Hi, adventurers! In case you haven’t been in a Costco or Hobby Lobby lately and seen the over the top Christmas displays…I am here to break it to you, we are quickly approaching the holiday season. I know, I know…it doesn’t feel real, but it is.

As travel is more accessible this year than last, it’s safe to say that you may very well be heading out on an adventure within the next few months to celebrate. Whether you are driving across state lines to visit family, or if you are planning a more extravagant Caribbean/transatlantic vacation you will be busy planning, packing and checking all the tasks off of your “pre-vacation” checklist (any other checklist lovers here? We know we aren’t alone)!

While you are likely very excited about your upcoming travel for the holidays (as you should be), you need to make sure you take the time to prepare your home for your departure as well. Criminals are well aware that the holidays are a prime time for people to travel and they use this to their advantage and look for homes to target during the upcoming months. Due to the increase of people being away from home – there is a lower risk of getting caught during this time.

Before you load up your car and pull out of the driveway, you are going to want to triple check the following things:

1. Carefully check all the doors and windows – they should all be securely locked to prevent entry from outside. If you have an alarm system, triple check that it is activated correctly. Put fresh batteries in your motion lights and outdoor equipment if you have it.

2. DO NOT leave extra keys under the mat or in other common locations that criminals may think to look and gain easy access into your home. In fact, if you will be gone it is a good idea all together to bring the “hide a key ” inside. This will eliminate any chance of the wrong person coming across the golden key to your house.

3. Staging your home to appear occupied is the first line of defense for protecting your home from unwanted holiday guests. You DO NOT want your home to look empty. Line up a friend or family member to stop by daily (if possible) and do a walk through to make sure nothing seems out of place. Criminals usually take time to “stake out” potential homes; seeing different cars come and go will create the illusion that your home is still occupied. Have them pick up your mail and newspapers daily, or put your mail on hold while you are away. Stacked up mail is a dead give away that you are out of town (it can also lead to identity theft). Also, leave a few lights on at all times while you are away, do not leave your home dark as this easily attracts criminals. IF you are traveling during cold/snowy months, hire someone to shovel your driveway in the case of a snowfall.

4. Speaking of colder months, you want to make sure you set your thermostat to a decent temperature while you are away. Sure, the heating bill will be an added expense but we promise you it will be NOTHING compared to frozen pipes and the damage they can cause if temperatures drop while you’re gone.

5. Make sure your friends or family members have a way to contact you in case of an emergency involving your home. We hope they won’t need to contact you, but having the measures in place will give you the peace of mind you so greatly deserve while enjoying the holidays away.

Traveling for the holidays can bring some of the most exciting experiences and memories. Don’t risk it being tainted by a burglary or other attack on your home. By following these few simple tips, you will create a smart and successful game plan to keep your home safe and waiting for you just as you left it when you come home relaxed and recharged.

Do you have any holiday travel plans? If so, we want to hear all about it! Let us know where you are heading off to! We love to talk about all things travel and to be quite honest…live vicariously through you.

Have fun, be kind and above all…stay safe this Holiday season!

-The Adventures by Jamie Team