Travel & Activities

Protect the Nest When You Leave: Tips for Snowbirds

Splitting your time between two homes can be stressful, especially when you are leaving each of them for months at a time. Certain precautions must be taken to protect your property from the elements, crime and other emergencies. Don’t let your second home be a source of stress; follow these tips to prepare your nest.


No matter where you live, your home has landscaping that needs to be kept up while you are away. Hiring gardeners, landscapers and other professionals can be costly. Instead, replace your grass with artificial turf for a simple solution to an ongoing problem. Gone are the days when you worried about mowing the lawn, reviving dying grass and keeping up with the neighbors. It looks and feels like the real thing without all of the expensive maintenance costs. Turf is safe, beautiful and convenient. Try to minimize the amount of other plants in your yard that need tending to, so you do not have to hire people to take care of them either.


If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, contact your utility companies to see if you can put a hold on their services. Some cable, phone, Internet and water companies allow you to only have service for part of a year if you explain your circumstances. Prepare for frozen pipes as well. There are steps you can take to prevent damage while you are away. While it may seem like a hassle to set up, it can be a huge savings over the course of a year.

Don’t forget your appliances. You should keep your electricity on for security purposes, but make sure to unplug everything that will not be in use. Empty your refrigerator and prepare all large power users for an extended period of non-use. There is no point in running up a power bill from your refrigerator that isn’t preserving any food.


Nobody likes to think about their home being the target of a crime, but it is necessary to do what you can to protect yourself. Start by installing a simple alarm system that you can control from your smartphone. If you still feel nervous with a basic package, there are more advanced security systems that have video cameras and microphones that you may want to invest in.

Some other simple tips include locking every door and window. You also may want to place door stops behind vulnerable entrances. Put a couple of lights on a timer, so it seems like you are home. And don’t leave hidden keys outside. It may seem precautionary to leave one nearby, but if you are gone for months, that gives criminals plenty of time to search it out.

Emergency Plan

From a break-in to a natural disaster, you need to have an emergency plan ready for your home. This largely depends on where your property is located, but you should prepare for the possibilities of storms, floods and other natural disasters that are common to your area. At the very least, you should leave a key and instructions with a close friend or neighbor. Provide them with your contact information, where you will be, insurance information, the alarm code and anything else you think could come in handy.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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