You’ve booked your reservations, secured a flight, packed all of your toiletries, created a daily itinerary, and even scheduled a ride to the airport ahead of time. You might think you’ve checked off everything on your to-do list. But the truth is, you aren’t completely prepared for your vacation unless you request a USPS vacation hold. If you want to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation, here’s what you need to do.
Why Do You Need To Hold Your Mail?
When you travel, you’re leaving your home unattended. Unless you have a friend or family member who’s house sitting the entire time you’re gone, you need to make it a safe, comfortable place for you to come back to. In addition, you don’t want to give your neighbors any reason to think you aren’t there. One of the biggest signs is a mailbox that’s filled with letters and small packages. It doesn’t matter whether your neighbor is your closest friend or listed in a sex offender registry. A full mailbox makes both your mail and your house ideal targets for thieves.
Make it easier for yourself, and your mailman, by contacting USPS to place a vacation hold on your mail. It’s completely free and takes only a few minutes to set up. Most importantly, a vacation mail hold will give you superior peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about losing any letters or packages, because your post office will hold onto all of them for you. Then, you just pick a date to have everything delivered when you get back. Or, if you’d prefer, you can choose to pick up your mail at the post office. With a USPS vacation hold, your neighbors won’t be tempted to take a peek at your mail or trespass on your property.
To ensure that all of your mail is held while you’re gone, set up your vacation hold with USPS at least 5-10 days before you leave. However, even if you forget and put in your request at the last minute, the post office should still be able to hold your mail. You can make your request in person at the post office, by phone, or on USPS’s website. It also helps if you have the tracking numbers of any packages on their way to you.
Other Ways To Protect Your Home While You’re Gone
A hold on your mail isn’t the only thing you should set up before you leave. If you’re expecting any packages from FedEx, UPS, and DHL, you can manage those deliveries ahead of time, too. You should also consider these other ways to keep your home safe when no one’s there.
Become Familiar With Your Neighborhood
If you don’t know much about your neighborhood or the people who live next to you, you might want to do some research before you leave your home unattended. A reverse lookup on your residential address will give you all the information you need about your property and neighborhood. You can even use this tool to learn more about your neighbors’ homes, too.
Put Your Lights On A Timer
Whether it’s with plug-in timers or smart home tech and apps, you should set timers for your lights. You’ll be able to program them to automatically turn on at night, then off again in the morning. What’s the advantage? Onlookers will think that you’re home, even if you’re thousands of miles away.
Buy A Security Camera
Security cameras are actually a lot cheaper than you might think. Depending on the models you buy, you can even check the video feeds right from your smartphone, no matter where you are. Most of the time, criminals will give up on trying to break in once they see a security camera.
Board Your Pet
Unless you’ll only be away for a day or two, or have someone watching the house for you, consider boarding your pet while you’re on vacation. For most pets, especially cats and dogs, just leaving behind food and water isn’t enough. Even the most solitary domesticated animals need some human interaction after a few days. Your pet also might destroy some of your possessions while you’re gone if they suffer from separation anxiety.
Have A Trusted Friend Or Family Member Check In
Are you planning to be gone for over a week? If so, see if you can have someone you trust check in on your place every so often. It’s a good idea to have them make sure everything is in place and, if needed, pick up any stray flyers, papers, or packages. Even if you set up a vacation hold with USPS, it won’t prevent a delivery driver from sticking a restaurant menu in your door.
Take A Picture Of Your Stove
This one may seem silly, but you’ll appreciate it when you wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if your house caught fire while you’re gone. If you ever second guess that you turned your stove off, just look at the picture you took of it before you left. It’s solid proof that you definitely didn’t leave it on, so you can stop worrying.
One of the best things about going on vacation is escaping all the stressors of daily life. Make sure that they don’t follow you to your destination by placing your mail on hold. It’s one of the best ways to come back to a home that’s just as you left it.
Did we miss any safety tips? Comment and let us know!
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