With the holidays just around the corner, it’s no surprise that many folks will be travelling – especially those living away from home for the first time. I still remember the relief that first year going home for Thanksgiving – and the equal relief upon opening the door to my apartment afterwards.
I also remember being worried that I’d come back and the place would have been burglarized. It was New York City, after all!
But beyond locking my deadbolt, here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years:
1) Be careful what you share on social media channels. While it’s entirely tempting to post on Facebook that “I’m going home for a week – can’t wait!” consider who will read it. If you have a blog, twitter feed or Foursquare account – your followers/readers tend to be less personal than friends on Facebook, even.
2) Hopefully, by now you have a neighbor who you trust. If so – tell her/him your travel plans and ask that he/she let you know if they notice anything suspicious. In the absence of a trusted neighbor, consider telling your landlord.
3) If you’ll be going home for more than a 4-5 days, stop your mail. You can do so online up to 30 days in advance!
4) If your apartment faces the street, buy a light timer so that outside eyes think someone is at home.
5) If you have a cab driving you to the airport, be discreet. Consider emphasizing that your “roommate” won’t be going home for the holidays.
6) If you haven’t already gotten renters insurance, consider investing. My insurance is about $175 for the ENTIRE YEAR. Not a bad value – just in case. Read more about its benefits in our previous post.
7) Enjoy this clip from Home Alone – which demonstrates one of the very best ways to keep intrudes at bay! (Note: Do NOT try these at home!)
Got any more tips? Be sure to share below!
Great tips! Thanks Elizabeth.
If you’re going anywhere for more than a couple of days, turn off your water heater. It sounds silly, but it will save you plenty on your bills since there’s no reason to have hot water constantly available when you’re not home for a week. Yes, when you get back you can’t take an instant hot shower, but the money you save will make up for it.
If you’re leaving your car, be very careful where it is parked–consider springing that extra money for covered parking, or a nicer lot. Or leave it in a trusted spot (i.e. the house of someone who’s not leaving) and leave someone you trust the spare key in case something comes up.
Last, but perhaps most importantly, make sure everything is set before you leave. Put valuable things away–not hidden so no one, including you, can find them–and make sure that there are no potential fire hazards with your holiday decorations. Leaving your Christmas lights plugged in to a questionable outlet before leaving for 10 days to go home to Chicago is a disaster waiting to happen.