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  • How to Protect Your Home While Cruising

    When you're planning your cruise vacation and all of the fun you're going to have, you also need to plan on how you are going to protect your home while you are away.

    How do you ease your mind? Installing security protection such as the LifeShield wireless home security system is one way. Life Shield uses Broadband Internet or cellular technology as its primary monitoring system. Most alarm systems transmit a signal to a monitoring center to protect against burglars, fire and other dangers. Also, because it's wireless, there are no wires for burglars to unplug or pull out.

    Keep an Eye on Your House

    There are other practical ways to guard your home against intruders. You can hire a pet or house sitter (someone you trust, obviously). Send a request to the Postal Service to hold your mail so it doesn't build up in your mailbox— which can be a tip to burglars that you're away. While you're holding your mail, also stop newspaper delivery. That is also a giveaway no one's home.

    Turn it Off and Lock it Up

    A neighbor can watch your house and perform such duties as watering the lawn. As far as inside the house goes, setting timers to turn lights on and off at intervals gives the impression the home is occupied. Also, make sure your house is locked. That sounds obvious, but using the deadbolt and other locks you wouldn't normally use can add security to your home. Unplug electronics so you don't have to worry about having an appliance draining energy while you're away.

    Keep it Quiet

    Even though you might be excited about your upcoming cruise vacation, don't talk with too many people about it. Word could get out you're away for an extended stay and give the wrong people the wrong ideas.

    Don't tip off criminals on the web, Independent Traveler.com advises. That means not going into detail on Facebook and Twitter where you'll be and when. You can always tell your friends about your adventures and post embarrassing photos of yourself at the tiki bar after you return.

    Independent Traveler.com has home-safety tips as well. It might sound extreme, but if you're going away for more than a week, notify police of your plans. A police officer might go out of his or her way to patrol past your house occasionally, and the presence of law enforcement is a deterrent to criminals.


    Remove any spare keys before you leave. If a criminal suspects you're not at home, under the mat or in the flower pot are some of the first places the criminal will look to gain easy entry to your house.

    Check the Temp

    If you're leaving a house key with a neighbor, request the faucets be checked to ensure the pipes aren't frozen. To prevent frozen pipes, keep the heat on a low setting to make sure your house's inside temperature doesn't get below freezing.

    RISMedia suggests if you keep on the thermostat, don't set it below 55 degrees. And speaking of cold temperatures, arrange for snow removal if you're going on a cruise during the winter season. Some places might have laws requiring snow removal anyway, so you don't want to break the law while on vacation.

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    A lot of common sense tips that make me cringe to think that folks don't already do this.

    Not only do we stop our mail, but we stop the paper as well.

    It amazes me how free people are on FB to chat about when they leave, where they go and for how long.

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    When possible, I pay my daughter's closest and most trusted friend to housesit while we're away - mostly for the cat. She picks up the mail, reads our newspaper, watches TV, feeds and plays with the cat and even stays over. If my daughter is not cruising with us, all the better. The two of them watch things while we're away.

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    Just to reiterate the "Putting your mail on Hold" suggestion. This is VERY important. As a past 12 year employee of the Postal Service as a letter carrier, this is one of the most over looked mistakes. It is a requirement that on the third day of attempted delivery to a home, if the mail has not been collected by the homeowner over those three days, the letter carrier is "Supposed" to bring the mail back to the local Post Office and that mail be put on "Hold". Unfortunately, I worked with many lazy carriers that would force the mail into the mailbox as opposed to returning it to be put on hold. It is very easy for thieves to ride down the street and check someones mailbox (especially if your mailbox is curbside) to see if their is any mail accumulation. Putting your mail on a temporary hold is easy. You can get the form from your carrier or you can even go to the USPS.com website and fill one out there. I recommend filing for a hold on you mail no earlier than 2 weeks prior to your cruise date. You then have two options. You can either go to the local Post Office when you return to retrieve your accumulated mail or request the carrier bring it out to you on the first day you return home. Also, make sure your bills are up to date! There are few things worse than coming home after a cruise to find late bills waiting for you!!!

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    We always use the USPS hold mail service and we put a stop on the newspaper. This year I added 3 wireless IP cameras to our house so we were able to see the 8" snow we had while we were in the Caribbean.

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