Prevent theft

A vacant home being an easy target for burglars, you should make sure your home looks lived in while you are away.  There are several effective security measures you can take to protect your home from a break-in. 

  • Ask someone to keep an eye on your home.  Give them your keys so they can come in: they can open and close curtains and turn household or exterior lights on and off – anything that might suggest someone is home. Show them your appreciation by leaving some (non-perishable) treats in a handy spot!
  • Ask the same person to pick up your mail and newspapers on a regular basis.  For intruders, an overflowing mailbox is a good indicator that no one is home and the way is clear.
  • Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway every two or three days and to put out (and bring in) trash cans and recycling bins on appropriate days.
  • Arrange to have the grass mowed and flowers watered.  Leave a few lawn chairs on the terrace and ask someone to alternate opening and closing them. 
  • An exterior light with movement detector can be very practical in both the front and back yard.   It will alert the neighbours if someone wanders too close.
  • Make sure that your ladder is properly stored and there are no tools lying about. These objects can be used by a burglar trying to break into your house.
  • Never leave a window open and install a security bar for the patio door. 
  • If your home is protected by an alarm system, don’t forget to arm it before you leave and give the code to disarm the system to the person who will be keeping an eye on your house.   If the alarm is connected to a remote monitoring centre, notify them of your absence.

Avoid fire and water damage

Turn off the water heater valve and shut off the electrical power. Unless someone will be coming by to water your garden, you should also turn off your main water source.  Unplug all electrical devices and check all household appliances. Check the smoke detector’s battery.

Make sure you can be reached

If there will be several people looking after your home during your absence, be sure to provide all their phone numbers to the designated person in charge.  It is also important that you give that person your itinerary so that you can be reached in case of an emergency (if you have the good sense to turn off your cell phone while on vacation). 

So you’re ready?  Go around the house one last time, lock all doors and windows, and smile:  you’re on vacation!