The week or two before we’re set to begin our much-needed family vacation, there is a lot that needs to get done, especially if you’re traveling for a long period of time or if you’re traveling with children.
With so much that needs your attention, it’s understandable that you’ll forget some things. But of all the things that could be overlooked, your home’s security shouldn’t be one of them.
If you have a home security system, you’re already off to a good start (as long as you remember to turn it on, of course!). We have five more ways you can protect your home from falling prey to burglars looking for their next big score.
This post is part of our family travel advice series
1. Lock the doors and windows
On any given day, when you leave your house, you probably don’t double (or triple) check your doors and windows to make sure they’re locked. You’re going to be home at some point later in the day. But, if you’re going on vacation for an extended period of time, take a few minutes before leaving to make sure all entry points are locked up tight.
When you check the locks, you aren’t going to have a panic attack on the third day of vacation because you can’t remember if the basement door was locked. If you want to give yourself even more reassurance, you can put something like a dowel, a broomstick, or a 2×4 in the way of the window or door tracts to make sure the door/window can’t open.
Sure, the burglar can break the glass and move the obstruction, but that is going to take more time, make more noise, and could even cause an injury that would bring attention to the burglary in progress. Hopefully, you’ll have attentive neighbors who, if they see this going on, they’d call the authorities.
2. Stop the mail
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if there’s a pile of newspapers in the driveway, the mailbox is overflowing with mail, and there are packages sitting on the stoop to know nobody is home. Worse yet, these are clear signs that no one has been home in some time, thus making your house a prime target to be broken into.
Do yourself a favor and arrange for someone to pick up your mail and deliveries while you’re away, or call the post office and request they put a hold on mail service until you come home. You don’t want to be that homeowner who goes away for a period of time and comes home to a bunch of mail sitting out in the open and a house that’s been robbed.
3. Keep the lights on
Seasoned burglars know that humans are creatures of habit, and when they find a potential target, they’ll camp outside of the home and observe the family’s comings and goings. Not only do they look to see if the mail is being picked up, but they also take notice of when the lights are turned on and in what rooms. They use all of this information to determine when the best time would be to strike.
Keeping the routine going while you’re away can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. You can buy smart outlets and put them on a schedule that mimics your routine. Do you usually stay up late watching TV in the bedroom? Have the TV connected to a smart plug and set the timer. You can do this throughout your house if you want.
4. Avoid giving away too many details online
More than 65% of home invasions are done by someone the homeowner knows and trusts. You may trust your loved ones full-heartedly if you post details about your trip online…
You don’t know who can see that information and use it to break into your home. You might think the people on your friendlist can be trusted and wouldn’t do anything bad, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
5. Bring the hide-a-key inside the house
It’s not unusual for homeowners to place a spare key in a hiding spot outside – we all get forgetful sometimes! However, when you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, make sure you bring that key inside for the time being.
Burglars know the usual hiding spots, and they will look for a spare key. Heck, if they find one, it’s like they won the lottery because they can get inside without breaking a sweat (or window!).
Your home’s security shouldn’t be overlooked
Our home is supposed to be our safe place, and when the house is broken into, even if nothing is taken, it no longer feels safe. It’s a huge violation, and it can take a long time to feel safe in our own home again. It shouldn’t take an upcoming vacation for us to improve our home’s security, but we get comfortable. Don’t get comfortable.
These are just five ways to increase your home’s security, and there are plenty more. We recommend investing in a home security system, even if you’re selling your house as is. A good security system is always a great start!
More Planning Tips For Your Family Vacation
- Not just your home security, don’t miss our 30-step plan to take care of business, school, and home before a big vacation.
- Take the stress out of packing for a big trip with our 7-stage process of preparing for a big pack – with checklist!