Winter Holiday Vacation Checklist

Before going on vacation during the winter holidays, we share the below tips to protect your home and vehicles from theft and other mishaps.

  • Make Your Home Appear Occupied
  • Power Down Non-Critical Devices
  • Submit Hold Mail Request
  • Secure All Doors and Windows
  • Leave Little Gas In Your Vehicles
  • Set thermostat at or above 55° F (12° C)
  • Request vacation home check
  • Do not share vacation plans online

Make Your Home Appear Occupied

There are a number of ways to make your home appear that it is occupied when it is not. Making your home appear occupied is a great way to deter theives from breaking in and stealing your possessions.

  • Leave a TV or radio playing
  • Have one or more lights operating on timers
  • Have a home sitter go into your house

Power Down Non-Critical Devices

When you leave a room, do you leave the light on? Most of us do not. However, applying that same logic to when we leave our home to go on vacation, a number of us leave things on that should not be. Below is a list of items to check that they are powered off before going on vacation:

  • Televisions
  • Lamps, except those that are connected to timers
  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • Computers
  • Coffee maker
  • Air fryer
  • Toasters

By unplugging and powering off these items, your electric bill will be lower and are less likely to be impacted if a power surge or other event were to occur while you were away.

Submit Hold Mail Request

Submitting a hold mail request with the Postal Service ensures that the mail you receive will not pile up in your mailbox. Mail piled up in the box is a clear indicator that a home is not occupied. The hold mail request can be scheduled before your trip and mail can be held for up to 30 days.

Secure All Doors and Windows

If there's a way that a thief can find a way into your home, that thief will find it. Be sure to lock all windows and doors on your home. Each exterior door on your home should have a deadbolt or security door to protect it from forced entry.

Also have a security system and cameras installed at each of the entrances and hiding spots around your home. Cameras with remote access will allow you to keep an eye on your home while you are away.

Make sure that your vehicles are also locked, even if they are parked in a garage. Garages are a common entry point as they can be easier to defeat than a typical entry door. Having an unlocked car in the garage is the same as leaving it unlocked outside the home or in a parking lot.

Leave Little Gas In Your Vehicles

When you go on vacation, you may be leaving a vehicle at home. Leave a little amount of gas in the vehicle (1/4 tank or less but not empty) before going on vacation. This is a common tactic that car dealerships use for the vehicles on their lot. The reason that little gas is left in the vehicles on their lots is because the chance of them getting stolen is lower. In addition, most stolen vehicles are abandoned when they get low on gas because the thieves typically will not refuel a vehicle they have stolen. Thus when you buy a car from a dealership, the salesman or someone else typically fills the car up before giving you the keys to drive off the lot.

We do not advise running your vehicle's gas tank completely dry, because it can damage the fuel system, including the fuel pump (which uses the moving gas to keep the pump cool) and fuel injectors (which spray fuel into the engine).

Set thermostat at or above 55° F

To prevent frozen pipes during the cooler months, is a greater risk during any other time of the year. We suggest that you lower your thermostat to save energy, but do not set it lower than 55 degress Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius). This will help keep the pipes from freezing or bursting, and from you coming home to a ruined house after a vacation.

I dont want to come back home to a cold house.

This is understandable. We recommend that you install a Wifi thermostat that allows you to adjust the thermostat when you are on the way back home, or use a home automation that will automatically adjust the temperature when you are within a 5 to 10 miles radius of the home.

Request Vacation Home Check

Check with your local police or sheriffs department about whether they offer a vacation home check. In some jurisdictions, the police department will send someone out to your home periodically to make sure that nobody has broken in or other issues have occurred at your home while you are away.

An alternative to this, is to let a neighbor or friend that you trust know that you will not be at home and to keep an eye out for anything unusual.

Do not share vacation plans online

Your home is at greater risk of being broken into if you share your vacation plans online. The same is true for when you check in to locations online in real time. When the thieves know where you are, they also know where you are not.

We recommend that you do not post photos of your vacation until after you return home from your travels.

We can help!

Need help with any of the above or just want an additional opinion, then give us a call or text to set up an appointment.