When it comes to planning a holiday, it’s easy to adopt a narrow focus and only worry about all of the tickets, bookings, and packing that are naturally involved.
But beyond the scope of your actual travel plans, one important aspect not to forget about is securing your home.
When you’re away for prolonged periods of time, it’s natural to forget about things like an overflowing mailbox, which might attract the wrong kind of attention and compromise the safety of your home.
So, if you don’t want the headache of things going wrong when you’re not there to deal with them, here are some simple ways to keep your property safe and secure.
How to Keep Your Home Safe When You Go on Holiday
Don’t Make It Obvious You’re Not at Home
Making it obvious that you’re not home is the worst thing you can do – burglaries are on the rise these days, but most theft is opportunistic, which means they’ll only strike if they find an easy target.
So don’t make your home an easy target!
The first thing to do is to cancel regular deliveries so that they are not left piling up in your mailbox or at your front door. This is one of the biggest hints to thieves that you’re not home. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail for you while you are gone, or use a PO Box at your local post.
Installing motorised smart roller blinds is a great way to throw people off who may be scouting the area for opportunities to strike; these electric blinds can be controlled automatically even when you’re not at home, from anywhere in the world from your phone.
You can set a timer on your blinds to go up and down at certain times of the day, giving off the appearance that someone is indeed home. This approach is also a great idea for lights and garden sprinklers, and some products come with a solar sensor, meaning they can be powered without the need to use copious amounts of electricity while you’re gone.
On the topic of sprinklers, if you have a heavy presence of potted plants, asking a neighbor to drop in and water them will stop them from withering, indicating a vacant property.
And be sure to cut your grass before you go – overgrown grass is the biggest indicator the property is unoccupied (plus it can be a fire hazard).
Don’t Tell People You’re On Holiday
Outside of immediate family or close friends, or the neighbor who’s checking your home, don’t tell anyone you are going away and for how long.
You’ll have a ton of time to show off your tan and share your stories once you arrive back home, but sharing information that your house will be vacant for X amount of time is a huge risk, and makes your property quite vulnerable.
And this goes for bragging on social media, or posting your travel photos while you’re still on vacation. Especially if your social media platforms are public, it’s like sending out an open invitation for someone to come and rob your home.
Local thieves troll social media all the time looking for opportunity. And it’s usually not too difficult to figure out where you live for criminals who do this for a living. And people do do this for a living.
But it doesn’t have to be a stranger; perhaps one of your friends has a delinquent brother who’s seeing the posts from your expensive vacation, and decides he’ll go and help himself to your new flat screen.
So hold your vacation statuses until you get home, and, for the same reason, don’t post travel countdowns in the lead up to your trip. You’re just giving thieves the time for planning.
Conceal Your Valuables
Installing security cameras is a great way to deter potential burglary of your home, but should this not act as enough of a deterrent, it’s important to conceal your valuables, making them hard to find.
Avoid obvious hiding places, like money in a sock draw; ideally, if you have a fireproof, locakable safe you can keep bolted to the floor this is the best way to go.
If this is not possible, try to distribute and conceal your valuables around the house, ie if you have large over-sized and expensive floor rugs, roll them up and store them under the house or somewhere hard to get too and out of sight.
Check Your Home Insurance
With any luck, the above tips will help you avoid a breach of security at your home, but it is always important to make sure you have adequate home insurance – not just for break ins, but to cover anything that could happen to your home, including weather damage or natural disasters.
For example, if you live in a natural-disaster prone area, it would be wise to consider a high-risk homeowners insurance policy to create extra cushion from unexpected weather.
The most important thing to check is that your cover is valid whilst you’re away. Many insurance policies will contain easy to miss fine print, for example exclusions that could render your policy void if you are away from home for longer than a certain period of time.
If you have any questions, call your home insurer for advice.
For instance, what if you let someone in to check on your home or look after pets? Does your insurer require that you notify them of this? Will you be covered if a non-family member watches and stays in your home?
These are all important things to consider for making sure you’re protected if something does in fact happen to your home.