If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you're on holiday -- which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your long weekend or holiday can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating.To make matters worse, a house or apartment left empty while its owners are on holiday is a tempting target for criminals. We don't want to scare you -- or leave you fearing for your treasured belongings while relaxing on a beach or in the bushveld. But it's imperative that every person take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while holidaying. Basic preventative measures can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more while you're away.
In a world where it seems everyone is blabbing about their business on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it's important to stop and think: Who exactly is reading this stuff? The anonymity of the internet can encourage us to share personal information without fully realizing that there may be hundreds of complete strangers receiving our daily musings. Would you announce to a crowd that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks this Easter holiday? If not, then you should think twice about posting your detailed vacation plans on social media -- especially if that information is visible to internet users other than your friends and family (and it probably is).
Be careful what you say on your answering machine or voice mail too. Callers don't need to know that you're not home -- they just need to know that you can't come to the phone right now.
Before you leave for vacation, you may decide to close your curtains to prevent people from peering inside your home to see whether you're there. However, closed curtains also stop those who aim to help -- the police, your neighbors or friends -- from seeing inside your house. So what's your best bet? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you're home, since noticeable changes could hint that you're not around anymore -- especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out of plain sight if they're visible from the window.
Don't leave your lights on at home throughout your entire vacation in an effort to make it look like someone is in the house. Your electric bill will end up more costly than your mortgage, and house lights blazing throughout the night might look a bit suspicious.
Instead, purchase a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice lights flipping on and off, and will probably assume someone is doing the flipping.