pipes don’t freeze! I know I’m writing this blog in the summer and this is mainly a problem in the winter- but it is super important.
Recently, smart locks are coming a major player in the door locking game. A smart door lock lets you unlock your door remotely from your smartphone and grant temporary access with expiring codes. If you have a neighbor checking in on the house or a pet sitter coming to take care of the dogs, you can keep track of exactly who is coming in and going out of the house and you can terminate access once you are home again. No more trying to keep track of who has your spare keys and because you have full control over who does and does not have access at any given time- it’s super cool.
Here is an article if you want to get some information on smart locks.
If you are going on a vacation- have a great time. Just make sure you are smart about it and post your pictures after you get back! Or I know someone who makes a great house sitter!
P.S. If you have a gas stove- make sure your house sitter knows how to use it. And also- make sure you have a fire extinguisher (which you should have a few of regardless). And make sure your house and pet sitters know where they are. Just saying….