Traveling during the holidays can be rewarding, fun and heartwarming. Seeing family or even just getting away from work or the everyday hustle and bustle of life is a nice change for many families. Unfortunately, far too often when we return home from our holiday travels, we see that there was a break-in, a pipe has burst, winter weather has impacted our home, or something happened to our refrigerator, and so on. 

Preventing Break-Ins

Perhaps the worst thing to come home to after a nice, relaxing trip is discovering that there was a break-in. There are several ways you can prevent break-ins, like: 

  • Keep your yard bright. One of the best ways to prevent a break-in is to install lights on motion sensors. Be sure to light up areas that tend to be darker than normal. Consider investing in smart bulbs, which let you monitor whether they are turning off an on properly while you are out of town. 
  • Round up any spare keys. Do you have spare house keys hiding under your doormat, or inside your garage or shed? Be sure to round those up and put them in a safe place inside your home - or maybe even bring them with you on your trip. You might be surprised how many break-ins are due to thieves knowing where you keep your spare keys. 
  • Tell the post office to hold mail. If you read print newspapers or magazines, tell the post office to hold them until you get home. A stack of newspapers is a clear indicator that you are away. 
  • Talk to your neighbors. Another dead giveaway that you are out of town is a walkway that hasn’t been shoveled, while others around your property are clear. If you have neighbors you can trust, let them know you are going away and ask for help. This can also help, as trustworthy neighbors can keep an eye on things when you are on your trip.

Keeping Pipes From Freezing or Bursting

One of the worst things to happen to homeowners while on a trip are pipes that burst. Take some proper precautions to prevent this, as well as minimizing damage:

  • Turn water off. Do this at the main valve point. Should your pipes burst while you are away, this will prevent flooding of your basement and other areas. 
  • Keep thermostat on low. Turning the thermostat all the way down might seem like a money-saving precaution, but it could backfire. Keeping the house too cold could increase the chances of pipes bursting or freezing. 
  • Ensure that pipes are insulated properly.

Miscellaneous Holiday Trip Preparations

In addition to the above tips, be sure to unplug appliances that aren’t critical, which will help reduce damage if you experience a power surge. Check on the battery life of smoke alarms as well. Another great idea is to perform a deep clean of your home. Be sure to take out all of the garbage, put fresh sheets on beds, vacuum all carpets, sanitize bathrooms and the kitchen, and so on. It is also a good idea to get rid of food that could spoil in your refrigerator while you are out on your trip. 

Experiencing a break-in, pipes that burst, or coming home to a dirty house after a holiday trip is not fun for anyone. Follow these handy tips to ensure that you reduce the chances of these things happening to you as much as possible.