• Let trusted neighbours or friends know your travel plans so they can deal with any emergencies. Perhaps they can park their car in your driveway, take out your bins or mow your lawn so it looks like someone is still at home.
  • Ask someone to collect your mail on a regular basis or redirect through Australia Post and cancel your newspaper delivery.
  • Buy timers for your lights and program them to turn on and off in different rooms at times that match night and day patterns.
  • Make sure your electrical appliances are not left on stand-by. Unplugging things like your TV and computers will protect them from power surges, and save you power as well.
  • Turn down the telephone ringer volume and turn off any alarm clocks so that people outside your home can’t hear them for extended periods of time.
  • Turn off your garage door opener and ensure the door between your garage and your home is locked.
  • If you’ll be away for a long period of time, consider turning off your home’s water supply at the mains to prevent the risk of leaks.
  • Double check all doors and windows have been key locked.
  • Consider increasing your home security. If you already have an alarm system, don’t forget to switch it on before you leave and make sure the person looking after your property knows how to turn it off and back on. Making arrangements to have your alarm monitored will provide you with 24 hour protection while you are away.
  • Be conscious of your social media activity while you’re away. Avoid discussing your travel plans on Facebook and Twitter and while it’s nice to share pictures with friends, wait to post photos from your trip until you get home.
  • Water your houseplants/garden plants. If you have a house sitter or neighbour coming to check on them, leave them clear instructions.
  • Inspect your yard. Is the garden shed locked? Is everything put away? You don’t want to extend an invitation to thieves by leaving a ladder or tools in plain view.
  • Clear the fridge. Eat or toss leftovers and perishables. If you’re going on a long trip, you may want to clean and unplug the fridge to save energy.
  • Check the pantry, too. Rotting potatoes smell unbelievably gross. If onions, potatoes, garlic or other items have been sitting around too long, toss or compost them before you leave.
  • Take care of your pets. If your pets are staying in the house while you’re gone, make sure they have fresh food and water, as well as clean litterboxes or cages. Scan the house to make sure they can’t get into anything dangerous. Leave detailed instructions for your pet sitter.
  • Contact your alarm company. If you have a security system, let them know the dates you’ll be gone, as well as the name and number of a house sitter or neighbour.
  • Set a timer for your lights. Another burglar deterrent is a Fake TV, which is a little plug-in device that simulates the flicker of a television.
  • Notify your credit card companies of your travel plans. Otherwise, they may mistakenly flag your card for fraud if they see it being used in another country.
  • Wash, dry and fold laundry. Don’t forget that last peek into the washing machine.
  • Share your travel plans and a house key with a trusted neighbour or friend. You never know what might happen while you’re gone, so it’s wise to give at least one person access to your house.
  • Turn off your water heater, or set it to the minimum temperature. If you’re a morning-shower person, you can wait to do this until just before you leave.
  • Unplug appliances, such as your toaster and coffeemaker.
  • Close the blinds or curtains. This makes your house more secure and helps regulate the inside temperature.