Whether we prefer a fortnight lazing on a beach, a buzzing city break or an outdoor experience full of adventure, going on vacation means a chance for us to relax, unwind, destress and recharge our batteries. Key to a successful holiday is to be able to leave all your worries behind – so having the peace of mind that your home is secure and safe while you’re away is crucial. There are some simple measures you can take to ensure that your home is safe and you can kick back and enjoy your vacation, whatever you are doing. Here are some tips.
Doors and windows
Let’s start with the obvious. Before you head off for the hills (or the beach, or the airport) take a few moments to check and double-check that your doors and windows are properly locked and secure. Even on the upper floors, windows can be vulnerable if targeted by burglars or even by animals. Open windows can also let in rain which can potentially cause damage inside your home. If your locks and windows are old it may be worth investing in some new ones – replacing windows doesn’t cost the earth and can be done quickly and efficiently. Smart locks are now available which enable you to control and check the status of your locks from your smartphone or tablet. And remember – don’t leave a key lying behind your plant pots or under your doormat – burglars know where to look. A spare key should be left with a trusted friend or neighbor.
A pile-up of mail in your box can be an indicator that no one is home and a sign to any would-be burglars that it is open season on your property. If you have a newspaper delivered then put it on hold while you’re away. In some areas it is possible to put mail on hold full stop or forward it elsewhere, so look into this. If you get a large amount of junk mail it may be worth getting that trusted friend with your spare key to pop round every couple of days to clear the backlog.
Whilst it is tempting to share photos and videos from our vacation on social media, it is also a bit risky. Advertising that you are away from home can inform would-be criminals that your home is vacant and an easy target. Resist the temptation to make your friends feel jealous, and save your videos and pics for when you get back.
Home security systems
There are countless options to choose from when it comes to home security systems, and they are becoming increasingly affordable. Set up cameras, and monitor them from your smartphone or tablet. Some have motion sensors that trigger alarms and send clips and photos to your device. It pays dividends to have cameras conspicuously visible, and to advertise the brand of your home security system outside your home – this deterrent can be extremely effective. If you are going to be somewhere very remote or without network access you can employ a security company to monitor your home – they will alert the authorities if anything happens to your property.
Both inside and out, using lights is a tried and -tested way to give the impression that someone is home. A dark house, or one with just a couple of lights on, indicates to would-be burglars that the occupants are away. Installing sensors and timers on indoor and outdoor lights act as a big deterrent to unwanted guests. There are also smart lights available, meaning that you can control them remotely from your smartphone or tablet, wherever you are.
Before you travel, be sure to lock away any valuables, preferably in a strong safe. This gives them an extra layer of protection against burglars, and keeping them out of sight will reduce how tempting your property is. Having your computer, TV or consoles out and visible through windows is a real invitation to criminals, so clear them away or close the curtains.
Leave a car
Leaving a vehicle parked in your driveway is another sure-fire deterrent to anyone considering breaking into your home. If you’re going on a road trip offer the drive as free parking to a friend or neighbor.
A vacation should be a carefree time for you and your family. So keep your home safe with a few simple methods, and leave your worries behind!