Being away from your home, whether for work or vacation, means you will not be there to ensure the safety and security of the home, and it could be a serious cause for you to worry. In this post, I want to try and free you from some of the concerns by looking at how to keep your house safe while on vacation.
Your house is not just a structure where you lay your head at night; it’s your home. It’s where you, your family, and probably your pets, grow that love that makes your life worth living. It’s also where you keep your valuables with the hope that they are safe from intruders.
For these reasons, it is only normal that you want to feel that is it protected at all times, even when you’re not going away for a long time.
While there are traditional means of ensuring the safety of the house from intruders such as securely locking the doors and windows, leaving the yard lights on, ensuring that the garage door is locked, turning on the smoke alarms, etc., other advanced and technological ways to keep your home safe when you go on a vacation exists.
Most burglaries occur during the day when homeowners are at work or school and when burglars perceive that you have been away for a while. A home security system could be the third eye your house needs when you are away on vacation.
No matter how security-conscious they are, your neighbor cannot completely guarantee the safety of your home in your absence.
Security gadgets like security cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, alarms, etc., can protect your home from the risks of burglary and theft.
How to leave your house when going on holiday: 20 tips to keep burglars away
There are a few simple precautions you must take when going on vacation. Home security entails both internal and external security. Ensuring that you carry out basic security measures will go a long way in protecting the family home from burglaries.
Some super basic measures include
- Securing all doors and windows
- Disconnecting TVs and other electronics to protect them from power surges
- Stopping newspaper deliveries
- Removing spare keys from their normal hiding spots
- Alerting a friend, neighbor, or family member about your departure
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Lock doors and windows
Ensure that you safely secure all the entrances, including the garage, before leaving. Do a routine check twice just to be double sure. You can make use of smart locks to secure the doors.
One of the difficulties is always that panic where you won’t remember if you actually locked up or not, even if you triple checked. A weird tip I learned recently is singing an odd song while you do it. So now whenever I’m turning the key in the lock, I’m singing Mary Had A Little Lamb in my head.
Weird, but it works!
Another option is smart locks, electronic locking devices that open the doors only with an authorized virtual key. You can use your phone to lock and unlock your doors even when you are away. Any unapproved attempt on the door will immediately set off an alarm notifying you of an intrusion.
2. Invest in a video doorbell
There is no doubt that technology is a more advanced and sure way to secure your home while on vacation. Video doorbells are one of such gadgets that are easy to install and use from anywhere you are in the world through your phone or tablet.
This gadget notifies you when someone rings your doorbell or approaches your home. It has video coverage that can show you exactly who it is, and you can even speak with the person without having to be at home.
Many of these gadgets have an alarm system that you can trigger when you notice the presence of unwelcome guests on your porch or premises.
3. Use a sign
It may seem a bit old school, but putting a simple “This house is secured with CCTV” sign on your doors and first-floor windows still works and will deter most opportunistic thieves.
You may or may not even have CCTV installed, but the fear of getting caught will dissuade them from attempting to break into your home
4. Ensure your valuables are hidden from sight
When going on a trip for a long time, secure your valuables and other important items in a safe or deposit box so that they cannot be visible from the windows of your home. You do not want to attract burglars by having valuables lying around in the open.
Also, if burglars do enter your house, securing your documents, jewelry, money, etc., in a fire-proof and water-proof safe, will at least make it hard for them to get anything out of their breaking.
Try to use a heavy safe that thieves cannot carry away easily or secure in place.
5. Set your alarms properly
If you use an automatic home security system, you can set the intruder alarms with your phone and also contact your alarm company, informing them of your absence.
After ensuring your doorways and windows are properly locked, set the alarms to notify you on your phone when any attempt is made at your residence. It will also ring out loud and notify local sentinels and neighbors of the presence of a burglar in your home.
Installing more alarm gadgets like smoke alarms, a smart lock, fire detectors, door and window alarms, etc., is a much welcome strategy too
6. Stop newspaper and mail deliveries
Having a door filled with newspaper delivery or mail can be a tip to looters that no one is home. Stop your newspaper deliveries from coming for the duration of time that you will be away, and see if a friend or neighbor can pick your mail up for you.
7. Secure your garage
Often, people forget to lock their garage door when they leave their houses, and burglars know this is an easy entry point. Leaving the garage unlocked could be very risky, especially if there is a door that leads to those houses in the garage.
Also, some valuables and items in the garage can be made away with if you do not lock them. If it’s possible, disconnect your garage door opener entirely to make it hard for the experienced and equipped thieves to break-in.
8. Be mindful on social media
It is almost impossible for some people to go to a new place without posting pictures on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Insta. Whether you do this to update your friends or just for fun, you need to limit it, or better still, post these vacation pics when you are back home.
Posting vacation pictures while on vacation could be the tip filchers need to know that you’re away. All they’ll need is your phone number or a few other bits of data to get the location of your home or similar key information, which they can easily get on – you guessed it! – Social media sites like Facebook.
9. Secure your mailbox
If you can’t get a friend to pick up your mail, protect your mail and letters with security mailboxes made of strong steel and require a key to open them. Leaving your mailbox unprotected could give burglars access to the content of the mail, and they can gain more information about you or your whereabouts.
You can also install fake cameras on the mailbox if you don’t want to buy the real ones to deter them from coming close to it. Also, add a security sign on the mailbox for more safety.
