How to keep your car and house safe while you are on holiday

A big part of going away to travel is making sure everything at home is going to be okay while you are gone.

A holiday buzz can dry up pretty quickly if you come home to damage or theft. So how can you ensure a smooth return to real life?

Preparation is the key.

Tidy up

One of my biggest stresses about travelling is making sure the house is clean before I leave as coming home to an untidy house swiftly removes any lingering holiday relaxation.

If you are a multi-person household, assign a room – other than their own bedroom – to each person and give a basic outline of the expected outcome. This could include everything picked up off the floor, vacuumed, cupboards tidied, curtains closed and all windows secured.

Unplug or turn off all unnecessary appliances. This will save on bills and cut down on the risk of an electric fire.

Empty the fridge of all food that will go out of date while you are away. To avoid waste, freeze food that can be frozen, including things you wouldn’t normally freeze such as milk.

Or you can spray it on your roses or tip it into your garden if that doesn’t appeal.

Stock up a few ready-to-eat frozen meals for when you return so you don’t have to cook the first night you are back.


Mow the lawn and put away every garden implement you can.

Thieves love houses that have stuff lying about outside because a) it shows you are careless with your belongings so probably haven’t secured your home or possessions correctly, b) have expensive things inside as you leave expensive things outside and c) they can use them to break into the house.

Organise a mail collection through the post office or a friend or neighbour who can collect them.

Check and double check all locks and alarms. Leave keys with a trusted friend or relative.


Didn’t think about this one, did you? But if you are going away for an extended period of time – generally 60 days or more – you need to let your home insurer know. If you don’t, you may not be covered or may have to pay an excess if something happens.

And read the fine print. Many policies have other requirements such as needing a level of basic home maintenance such as mowing the lawn, collecting mail or even having someone regularly checking on the house.

Car care

If you can’t secure your car in a locked garage with a stonking great padlock at the very least, consider a wheel lock. Apart from being very difficult to remove, it’s a visual deterrent for most thieves. 

If you are buying a set of GPS trackers for your suitcases, make sure you stash one in your car as well. 

It may not be relaxing sitting at the beach watching it drive around because you can tell it’s been stolen, but at least you can alert the authorities, and maybe your insurer. 

Do you have a routine before you travel? Is safety a big part of the regime? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Also read: Five simple travel mistakes

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. With insurance as long as you have someone staying overnight or a few nights before the 60 days are up then the 60 day cycle starts again. I have confirmed this with my insurer as I can be gone for longer than 60 days.
    Another big tip is to turn the water off. I do this even if staying overnight away from home. The last thing you want to come back to is a flooded house and a water bill in the thousands of dollars. It happens a lot more than people realise and I know of people that this has happened to.
    Spare keys to vehicles should be entrusted to family or a friend. You only need 1 set that will be with you when on holiday.

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