A person entering the code to an alarm in their house

Must-read tips to keep your home safe while you’re travelling

It’s easy to get caught up thinking about your impending vacation, especially if you are a snowbird planning to head south for the winter. You probably can't wait to make the trip to the airport and start your vacation. Amid the excitement, it is imperative that you take care of things at home first.

An important part of vacation planning is ensuring your home is safe while you are away on vacation. No one wants to come home after a relaxing vacation to see the signs of a break-in. Worse yet, no one wants to receive a call while on vacation because something has gone wrong at home; make sure you have emergency return travel insurance to cover the costs and lessen the blow.

Here are four ways to keep your home safe while you are travelling:

  1. Be careful with what you say online: What you say online could put your home at risk. Criminals frequently monitor social media sites looking for potential break-in targets. While it's tempting to update your Facebook status and tell all your friends you are leaving for vacation, it’s best to make sure your privacy settings are set so that no unwanted people can access that information. It’s also a good idea to wait to post vacation photos until after you return.
  2. Double-check everything before you leave: It can be easy to forget to lock the patio door or a window before you leave. This is why it’s important to double-check everything. Did you set the alarm? Lock the garage door? Shut all the windows? You can never be too cautious. Consider writing a home safety checklist of things to check and secure before you leave for your trip.
  3. Have someone keep an eye on your home: Getting a house-sitter is an ideal option, especially if you can find someone willing to stay at your house while you are away. If you can’t find a house-sitter, have someone you trust check up on your home every day or so while you are away. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get someone to also water your plants, mow the lawn or shovel the snow, but you might have to pay them to do these tasks!
  4. Have someone pick up your mail: Ask a neighbour or someone you trust to pick up your mail regularly while you are away. If you get a newspaper delivered, put a stop on it for the time you are away. Keeping an empty mailbox will help to create the appearance that someone is home. If you are going away for an extended period of time, consider having your mail forwarded.

After you plan to secure your home, you should also ensure that you are protected while you are away. If you are heading south for the winter, make sure you have a snowbird travel insurance policy, or if you are going on vacation, make sure you have proper travel insurance for your family.

It's important to understand what your travel insurance coverage includes. Does it include emergency return travel coverage? Do you have comprehensive travel insurance coverage? These are all things you should be clear on before you travel to ensure you can have a worry-free trip.