• 66°

Don’t come back to a heartache

Has this happened to you or someone you know? You merrily roll along to a week-long vacation, only to return and find your home has been burglarized. Or burned down. Or a tree fell into it.

Depending on insurance, some items that were stolen or destroyed could be replaced, and the structure repaired or rebuilt. But that can’t really soothe the pain of finding your home sweet home in such disarray.

Along with making your reservations and itinerary, include these tips in your to-do list before leaving home.

• Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for your property and let you know if anything is suspect; be ready to reciprocate when it’s that person’s turn.

• Make advance arrangements with the post office for mail to be held, and newspaper delivery to be put on hold. If that’s not available, ask the aforementioned neighbor.

• If you have a lawn, arrange for the property to be maintained. Consider a professional service for while you’re away.

• Minutes before you leave, use your smartphone to take photos of the interior and exterior of your residence showing that the stove/oven are off, refrigerator/freezer doors closed, doors are closed and locked, etc. This will give you peace of mind later when you suddenly wonder if all those things were done. They could also serve as proof to insurance companies that you weren’t negligent.

Ordinarytraveler.com offers these suggestions:

• Consider a home monitoring system, some of which can let you see your residence from far away.

• Don’t advertise via social media that you are going away.

• Secure your valuables in a small safe. If that’s not possible, consider an out-of-the-way or even hiding-in-plain sight area of your home, such as a closet or pantry.

• Take the spare key you keep hidden outside and let the neighbor or friend hold onto it. That especially helps if you need the person to bring in mail, papers, water plants, etc.

• Get an inexpensive outdoor sensor light. Also recommended are timers for indoor lights.

• Disconnect your automatic garage door opener.

• Use stickers that show would-be thieves that a security system is in place.

Following these tips could go a long way in giving you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your time away.