When you’re going on vacation, most of the planning and execution is based on where you are going and not what you are leaving behind.

Don’t make that mistake.

Getting your house ready for the time you’re away is just as important as remembering to put ice in the cooler for a road trip.
Here are a few tips you need to remember:

Tell someone you’re going away. In fact, tell several people, especially your neighbours. We’ve heard too many stories about a truck with a moving company logo pulling up and thieves emptying the contents of a house while clueless neighbours just stood and watched – sometimes even pitching in and helping.

Before you leave, check every door and window to make sure that everything is locked and sealed, including your garage door, shed, and basement windows.
Don’t underestimate the brains of thieves. Make sure that you have no spare keys lying around that are “hidden” under a mat or under a rock. Burglars know where to look and a key gives them easy access. If you have a sliding window or door, put a piece of wood or a long metal rod on the track so that it can’t be pushed open.

Set timers on lights outside of your house. The darker it is outside your house, the more appealing it is going to be for burglars because they cannot be seen. Also, timers help give the impression that someone is home.

Inspect every hose connection in your home for any possible leaks, be they water or gas appliances. The last think you need is a leak while you are away. Even better, bring in a professional to inspect your home’s plumbing and heating system to ensure there are no leaks ready to spring forth while you are on vacation.

Make sure that your newspapers and mail are picked up or put on hold. If papers and mail are piled up outside your house, it is obvious that someone has not been home for a while.

Leave some blinds or drapes open. If your house is completely closed off, it is going to look like no one is there. If you make it appear more normal, it is less obvious that you are away.

Arrange to have a trusted family member, neighbour or friend to check on your home.

If you have any cash, jewelry, or any other valuables in your home, take them out and put them in a safety deposit box, or pack them up and leave them with a relative.

If you are a firearms owner, please ensure you secure and store all firearms in accordance with the Firearms Act and Regulations.
Set timers on electronics inside your house. Put one on a lamp or even a radio. If someone is watching your home and sees that there is no activity going on inside your house, it is a clear indicator that you are not home.

Make sure that your home security system is on. Don’t forget to tell your friend or family member the code so that they do not set off the alarm when they check on your home.