It’s your biggest investment, so it’s no great surprise that many people feel anxious about leaving their home vulnerable to burglars when they go away on holiday. But with a few tried and tested techniques (as well as a few sneakier ones!) you can pack your bags with confidence, knowing that your home is as well-secured as possible. Here are some of our favorites!
Ask someone to keep a watchful eye
Hiring a house sitter is always first prize, and if you have a contact you trust to do so, then this is the biggest deterrent there is for potential criminals. (Plus, it’s always nice to be able to support enterprising individuals looking for extra income too.) If this isn’t an option for whatever reason, then at least ask a neighbor or two to keep a watchful eye on your place from time to time, and to collect any post that might be piling up which could alert criminals that there’s no-one home.
Check your alarm system
If you have an alarm system and contract with a security company, then make sure they know you’re going to be away, and have them test your system to make sure everything is in order. Discovering that the system needed maintenance is not something you want to discover the hard way upon your return. If possible, give them a spare set of keys so they can access the property should anything suspicious occur. Also make sure that they have a membership sign displayed prominently somewhere on the property.
Put your lights on timers
If there are criminal staking out your home, then lights that come on inside from time to time during the night are one of the best ways to make it seems someone’s home – even when they aren’t. Motion-sensing lights on the outside are a great deterrent too, and might also act as a warning system for your neighbors that something untoward is going on.
Check all the easy access points
Play pretend for a moment, and take the time to walk around the property imagining that you’re a burglar seeking entry. Where are the weak spots? If you’ve ever locked yourself out of the house and had to force entry yourself, then you’re probably already aware of at least one potential issue! Make sure locks on doors and windows are secure, and if you haven’t changed them for some time, then installing new locks from a reputable brand such as CISA Locks is a great investment. It goes without saying that having a spare key in an obvious location is not a great idea.
Unplug your garage door
We tend to focus on the doors and windows of our homes when doing a security check, but forget that the garage door is one of the easiest access points of all. If yours runs on a motor, then make sure it’s unplugged while you’re away, and that there isn’t easy access from the garage to the house if thieves do manage to get in this way.
Make sure your insurance is in order
No matter how many precautions you take, sometimes the worst happens – that’s just life. You might be able to live without that flat screen TV for a while, but you don’t want to be caught without the funds to replace essentials (like laptops or PCs that you use for work or school) – especially when you’ve just returned from an expensive holiday! Hey, maybe you don’t want to live without the flat screen either – whatever it is, updating your household contents insurance before you go on holiday is a good practice anyway.
Secure your ‘irreplaceables’
Treasured jewelry items and important documents that can’t be replaced should be treated with extra care. Either lock these away in your own safe, or have a trusted friend place them in theirs for safekeeping while you’re away.
Don’t advertise to the world that you’re going away
If you can, make sure to pack your car inside the garage so you can’t be seen doing so, and don’t shout from the rooftops on social media with a public announcement of your holiday plans.
Keep things ‘normal’
If you usually have the blinds open during the day, then shuttered windows in every room of the house is a dead giveaway that no-one’s home. If there’s frequently music coming from inside, then consider leaving a low-energy device like a radio on so there’s the appearance of activity inside. And once you’ve done all you can to secure your home, then it’s time to hit the road and enjoy that holiday you’ve been looking forward to for so long. Happy travels!