Before Travel:
Secure The Inside Of Your Home

It's important before travel to make sure the inside of your home is safe and secure, just as it is to be sure the outside appears as normal as when you're at home.

Along with several safety tips on how to protect your home and yard outside, we also suggest you walk through your home on the inside with a keen eye to look for ways to protect your belongings while you’re away. 

Walk from room to room checking to be sure all doors and windows are secure, and nothing of value can be seen by anyone who might approach your home from the outside.  

It's an important part of your travel prep to secure valuables in a safe location and remove anything of value from view, while suggesting family routines are going on as usual. 

By taking time before travel to prepare your home and possessions, it will allow you to travel with - and come home to - complete peace of mind.

Ten Ways To Make Your Home Safe Before Travel

As part of your trip preparation, there are some simple steps you can take before travel to secure the inside of your home.

The following ideas will get you started, but look for possibilities to secure your home and belongings that are unique to the layout and design of your home:

Inside the Home of the International Court of the Hague

  1. Slide small tables, chairs, or easily movable furniture in front of outside doors. This will impede entrance into your home, as even minor resistance can be enough to dissuade an intruder.
  2. Leave lights on randomly in several rooms. Invest in timers, and use them to set lamps to light at different times, on different days, for varying amounts of time.
  3. Turn on radios throughout your house. These can also be on timers. Set the volume so anyone approaching outside will 'hear voices' on the inside.
  4. Be sure valuables are secure and out of view. Before travel put important documents, jewelry, and valuables in a bank safety box or  personal home safe.
  5. If you have a security system, use it. Instruct anyone entering your home to feed pets, water plants, etc. how to set and disarm the system, and reset it when they leave. Set up a temporary contact with your security provider, who can reach you in case of emergency.
  6. Give a trusted friend or family member a key [or code] to enter your house.  Have them check inside and out at least once a week.  
  7. Turn off, disconnect, or unplug small appliances, computers, TVs, and electronics before traveling. This will save energy, as well as prevent damage, in case of a power surge or electrical outage.
  8. Never change an incoming voice mail message, stating you'll be out of town. Also, be cautious leaving travel plan information in 'out-of-office' email responders.  Make sure kids don't announce travel plans on social media.
  9. Prepay household bills. Set them up for automatic online payment, or if you pay by check, have a friend mail pre-addressed payments.
  10. Use an automatic thermostat to set household temperatures. Account for pets, sitters, or anyone in your home, while you're away. If your house will be empty, set temperatures higher in summer and lower in winter to reduce energy consumption.

Make the safety of your home an integral part of your travel preparation. The more you do before your trip, the fewer things to worry about while traveling.

How Windows And Doors Are Part Of Your Travel Prep

Intruders well seek entrance into an unoccupied home through any opening that they think can provide access.  

All rooms are equally important, but focus especially on securing lower-level windows and all exterior doors.

If you have sliding glass doors, an old trick that still works well is to put dowels or broom handles in the lower tracks. This prevents the doors from opening.

For French doors, have adequate deadbolts to secure each door to the other, and plunger locks at top or bottom.

For glass doors with no draperies or blinds, hang a large sheet or fabric length to cover the door and block direct view into your home.

This is critical for doors on the rear and sides of your home not visible from the street.

Check all windows in each room to make sure they're tightly closed, and locks are fully engaged.

Pull drapes and close blinds, so there's no clear view into any room. But leave a small gap, so a light left on inside will shine through, giving the impression someone's home.

Protect Your Home Before You Travel

An easy way to adjust slatted blinds is to open them fully, then take your hand as high up as you can reach and manually slide it down the blind to 'close' most of the slats.

Do this several times to fully 'close' the lower portion of each blind, leaving the top slats above your reach open.

This will block direct view into your house by anyone passing by, but lights left on inside will show through the 'open' top of the blind, indicating someone's inside.

Slatted shutters can be treated the same, closing the bottom portion, but keeping the very highest part of the shutter 'open' for inside light to shine through.

For sheer draperies, draw them fully closed. Leave an indirect light on outside the room [such as a closet, bath, or hall light]. This muted lighting will prevent any-one from detecting a lack of movement in the room.

For draperies or curtains, pull them almost closed, leaving an opening of a few inches between panels.

Use a clip or pin to pull the panels together just above your head [above eye-sight], so light escapes through the upper part of the draperies. Direct sight into the room - even with a light or lamp on - will be blocked.

By doing these things as part of your before travel preparation a day or two before travel, you can focus on last minute things for your trip on the day of departure.

For more ideas on how to protect your home, valuables, possessions, pets, and plants before you travel overseas, check out the following articles:

Protect what matters most before traveling: your kids and pets

Have Houseplants?  Tips to make sure they survive your trip.

Return to Before You Travel

Travel Tip

Leaving your home and possessions safe when traveling overseas takes time and advance preparation. Make a separate list of things to do before travel that will make your home look lived in - as though your normal routine is taking place.  

When traveling as a family, assign everyone duties to make sure their space is travel ready, including preparations for pets and plants. Make everyone accountable, but have an adult oversee the results to be sure your home is secure.

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