10. Set a sensor light and light timers
You can give burglars the impression that you are home even when you are not using light timers. This device turns the lights on and off and random intervals making it seem like there is someone at home.
The good news is that you don’t need Joe Pesci dressed as a cop coming around to check on them, these days with smart lighting systems, is it super easy to set timers and control your lights from anywhere in the world. Even if you just have a couple set up rather than your whole home, it will give the impression there is someone in the house.
11. Install motion sensors
Motion sensors are a very integral part of your home’s indoor and outdoor security system. They detect movements of people in and around your place when you are not at home, and it sets off sensor lights and sends information to you on your phone about possible intruders in your home.
Some motion sensors come with cameras to take footage of movements and transmit this information to you and the inbox of the security departments around you.
12. Leave a car in the driveway
As funny and weird as this may sound, this action is capable of deterring burglars from your home. It makes them feel you are home, and so your car will keep your home safe while you’re away.
13. Continue regular home maintenance
If you used to have the pool guy come to treat the pool or the gardeners tend the flowers and lawn, maintain their services while you are away.
You can give them access to the lawn and pool to do their jobs and go. Have someone take out your trash cans and do the snow removal if it’s the winter season.
If a burglar is looking for houses to break into, they will be looking for those houses that seem deserted, and maintaining these schedules will dissuade them from your premises.
14. Leave a key with a family member, friend, or neighbor you trust
Incidents cannot be predicted, and there may be a need for someone to get into your house for some reason or the other.
Endeavor to leave a key with a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor to help you in these situations. They can also help you water your plants and other normal routines from time to time and make sure your house is in order.
15. Leave your Curtains open/close
Closing the curtains could tip off a burglar that there is no one at home, especially when it remains closed for a long time. It could also prevent police on patrol or your neighborhood security from seeing what’s going on inside your house.
However, leaving it completely open has its own drawbacks too. Not only will it leave room for random people to look into your home, deleting your privacy in the process, but it could also reveal valuables that are inside and attract burglars for their evil purposes and deals.
The best way is to leave the curtains how you would if you were home. Noticeable changes in the setting of your home could indicate your absence and give burglars the sign that it’s business time.
16. Use smart thermostats
Smart adjustable thermostats will help keep your house evenly temperate at all times. Keep your pipes insulated and at normal heat levels to prevent freezing, especially if you live in cold cities.
This is another reason why you should leave a key with a friend or neighbor to always come around and take a look at your faucets.
17. Home security system
Home automation gives you remote control of smoke alarms, doors, TV, CCTV cameras, and even your coffee maker.
You can control all these from the comfort of your vacation location with your phone. These smart automation home security systems randomly turn these appliances and devices on and off at scheduled intervals, giving thieves the impression that someone is at home.
18. Set up a couple of security cameras
Your home security system is not complete without surveillance cameras mounted at strategic parts of your premises and within the family home. Security cameras are available in wired and wireless designs and can be used in different ways to guarantee the security of your dwelling.
These cameras can be remotely controlled with phones, computers, and other gadgets to monitor movements at entry points in your homes, your garage, environments, and even out-of-sight areas in your house.
You’d be amazed at how cheap you can buy WiFi cameras these days, they start from around $25 and, depending on features, go up to over $100.
19. Door and Window sensors
These sensors are very important and can provide ample security for your home. The two parts of this gadget are installed adjacent to one another on the doors and windows so that when it is closed, both parts of the sensor jam together, creating a security unit that is transmitted to the control panel.
This indicates on the control panel and on your phone that the outlets are securely locked. Any breach of the doors or windows will trigger off a loud alarm system and an instant notification to your alarm company.
How often should you have your house checked when you are away?
Endeavor to have a friend or a neighbor check out the residence at least once every two days. This is very important to ensure that things are in order in and around your house. They can help you attend to mail or newspapers on your doorsteps, check your faucet, water plants, take out your trash cans, and carry out other routine exercises in your house for you while you’re away.
What’s the best way to keep burglars away?
To keep burglars away, make sure you lock all the doors and windows, lock the garage, use timers to control interior and exterior lights, install cameras, change your locks and security passcodes, have a family member, friend, or neighbor monitor your house at intervals, armed with tour home security system, and be in touch with the police and local law enforcement in your neighborhood. Putting these measures in place will keep burglars away from your premises.
How much does a home security system cost?
The cost of a security system depends on the type of security you seek. Putting into consideration the worth of the valuables in your house and your peace of mind when you are away on on a trip, you can know what sort of security system you seek. The cost for a basic security system ranges from $50 – $600.
Does the alarm system work when the power is out?
Yes, it does. Alarms systems have battery backups that will keep them working even when there’s a power outage. They’ll protect your home for as long as the battery lasts.
What does a basic home security system comprise?
Home security systems come with lots of features and gadgets, but the basics include magnetic sensors for your doors and windows, motion detectors, and infrared sensors that are connected to a control panel. The control panel will trigger a loud siren when there is a breach and also sends a notification to you and the security company for emergency dispatch to protect your home.
Securing your home while you are away for a long time could be a worry, but with these precautionary measures and security systems in place, you can rest assured that your home will be safe from burglars for the duration of your vacation.
Though there is no 100% guarantee that these measures will completely protect your home from burglars (you’ll know that if you’ve seen the series ‘Money Heist’), but you can be sure that burglars will have little or no success making away with your valuables or breaking into your home with all these in place.