Everyone deserves a break, like a relaxing weekend vacation or even just an overnight stay in a posh hotel. Every family deserves to travel together as well. There’s nothing like a vacation to strengthen relationships and bond with loved ones. For those who are traveling alone, a vacation is the best chance to reflect and recharge. What a fun and exciting idea, right?
However, when you’re too excited about something, there’s a tendency that you’ll forget other important stuff, such as ensuring that your home is safe and protected from any unwelcome visitors and other untoward incidents. So, before even thinking of going on a long vacation with the family, make sure first that your house is insured – get a home insurance policy.
It is also essential to know what you can do to secure and protect your home while you’re away, especially if you’ll be gone for a long time. The peace of mind you’ll get is your best reward if you spare enough time and effort to apply extra safety measures while your home is empty.
Safety measures to protect your home when you are on a vacation
Here are some simple and smart tips you can follow to protect your home in your absence;
Inform relatives or trustworthy neighbors about your trip
If you have a relative or neighbor that you know you can trust, tell that person where you and your family are going and how long you will be away. You can then ask him or her to check on your house regularly – not necessarily every day, but as often as possible.
Instead of leaving your door key under the mat or wherever else you usually hide it, give it to your relative or neighbor. So, aside from checking your home, he or she can also bring inside all deliveries, flyers, and whatever else is left on your doorstep.
Ensure that all your doors and windows are locked
Locking up is always the first to-do item on your list, but it’s important to do this efficiently. You have to be sure that every entry and exit point should be locked, including mail slots, pet doors, and back entrances. Your windows must be locked, as well, as they are almost always burglars’ main entry points.
Inform your mailman and other delivery services
If the mailman and newspaper boy continue to deliver to your home even while you’re away, there’s a more than 50% possibility that your mailbox will overflow with letters, and your front porch will have piles of newspaper. This scenario is an invitation to thieves because it’s a sign that no one is home.
So, do not forget to request a temporary stop in mail and newspaper deliveries. Include all weekly and monthly subscriptions, just to be sure.
Hire a gardener
Another sign that nobody is home is an unattended garden, front yard, or backyard. Overgrown grass and bushes, fallen leaves, and snow-covered grounds are tell-tale signs of an empty house. If you have a gardener, ask him or her to regularly trim the grass and tend to the garden or yard. A once-a-week visit would be a good schedule.
Install CCTVs and a security system
If you do not have one yet, now is the best time to have a CCTV installed in your home. Look for one that is equipped with remote live video viewing capabilities so you can monitor your home using your mobile phone. You’ll get the updates in real-time.
If you already have a CCTV or home monitoring system, do not forget to inform your provider that you are going on a vacation. This will allow them to be extra mindful so they can easily detect if there is something unusual about your system.
Disable the electric garage door
Some thieves know how to break into homes through garage doors. If your garage door is electric, they can use a universal remote control to open it. The ideal thing to do is to disable or disconnect the garage door opener and use a manual lock.
The garage door serves as an alternate entry to your home. If burglars get inside, it will be easy for them to find a way to enter the main house.
Do not stop your cleaning schedule
Ask your cleaner to keep going to your home and cleaning it even when you and your family are away. First off, however, you should make sure that they can be trusted. You also need to find a way to monitor them even when you are away, maybe through the relative or neighbor you asked to help mind your home.
Make it appear like there are people at home
The best way to do this is to use the timers on your television and lights. Schedule them to turn on at various times throughout the day. For example, set the timer on your TV set so it would turn on in the morning during breakfast and then play again just before dinner. Set some lights to turn on automatically as the sun sets in.
With some “activity” inside your home, nobody would know that it’s actually empty. As such, it’s not a magnet for criminals.
Arrange for someone to bring out the garbage for you.
If the trash can outside your home is overflowing with garbage, this won’t just be an unpleasant sight; it is also a sign that your house is empty. Ask your relative or neighbor, the one you requested to house sit, to take out your trash on the day it is scheduled for collection.
Consider installing sensor lights and smart locks
If you want extra assurance, consider getting a smart lock for your doors. You won’t need to turn over a physical key to your relative or friend and house cleaner. Instead, you will hand out codes that they can use to enter your home. Additionally, you can monitor the activity inside your home, specifically who is inside and how long he or she stayed there.
Once you and your family get back, you can cancel the codes so you won’t have to worry about unauthorized entries.
Consider using a video doorbell
Video doorbells are not really new, but not a lot of homeowners use them yet. The process is simple: when someone rings the bell, you’ll receive an alert on your mobile phone, and you can see and speak with your visitor. Everything is in real-time. Best of all, you can check who’s at the front door regardless of your location. So, you can be in the Bahamas, enjoying the beach and some cocktails, and your visitor won’t know (unless you tell him – but you wouldn’t want to do that!).
Put your valuables in a safe
If you do not have a safe, use a box or any secure and hidden space to store your valuables. Never leave them in regular cabinets or drawers.
Also, do not leave cash at home. Bring all your money with you or keep them in the bank if it is more than what you need for your vacation.
Ask your neighbor or a relative to park their car in your driveway
When burglars scope out their potential victims, one of the first areas they check is the driveway. If there is no car parked, it means nobody’s home. So, leave a car in your driveway or, if you’re using the car for the trip, ask a relative or neighbor to park theirs instead.
Your curtains and blinds should be positioned according to their usual
While your windows are locked and secured, your curtains and blinds can be positioned normally, as if there are people inside. So, they should show a bit of the home’s interiors. For example, if you always have your blinds a little open, leave them as is before you go – just be sure not to expose expensive appliances or furniture. Correctly positioning your curtains and blinds will give anybody outside a hint that the house isn’t empty.
Stay away from social media
Do not broadcast your plans or reveal your location on social media. You can always share your travel videos and photos on Facebook or Instagram once you are back home. Following the tips above will help secure your home from criminals when you are away for a long and well-deserved vacation.