How to Protect Your Home When You’re On Vacation

If you are heading out of town for a long weekend or for a week, it’s important to take a few steps and ensure your home’s safety. An obviously empty home is tempting for burglars, and you definitely don’t want your house to be an easy target. Here’s our thorough guide to keeping your home safe and looking “occupied”.


  • Put timers on several lights inside the house. Have the timers go on and off at varying times, so an obviously unoccupied, dark home doesn’t suddenly all light up at 4:30pm. Check sunrise and sunset times so you can set the timers accordingly.
  • Install timers for the lights by the front/back/side doors, and by the garage doors. Basically, light up any doors going into your home. If you don’t want lights on constantly, install motion-detector lights.
  • Unplug your automatic garage door opener so thieves can’t open it with a universal remote.
  • If you’ve got a security system, a video doorbell, or motion detector lights, check to make sure everything is working properly and fully charged.


  • Put your mail on hold—it’s so quick to do online at
  • Put any subscriptions on hold—food, fresh produce boxes, Amazon. You don’t want these boxes just sitting on your porch.
  • If your social media channels are open to the public, don’t post vacation photos until after you’ve returned home.


  • Ask a neighbor for a couple favors (bribe them with cookies!):
    • Bring out and put back your rubbish bins.
    • Occasionally check for delivered packages and door flyers, and bring them inside or to their home.
    • Occasionally come by the house and walk around to make sure doors are still shut and locked, and no windows have been broken.
  •  Double-check doors and windows, and make sure they are completely shut and locked. Put in dowels if you can.
    • If you want to go to Level 10 on this, make a list of every door and window in your home, and check each one off. Do this every time you go on vacation (because you may not have realized that Aunt Betty cracked open the basement guest room window the last time she visited).
  • Keep your curtains or shades closed to keep your indoors out of sight, especially at night.
  • That spare key in your porch planter or under the doormat? Take it inside while you’re gone. (And then seriously consider a safer spare key storage alternative for year-round protection.)
  • If you’re going to be gone awhile and know your grass will become overgrown, hire a local teen to mow your lawn every couple of weeks. Overgrown grass is a possible clue that you’re not home, especially if your lawn is usually pristine.

Extra Safe

  • Consider letting your local police station know that you’re out of town, but only if you’re gone for more than two weeks.
  • If you are leaving your car at the airport or train station, or any public parking location, remove your garage door opener, and any documents in the car with your name and address. If you are keeping a car parked in your driveway, just remove the garage door opener.


This checklist will help protect your home from crime no matter what time of year you take a trip! Check everything off the list. And when you are on the plane, train, or automobile en route to vacationland, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your home is as secure as can be.



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