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I was wondering how I can prepare my rental apartment for a two-week long trip.

It's a rental apartment therefore I don't want to invest in any expensive equipment for surveillance.

I rather would like to know good useful practices as to how to keep my home safe when I am away, and it general what's worth doing when you are planning to be away.

For example, simple thing: defrosting freezer, turning off electricity... such kind of things.

According to security, maybe it's worth taking all your valuable data, equipment, documents to parents or friends, just to avoid loss of valuable things. In my case, it could be a solution, just because I don't have a lot of such things.

Recently I noticed that IP-cameras can be a very useful and cheap solution.

What's your opinion? What do you usually do when you have to leave you home for a long period of time?

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1 Answer

If you live in a house and are going away at a time when temperatures get below freezing, you should (many insurance companies insist) have someone stop by the house every few days to make sure the heat is on and the pipes have not frozen. This is a kind of damage that gets much worse if it happens when no-one is around to mitigate it. You would also want to keep mail from piling up outside the house.

In an apartment, there will probably be no visible signs you are away. If your mail is just put on a table or the like, you should ask a neighbour to collect it for you (and bring them a small present back as thanks) or make arrangements with the post office. If you get a newspaper delivered (I know, how quaint) get the delivery stopped.

Statistically, your vitally important possessions will be no safer from theft or fire at someone's attended home as at your unattended rental place. Maybe your place is more likely to be broken into, but theirs is more likely to burn down while they cook or something. Both cases are supremely unlikely. It's not a bad time to do some backups though - take a DVD or external hard drive of pictures, documents, scans of important papers etc and leave that with family or friends.

Don't leave anything in the fridge, like milk, that will have spoiled by the time you return. The freezer should be fine, as should things like jam and pickles that people routinely leave in the fridge for months. Check your counters for apples or other food that will get moldy over a period of weeks.

Finally, tidy up so that if anyone has to go into your place (perhaps the super to make repairs, or family that you've called and asked to get something you forgot) it's not embarrassing. Make sure everything's clean, and private things are put away out of sight. Close all the curtains to keep it cool (or warm) and to make it less obvious you aren't inside. Double check all the windows are closed and latched. Leave all the doors between rooms open to let air circulate. Turn off the lights to save electricity; you might put one living room and one bedroom light on a timer to simulate being home, though this is less important in a building with many units.

Make a list of what you now don't have and might want on your frst day - milk, cream, bread - and take it with you. If you remember to stop into the store and get these on the way home from the trip, you'll arrive happier.

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People put pickles in the freezer? –  todofixthis Aug 26 '12 at 16:06
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Also arrange for someone to come over every 4-7 days to water your plants. They can also check on the place, bring post inside etc at the same time :) I find chocolate normally works well for a present for the friend who does this for me when I'm away! –  Gagravarr Aug 26 '12 at 17:47
    
I am not sure about the curtains advice. Having them closed during daytime is weirder than having them open during night. Maybe instead you can just turn one light on somewhere in the house? –  Bernhard Jan 10 '13 at 21:56
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