Secure Your Home Before a Vacation
Whenever you return from a vacation, you probably return home with a little trepidation. Is your home OK? Did someone break in while you were away? These are the thoughts that may run through your mind. Whenever you leave your home for an extended period, you increase the risk of burglary. That’s why it is so important that you take steps to secure your home before a vacation. You can make your home less of a target when you go away. You can make it less obvious that the property is not occupied. Here’s a checklist of 20 things you can do to do to secure your home before a vacation.
1. Stop the Mail
A mailbox overflowing with mail and a heap of packages left by the front door is a sure giveaway that no one is home. It’s easy to stop your mail being delivered while you are away. Simply go to the USPS website and fill in a simple online form. Then you can arrange to have all your mail delivered when you get home. Remember to stop other scheduled deliveries too. Some things, like free newspapers, are difficult to stop. So, ask a neighbor to collect these for you. You don’t want anything at all left on your doorstep that suggests that you are away.
2. Don’t Give the game Away on Social Media
As tempting as it might be, don’t share your holiday pics on social media. You never know who might see them. And, don’t share your vacation plans before you go. English soccer player John Terry made this mistake. He shared pictures of inside his home, and then he shared pictures while he was on vacation. John Terry’s home was robbed of thousands of dollars’ worth of valuables while he was away. Be wary of this, even if your social media accounts are private. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Lock Absolutely Everything
To secure your home before you go on vacation, you need make sure that absolutely everything is locked up tight. That includes every door and every window. And, use the deadbolts where you have them. Before you set off on your vacation, check every room in the home. All it takes is one small window left open and you have given burglar an easy way in. If you have doors or windows that don’t lock securely, consider fitting additional locks, or install door / window alarms.
4. Close the Blinds Halfway
Closed blinds during the day is going to let people know that the house is unoccupied. The problem is that open blinds at night can also show that no one is at home. The best solution is to close the blinds halfway, especially in first floor rooms. On the upper levels of the home, you could leave some open and some closed.
5. Be Careful Who You Tell about Your Vacation
While you may be excited about your coming vacation, be careful about who you tell about it. Your steps to secure your home before a vacation may be in vain if you tell the wrong people when you are going to be away. If you were chatting with a stranger in a bar and they ask; “are you going on vacation this year?” Think before you reply; “yep, we’re going to Europe for three weeks in August”!
6. Install Security Cameras
A few security cameras installed outside and inside your home could be enough to scare off an intruder. Even if you have an alarm system, that will not help you identify an intruder. Security cameras, however, will. That’s exactly what a burglar doesn’t want to happen. Security cameras will also allow you to check your home from time to time while you are away.
7. Don’t Forget to Secure the Garage Door
You probably have valuable items in your garage as well as inside your home. So, don’t forget to lock the garage door. Standard garage doors are quite easy to open, even when they are locked. Some automatic electric garage doors can be opened too. To be safe, the best thing to do is install a deadbolt lock on your garage door.
8. Ask Someone to Keep an Eye on Your Home
One of the best ways to secure your home before a vacation is to ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check your house every so often. If someone can come around every few days and check that everything is OK, it will make the place look more lived in. They can do things like move anything that has been left by the door and check that everything is still secure.
9. Secure Your Home Before You Go on Vacation with a Home Security System
The best deterrent of all is a home security system. If you haven’t already got one, install a security system before you go on vacation. Professionally installed security systems can be expensive. However, you can get reasonably priced wireless security systems that you can install yourself. The cost of installing one of these would be far less than the cost if your home were to be burgled. For more information on DIY burglar alarm systems, see our Best Wireless Home Security System Reviews.
10. Tell Your Local Police Department That You Will Be Away
Depending on where you live, your local police department may send an extra patrol to your area if they know that your home will be unoccupied. This might not be possible if you live in a large city, but police departments in rural areas may be willing to do this.
11. Install Timers on Electronics
You can make a home look lived in by installing timers on some of your electronics. These can be used with lamps, TVs and radios to give the impression that someone is home. You don’t need to install a complete smart home system to do this. You can buy very cheap timers that can be used with any appliance. The best types of timers to use to secure your home before a vacation are the electronic timers with a random setting.
12. Ask Someone to Keep the Lawn Mowed
If you are going on a long vacation, ask someone to mow the lawns and keep the drive swept clean. Long grass is a sign that no one is at home. Leaves, fallen branches, or snow on the drive will also give the game away. The easiest way to do this is to ask a neighbor’s kid if they want to earn a few bucks while you are on vacation.
13. Don’t Leave a Key Under the Mat!
If you usually leave a spare key hidden somewhere, remove it before you leave home. Thieves know where people leave spare keys. If you are not at home, they will have plenty of time to check all the usual hiding places. Things like fake rocks and spare key lock boxes are OK for when you are only out of the home for a short while. But you shouldn’t rely on them when you go away on vacation.
14. Store Valuables in a Home Safe
If you leave cash, jewelry and other valuables in your home, be sure to lock them away in a home safe. If someone does break into your home, they won’t want to hang around. A good quality home safe will provide enough of a deterrent to protect your very valuable items. To find out more about home safes, visit our Best Home Safes Review and Guide.
15. Don’t Let Your GPS Lead Burglars to Your Home
Having your home address in your GPS is very useful. You press one button and your GPS takes you straight home. But that convenient feature of your GPS will also lead a burglar straight to your front door too. If leave your car in an airport car park and it is broken into, it’s an open invitation to a thief to burgle your home as well as take your car. Program your GPS to take you to an intersection near your home. Not right to your door. This is a good tip to remember for when you are not going on vacation as well.
16. Don’t Leave any Ladders or Tools in The Yard
Why give a burglar the tools he needs to break into your home? Don’t leave ladders in the yard and lock up all your tools in the garage. If you don’t follow this tip to secure your home before a vacation, you are making it too easy for the thief.
17. Advertise Your Security
Having a security system will deter many burglars. So, let them know that you have a security system by posting stickers on your doors and windows, or having a sign in your yard. If you don’t have a security system installed, you can still buy the stickers and signs separately. The burglar won’t know.
18. Keep the regular Home Maintenance Appointments
If you have a regular visit from a pool guy or a gardener, don’t cancel them when you go on vacation. Firstly, having them come to you your home will make the home look more lived in. Secondly, telling them not to come means that more people know that the house is going to be unoccupied.
19. Install an Outdoor Sensor Light
Install an outdoor light with a motion sensor outside your home. Then, if anyone approaches your house at night, the light will turn on automatically. It might be enough to make a burglar think twice. He won’t be sure if it is an automatic light, or if someone in the house turned on the light.
20. Hide Valuable Items
When you are taking steps to secure your home before a vacation, a simple thing you can do is hide valuable items from view. If you have a large TV, for example, close the blinds in that room. If you have smaller items, like games consoles, hide those away in a closet. Don’t advertise that there is something worth stealing in the property. Then thieves may give your home a miss.
We hope that you found these tips on how to secure your home before a vacation useful. If you did, please share it with your friends on social media. If you are going away on vacation soon, don’t forget to check out our Travel Safety Tips and Top 10 Best Personal Security Products for Traveling.
Thanks for reading and have a great vacation!