Summer should be full of road trips, long days at the beach, seeing new sites and visiting old friends. The last thing you want to worry about while you’re relaxing on vacation is home security. Nowadays, keeping your house safe isn’t as simple as just locking the doors. Before you leave on vacation, be sure to go through this checklist to keep your home safe while you’re gone.
Ways to Secure Your Home While on Vacation
- Make it Look Like Someone is Home
- Hire Help
- Enlist a Neighbor
- Lock Up Tight
- Keep Your Valuables Safe
- Don’t Post Your Travel Plans
- Exterior Lighting
Make it Look Like Someone is Home
Burglars often watch homes for a period of time before attempting to break in. They want to know if anyone is home and find an adequate window of time when they will be able to force the locks on the door or break a window and gain access to the house. Think about the home-care activities you routinely do throughout the week. This will help you anticipate everything that will need to be handled while you’re on vacation to keep it looking like someone is home.
Deter thieves by putting some lights and TVs on timers. You can set them to turn on and off at different times during the night and days of the week. If you have smart home automation, you can program a schedule while you’re gone on vacation.
Plus, the newspaper and mail should be put on hold so that you don’t have things piling up in your mailbox or on the front door.
Some handy local service providers can help you keep your home looking lived in while you’re gone. For example, you could schedule lawn and garden care for the period that you will be away. Having the grass cut, leaves raked or snow shoveled are all smart ways to take care of your property even when you’re not there.
Enlist a Neighbor
If you have reliable neighbors, ask them to help. Offer to swap favors for your neighbor. Ask if they can pick up the mail, water the plants and take out the garbage cans while you’re on vacation. Then, you can do the same when they’re out of town. If your neighbor parks their car in your driveway sometime, it also creates the illusion of more activity at your home.
In general, building a strong relationship with neighbors is a great homeowner tip. It’s always helpful to have other people looking out for suspicious activity. Neighborhood watch networks add an extra level of security because they notify others when there is a possible problem in the area.
Lock Up Tight
Beyond locking the doors and windows, think about other points of entry that should be secured if you’re going to be gone for a longer period of time. Window well covers around the basement should be locked, for example. The garage door can be disabled and locked from the inside with a deadbolt to keep the entrance secure. You can place a safety bar or a simple wooden dowel in the track of a sliding glass door to keep it from opening even if a thief is able to force the lock. And be sure to collect any emergency keys hidden outside the house.
Additional security measures may include installing deadbolts on doors and windows to make it more difficult for thieves to enter the home. You might also consider switching out standard or less sturdy locks for high-security locks.
If you have a security system, make sure that it is set when you leave. You should also notify the home security company of your travel plans.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
Avoid leaving anything valuable in plain sight inside the house. Lock jewelry, important documents and other small items away in a combination safe. For insurance purposes, in case your house is burglarized while on vacation, keep a list of any particularly valuable things and include their serial number or a photo.
Don’t Post Your Travel Plans
Going on vacation is exciting and it’s hard not to announce your travel plans on social media, but you never know who might receive that information. To be on the safe side, share this information with your friends and family when you talk to them. Be sure to talk to your kids about not posting this information on social media as well. Then, when you return from the vacation, feel free to share all the lovely pictures from your trip.
Installing floodlights around the outside of your house is a good security measure. Exterior lighting is especially important over the garage door and near the back and side entrances. Think about points of entry where bushes and fencing would otherwise provide cover for a burglar attempting to break in. If you already have exterior lighting, add timers and motion detectors to help deter burglars without keeping the lights on 24/7.
Find more information in 10 Things You Need to Know about Burglars.
Increase Security Around Your Home
Find a locksmith near you to help boost security at your house. The experts at Great Valley Lockshop provide a range of residential services including changing the locks, installing burglary-rated safes to protect valuables, and offering professional-quality products.