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Want to keep track of what is going on at home even from miles away? Put your phone to work. After all, they don’t call them smart phones for nothing! Apps such as Presence, AirBean, Triggers, iCam and others can be used to monitor the goings on in your home by linking a webcam or even old smartphones to the app, turning your phone into a remote security system and giving you a ringside seat to the goings on in your humble abode.

A few other tips you might want to consider. Turn off all alarm clocks so passersby won’t hear them ringing for extended periods of time until they finally shut off on their own. Similarly, turn off the ringer to your phone and set the answering machine to answer after one or two rings so anyone outside won’t hear the phone ringing endlessly. If you have remote garage door openers, disconnect them so that would be thieves can’t open them using a universal opener and if you have an attached garage, by all means make sure that the connecting door to the house is locked. Don’t leave the important stuff home. If you have pricey jewelry, irreplaceable family heirlooms or essential documents, take the time to secure them in a safety deposit box and if you don’t have one, leave them with a trusted (and security conscious) friend or relative.

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If you are flying somewhere on vacation, make sure not to leave a GPS in your car when you park it at the airport, because not only do thieves know you aren’t home if your car is at the airport, you are giving them detailed instructions how to get to your house, given that your address is likely stored somewhere in your GPS. Avoid using your home address on any tags that may be attached to your luggage since that information can lead thieves straight to your house. Similarly, don’t use your home phone number on those tags because it doesn’t take much effort to use a reverse phone directory to look up an address. Instead list a work address or a post office box and put down your cell phone number, which is much harder to track than a land line.

I know that taking care of all these details adds extra work to the already complex task of planning a vacation, but I guarantee you that the peace of mind you will have bought yourself knowing that you have done your best to keep your home safeguarded will be more than worth the effort.

So get to work, start planning that one of a kind vacation that your whole family will remember forever and don’t forget to bring me home some souvenirs!

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Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and many private clients. She can be contacted at sandyeller1@gmail.com.

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