Summertime tends to be the busiest time for vacations. No school for the kids. Everyone gets antsy for a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you're gone for the season or just a week, these vacation prep tips ensure less worry about your San Antonio home while you're away.
Vacation Prep Tips for Your San Antonio Home
Hold Your Mail/Subscriptions
First, put a hold on your mail and subscription services (including automated deliveries and newspapers). Visit your local post office to schedule a time to stop delivery and when to start back up again. And contact any automated delivery services you currently subscribe to. Let them know you'd like to either cancel that month's delivery or postpone it for a later date. If that can't be done, ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye out for that package. You don't want a pile of mail or newspapers to signal to thieves that nobody's home.
If you have a security system already in place, make sure to arm it when you leave. Inform the security company about how long you'll be gone if that makes you feel better. Many systems allow you to access your security or doorbell cameras via your smartphone from anywhere in the world.
Change Thermostat Settings
Another one of my helpful vacation prep tips is to change the thermostat settings. Instead of turning the heat or air off completely, set it at 85F for summer and 65F or lower for winter. That helps regulate the temperature inside and keeps mold and mildew at bay without increasing your energy costs. Better yet, install a smart thermostat (Nest and Ecobee top PC Mag's list of the best). They allow you to remotely control them from anywhere in the world via your smartphone.
Nothing stays "stay away" to a thief more than lights. Another one of my vacation prep tips for your San Antonio home is to install motion sensor lights outside. They come on whenever someone approaches your property. Also, consider a smart lighting system inside your house. This allows you to turn on and off lights anywhere in the house from an app on your phone. Otherwise, leave a light on in a couple of rooms in the house so that it doesn't look like your property is completely empty.
Clean Out the Fridge
Nobody wants to come home to rotting food in the fridge. So, next up on my list of vacation prep tips is to clean out the fridge. Use up any non-perishable items that might expire while you're away. If you plan on being gone for an extended period of time, you may want to completely empty the fridge and freezer, clean it, and then unplug it. That cuts down on energy waste and expense. If you do unplug it, leave the door slightly ajar so as to let it air out.
As long as your sprinkler system doesn't run on an automatic system or you have steam radiators, shut off the water at the main valve. Then, open up all of the faucets inside and outside of your San Antonio home so that all remaining water in the pipes drains out completely. This keeps any water leaks from happening while you're gone.
Disconnect the Garage Door
This is something you might not have thought about as part of vacation prep. Disconnect your garage door. Some thieves gain access to a home by hacking into the garage door opener. It's easier than you think. Lock it manually instead.
Instill a Social Media Blackout
We like to share what's going on in our lives with friends and family on social media. However, thieves troll accounts to assist them in their robbery plans. A picture of you scuba diving in the Caribbean may seem harmless. But a thief sees an opportunity to rob the home you left vacant behind you. Feel free to take all the pictures you want while you're away. But wait until you get back home before you post them.
Talk to Your Neighbors
Finally, the best vacation prep tip I could possibly give you is to talk to your neighbors. Let them know how long you'll be gone. If you've got someone coming to the house to take care of your pets or plants, let them know that as well. They provide an additional level of security because they know who does and does not belong in the neighborhood. Give them your phone number in case you need to be contacted while you're gone.
LUX Move Up* by Christine Aldrete Banks, CRS, SRS, RSPS