Many of us wait all year long for our vacation, and the last thing we want to think about is the safety of our home when we’re away. Stop those nagging worries before they start by taking the right measures to safeguard your home before you hit the road.
- Let someone else keep an eye on your house
One of the best ways to enjoy your vacation with complete peace of mind is to utilize a monitored security system. Monitored systems do more than set off an alarm to scare burglars away—they have someone watching the activity at your house 24/7. Whether your garden gets raided by local wildlife or someone tries to get in the front door, a monitored security system alerts the monitoring system right away so that they can call in the necessary backup to ensure that you return to your home the same way you left it.
- Disconnect the garage door
This is one vulnerability that many homeowners overlook, but it’s becoming a more common entry point for criminals. Make sure thieves can’t hack your garage door opener, and disconnect it while you’re away. Be sure you have a secure manual lock, and you won’t need to give your garage door another thought.
- Activate the neighborhood watch
Whether your neighborhood has a formal watch program or not, it’s smart to let neighbors and the local police know that you are going to be out of town. Ask them to keep an extra eye on your home and reward them with a little souvenir when you get back. Many police departments offer vacation security checks, so find out about the program in your neck of the woods and take advantage before you jet away.
- Make your spare key disappear
No matter how cleverly you think you’ve hidden your spare key, criminals are savvy to most homeowners’ tricks. The best way to ensure no one gains entry to your house via an extra key, is to get rid of them. If you usually keep a key hidden somewhere for your kids or a pet sitter, remove it. If you have someone stopping by to water plants or check on Fido while you’re away, give them their own key—and hand it to them personally. Even better, you can upgrade to smart locks that use a code or remote entry so that you never again have to worry about keys falling into the wrong hands.
- Use timers
Instead of leaving one light on that never changes the whole time you’re away (criminals are very familiar with this tactic to try and fool them), put lights on timers to mimic the normal movements in your home. You can also put a radio or TV on a timer, which gives the added bonus of sound, which helps deter would-be burglars. The addition of a motion-sensor light outside your home’s main entry points is another good idea—burglars hate being in the spotlight.
- Stop deliveries
This includes mail, newspaper, and any regular shipments you receive. Nothing tips off a burglar better than a growing pile of unclaimed mail. The post office will hold your mail and deliveries for you until you get back. Avoid random packages being dropped off, by letter friends and family know that you will be away, and ask them not to send anything during your absence. If they must send a package, have them send it to a nearby delivery site and ask if it can be held there until you return. Both FedEx and UPS can accommodate such a request.
- Don’t neglect the lawn
Another clue that no one is home can be a yard that is growing out of control. If you normally keep your lawn trimmed and neat, be sure to hire someone to keep up the maintenance when you’re away. If you leave town in the winter, the same goes for snow. Be sure to have someone on call to get out a shovel if a big winter storm hits.
- Stay off social media
It’s so tempting to post a bunch of pics celebrating your escape from the day-to-day grind, but this can be a signal to others that your home is just sitting there vacant and ready to be compromised. In our instant-gratification world it can feel frustrating to have to hold off on uploading your awesome vacation photos, but your patience can pay off when it comes to keeping your home secure. After you get home create a special album and share all the videos and pics your vacationing heart desires.
Getting out of Town is always fun, so make sure your next getaway isn’t ruined by a break-in. Use these tips to deter thieves and help keep your home safe and secure no matter where you are. If you have another vacation home safety tip that wasn’t on our list, let us know in the comments!