Easy tips to keep your home safe while on vacation
As summer gracefully rolls in, it’s time for a vacation. Whether your family’s idea of vacation heaven is a sunny day at the beach, a cross country road trip adventure or some gorgeous moments on a hiking trail, we could all use some rest and relaxation right about now. Just be careful not to overlook some important safety aspects as you prepare to leave all worries and your home behind. Taking a few precautions before you hit the road could save you a world of trouble.
Depending on the duration of your trip, you might want to inform a relative about your absence and ask them to keep an eye on your property while you’re gone. If you’re so lucky as to have a trusted friend who could temporarily move into your home and water the plants, feed your dog or pick up the newspaper, you’re all set. On the other hand, you could always hire a professional house- or pet-sitter to take care of your home, although this is a much pricier option.
If you leave your apartment vacated, consider stopping mail and newspaper delivery. A stash of days-old newspapers piling up in front of your doorway is like an open invitation for burglars to come in and do their job. Your local post-office can hold mail from three to 30 days if you submit an online stop mail request. Keep in mind that each address can have one Hold Mail scheduled at a time. All mail will be held, rather than an individual’s mail.
Before you leave, conduct a thorough inspection of your home. Unplugging electrical appliances, shutting off the gas supply and making sure all the water taps are tightly turned off will give you peace of mind while you’re away, knowing that you don’t have to worry about unfortunate accidents. This is also a good time to think about your renters insurance. Is it up to date? Do you need a new policy? Protect yourself from the unforeseen with a solid rental insurance plan.
While traveling, postpone social networking until after you’re back from your vacation. Letting your friends know that you’ll be off to some far-off, tropical island for spring break is not bragging, yet it might compromise your home’s security. You never know who might be watching. Better blog about it when you come back and you’ll get to relive all the thrills!
Show increased caution while on the road to fun and adventure. Identity theft is a common misfortune experienced by negligent travelers. “Identity theft can happen at any time but can be more likely while traveling because you’re carrying a lot of sensitive information in a distracting and unfamiliar environment”, said Julie Curran, Regional President, BMO Harris Bank.
Identity theft happens when someone obtains your personal information – such as your Social Security number – and uses it without your permission to open accounts or initiate transactions in your name. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit. The most common identity theft occurs when your wallet or purse is stolen, as the thief has easy access to check cards, IDs and other personal information. Curran recommends the following steps when traveling to protect you and your family from identity theft.
– Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your card with you. If asked for your number, ask why the information is needed.
– Never leave your personal documents unsecured in a hotel room. This includes checks and legal papers or computers and smartphones that may have personal information. Placing your important possessions in a security box might be a wise call.
– Carry the minimum. You do not need to travel with every piece of personal information you own. Only carry necessary credit cards and documents.
– Beware of your surroundings. When accessing an ATM or using your PIN, beware of your surroundings. Cover your hand when typing in codes.
– Don’t check-in personal information. At airports, never place personal documentation in luggage that you intend to check-in. Once it is checked-in, it is out of your control and sight.
– Be wise about WiFi. Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, airport, hotel, or other public place, see if your information will be protected.