Do’s and Don’ts to Safeguarding Your Home While on Vacation

“We live on the most boring street in the whole United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen.”

– Buzz McCallister, Home Alone


Over the course of this summer, half of the American population are setting their emails to “out-of-office,” packing their bags, and embarking on well-thought-out vacations. While you’re jotting down a list to remember everything from sunscreen to passports, American Modern® has prepared a floor-to-ceiling list that will prep your home for security while you are sipping out of coconuts or slipping into water skis.


Because vacations are all about relaxing, American Modern’s Do’s and Don’ts for protecting your home and its collections while you’re away will provide you with the best tips so you can unwind and your adventure can begin as soon as you walk out of the front door. Even if you think you “live on the most boring street in the whole United States,” the following list has you covered just in case something dramatic happens. Watch this video and read on, to learn more…




1. Invest in a Home Security System.

Great home security starts with a company that will show a genuine concern in providing you with solutions that fit your needs. They will avoid upselling you on unnecessary equipment, and will not pressure you into spending more than you budgeted or hit you with hidden fees, policies, or other annoying surprises after you’ve signed a contract.


The top home security systems ranked in 2017 are Frontpoint, Link Interactive, and Protect America. All three companies offer free quotes specifically tailored to your home’s design and come with a 30-day risk free trial. If you are looking for a stress-free, hassle-free solution, these systems are pretty straightforward and come with convenient mobile apps so that alerts to any suspicious activity will be in the palm of your hand.


Nest is a similar mobile monitoring system that essentially lets you see your home while you’re away from the convenience of your smart phone. If you miss an alert, there is a 3-hour snapshot history you can access in case something fishy happened while you were fishing. The added benefit of using Nest products is that they have created other devices like the self-learning Thermostat that could save you tons in energy costs, as well as a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm called Nest Protect. These products work together holistically to help you monitor your home from afar, 24/7.


2. Hire a trusted house sitter.

While you’re likely spending a bunch of cash on your getaway, investing in a house sitter or having a neighbor get your mail and water your plants is worth the extra expense, if any. It’s another set of human eyes checking in on your home. The main goal here is to make your house look occupied and that it’s business as usual. Activity in the house is your best bet for unwanted burglars, as we all learned quite well from the film Home Alone, when Kevin McCallister cleverly set up the living room to look like a dance party.


3. Schedule work to be done.

With summer comes yard work. Take advantage of your time away by scheduling landscapers or lawn mowers to come to your house. Again the goal is to make the house look normal, as if you were home. You’ll also want to have your housecleaner come as usual, and ask for an update on how everything is going.


4. Unplug.

Did you know there are universal garage door openers? Thieves use these to gain access to your home through your garage easily, so while your unplugging on the beach, make sure to unplug the power to your garage door completely to avoid unwanted guests.


5. Power Up.

Before you leave, make sure security cameras and systems are all on and plugged in. Test them from your mobile device to be sure. It’s also smart to leave on your AC. The hum will deter burglars and the bonus is coming home to a cool house where your plants didn’t wilt and your chocolate didn’t melt.




1. Do not rush leaving the house.

We know you can’t wait to get your toes in the sand, but please don’t rush getting out the door of your home. Give yourself time to double-check the locks on all the doors, windows and gates.


2. Do not internet brag.

If your social media is public, do not give away any details of your trip such as the dates you will be away or where you are. Broadcasting your whereabouts and whenabouts online is so tempting because, we get it, you earned that vacation! But sharing your fun in the sun can wait until you return.


3. Do not leave on the lights.

This is a long debated strategy. Some people feel lights make it look like people are home, but skilled burglars know to look for light patterns, so if the same lights stay on over the course of several days, they will catch on. The best solution would be to set light timers if you’ve equipped your home with them. They are affordable and easy to install and usually can be controlled with a phone app as well. Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, and Walmart all have several solutions you can browse to best suit your style and needs.


4. Do not leave your hide-a-keys out.

Plain and simple, this one is a no-brainer, even if you think you found the best hiding spot.


5. Do not leave your valuables in plain sight.

Any valuable or sentimental items should never be in plain sight. Safes are pretty inexpensive and compact. Not only do they hide your belongings but some can also protect them from fire or flood. If you do not have a safe, you can always try to secure your treasures somewhere inconspicuous, like a cardboard box in the basement labeled “Christmas Ornaments.”


Let’s face it, there is always a possibility that something could go wrong while you’re away, but American Modern wants you to be prepared ahead of time. Knowing the ins and outs of your home insurance policy is important to understanding what added protection you have before leaving for a trip. We recommend always keeping an updated home inventory list, especially of big purchases, collectibles, and heirlooms.


Being prepared for the worst helps you stay poised should something go amiss. And following our no-nonsense Do’s and Don’ts before you go on holiday gives you the advantage in keeping your unoccupied home safeguarded. So instead of trying to rig your house with booby-traps and queue up mobster flicks like in the movies, follow our practical list. Plus, you’ll need all that time for packing, so get to it!


The information presented is for general informational purposes only. The products and company names described herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.  American Modern’s use of them does not imply affiliation with or sponsorship or endorsement by them.