Holidays are when many people return home to visit loved ones – at least that’s how the famous song goes. But, whether you’re going on a far-off vacation or returning to your childhood home, you don’t want to neglect the safety and security of your current living space.
Traveling in the winter is something many people look forward to throughout the year. You may experience new adventures or see family and friends you’ve been missing, and you’ll probably enjoy a nice break from work. However, when you leave your apartment or rental for a trip, you want to protect your space and your belongings.
While home security is often discussed, many of these articles and advice blogs forget about the many Americans who rent. Many people in cities, suburbs, and even more rural areas rent apartments, condos, or townhomes. While you might not own the building, you still want to protect your stuff from emergencies, theft, and more.
So, to give you peace of mind and help you prepare for your end-of-year travel, here are some practical tips to keep your apartment safe while away.
Tip 1: Talk To Your Property Management/Landlord
It doesn’t hurt to talk to your property management company or landlord if you’re leaving for more than a few days. You can tell them you’ll be out of town, so if they notice any strange activity around your unit, they’ll be on alert.
If your leasing office is on-site at your apartment building, they may also be able to check on your place if you suspect a problem. You’ll need to permit them to enter.
Tip 2: Unplug What You Can
Safety is a big concern when leaving for a trip, but you also want to think about saving money. When you’re away, you don’t want to spend more money on utilities than needed. By unplugging things, you can lower your electric bills.
You can also lower the risk of a fire or other accident. Although these incidents are rare, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.
Some of the things to unplug include:
- Air fryers
- Game consoles
- Indoor string lights
- Non-essential appliances
Be sure you don’t unplug certain things, however. You want to keep your fridge, freezer, and other essentials running.
Tip 3: Put Lights On Timers
While you generally want to turn off the lights when you’re leaving, leaving a couple on for safety purposes is a great idea. If your apartment or other rental unit looks empty, it could become a target for a burglary.
Consider leaving on a small kitchen or living room light, preferably one close to the window.
Also, if you have any outdoor lighting, such as Christmas lights, consider putting these on a timer. You can also invest in motion-detection bulbs for porch lighting.
Tip 4: Arrange For A House Or Pet Sitter
When leaving for more than a few days, you may want someone to check on your place and get your mail. The longer you’ll be gone, the more critical it is to request help from someone you know and trust.
Even more importantly, arrange any pet-sitting details well in advance. Even small pets like reptiles and rodents need attention; you don’t want to leave most animals longer than a day or two without fresh food and water.
Tip 5: Get Security Cameras
Many homeowners have security cameras on their doors or around their property, but these security tools are also perfect for renters. Security cameras are more accessible and affordable than ever. You’ll find many brands to choose from. Most will stream the live video straight to your phone.
So, no matter where you are, you can view what’s happening in or around your place, as long as you have an internet connection or cell service.
You can place a doorbell camera on your front door and also get a camera for inside the apartment. These indoor options are also excellent if you have pets you want to keep an eye on while away.
With many affordable options, you can get better protection for your home, pets, and belongings and spend less than $50.
Tip 6: Take Out The Trash
Before walking out the door for your trip, take out the trash. If you don’t, you may come home to a stinky apartment. Any food waste or other stinky trash can quickly stink up your unit, so it’s best to take out the trash altogether and avoid any issues.
Tip 7: Check Your Fire Alarms
While you won’t be around to hear your fire alarms, you still want to ensure they are working. Check the batteries before leaving. If you have neighbors, they will likely hear the noise and can call emergency services.
Tip 8: Set Your Thermostat
Another way to save money on utilities is to adjust the thermostat. You can keep the temperatures much cooler than you have them when at home. However, you don’t want to set it too low.
If you live somewhere that gets freezing temperatures, you’ll want to keep your rental around 65 degrees to avoid frozen pipes.
Tip 9: Don’t Post Your Plans On Social Media
While many of us share private details of our lives online, you don’t want to notify everyone when you’ll be gone. Err on the side of caution and only share these details with people you know well or who need to know your plans.
You can wait and post vacation pictures or memories of your trip after you’re safely back in your space.
Tip 10: Enjoy Your Holidays!
By preparing, you can have increased peace of mind. If you do a bit of extra preparation, you’ll be able to relax more fully and enjoy whatever your holiday plans are, so follow these simple tips to keep your apartment safe while you’re away.