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11 Tips for Securing Your Home While on Vacation

11 Tips for Securing Your Home While on Vacation
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images

Going on vacation should be a time to relax and unwind, not worry about the safety of your home. Ensuring your home is secure while you’re away can give you peace of mind and help you fully enjoy your trip.

By taking a few simple steps, you can make your home appear occupied and reduce the risk of break-ins. Many strategies can help keep your property safe, from installing security systems to enlisting the help of a trusted neighbor.

1) Install Smart Locks

Smart locks are a great way to add security to your home. They allow you to lock and unlock doors using your smartphone. This means you can control access to your home even when you’re not there.

You can also provide temporary access to friends or neighbors. This is useful if someone needs to check on your house. They won’t need a physical key, and you can revoke access anytime.

Smart locks often come with features like notifications. You’ll get alerts when someone enters or leaves your home. This can give you peace of mind while you’re on vacation.

Some smart locks are compatible with home automation systems. You can integrate them with other devices like security cameras and alarms. This helps create a comprehensive security system.

By installing smart locks, you’re taking an important step in protecting your home. It’s a simple upgrade that offers many benefits.

2) Set Up Security Cameras

Setting up security cameras is a great way to keep an eye on your home while you’re on vacation. Today’s cameras are more advanced and user-friendly. You can monitor them from your smartphone or computer.

Place cameras at key points around your home. Popular spots include front and back doors, windows, and driveways. This helps you catch any unusual activity.

Some cameras even come with motion detection and alert you if they sense movement. This way, you can take action quickly if something seems off.

Consider cameras with night vision. They help capture clear footage even in the dark. Thieves often strike at night, so this feature is very useful.

There are many types of security cameras to choose from. Wired cameras are reliable but can be tricky to install. Wireless cameras are easier to set up but might need battery changes.

You may also want to use visible cameras. They can act as a deterrent to would-be burglars. When people see them, they might think twice before breaking in.

To ensure proper coverage, make sure your cameras have a wide field of view. This minimizes blind spots and covers larger areas.

Consider storing footage in the cloud. This provides backup in case someone tampering with the cameras. You can access this footage any time you need it.

By setting up security cameras, you gain peace of mind knowing your home is monitored even when you’re away. It’s an investment in your home’s safety that can make a big difference.

3) Use Timed Lighting Systems

Using timed lighting systems can make it look like someone is home, even when you’re not. These systems automatically turn lights on and off at scheduled times.

You can control several lights in different rooms. This creates the illusion of normal activity. Automated lighting can also deter potential burglars by making your home look occupied.

Easy to set up, these systems work with smart home devices. Some of them are even programmable through your smartphone, adding convenience. Advanced models allow for random intervals, which makes lighting patterns less predictable.

Consider placing timers on both indoor and outdoor lights. Outdoor lights can make it harder for intruders to approach unnoticed. Indoor lights can give the impression that someone is moving around inside.

If your blinds are usually open, keep them that way while using timed lighting. This keeps the house looking lived-in. Alternately, if you usually close them, then close them with lights set to turn on inside.

Using timed lighting systems can give you peace of mind when you’re on vacation. You’ll know that your home isn’t sitting dark and empty for days or weeks.

4) Alert Neighbors of Your Absence

Let your neighbors know you’ll be away. They can keep an eye on your home and watch for any unusual activity. It’s good to have trusted people nearby.

Ask them to pick up your mail. A full mailbox can be a signal to intruders that no one is home. You can return the favor when they go on vacation.

Leave a key with someone trustworthy. If there are any emergencies, they can get inside and handle things. This is especially useful if you need to turn off the water or check on something unexpected.

Tell them about your plans. Share contact information so they can reach you if needed. Having someone local to alert you can help you respond quickly to any issues.

Encourage them to use your driveway. If their car is parked in your driveway, it looks like someone is home. This can be an easy way to make your home look occupied.

Stay in touch. Regular updates with your neighbors can give you peace of mind. A quick text or call can help you stay informed about what’s happening at home.

By keeping your neighbors in the loop, you add an extra layer of security and support while you’re away.

5) Secure Windows and Doors

Make sure all windows and doors are locked before you leave. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the rush of getting ready. Double-check all entry points, including the garage and basement.

For added security, consider installing deadbolts on exterior doors. These locks are more secure than standard locks and can deter burglars.

Sliding doors can be a weak spot. Place a wooden or metal rod in the track to prevent them from being forced open. You can also install special locks designed for sliding doors.

Windows should also have secure locks. If your windows have flimsy latches, you might want to upgrade them. Consider adding window alarms for an extra layer of protection.

Using window film is another option. This can make glass harder to break, making it more difficult for someone to gain entry.

Close your curtains or blinds to keep prying eyes from seeing inside. This makes it less obvious that no one is home.

If you have security cameras, position them near windows and doors. Their presence can deter potential intruders. Locking all doors and windows is a simple yet effective way to protect your home.

6) Hide Valuables Effectively

Keep your valuables hidden to protect them while you’re away. One smart way to do this is by using a hollowed-out book. Cut out the middle of an old book and place your small items or cash inside. Then, put the book back on the shelf. It’s an easy and inconspicuous hiding spot.

Avoid leaving valuable items like jewelry or important documents in obvious places. Store them in spots that are less likely to be searched, such as inside a cereal box in your pantry or a container in your bathroom.

Curtains and blinds can help keep your valuables hidden from prying eyes. Close all windows and blinds to make it harder for anyone to see inside your home.

Be cautious about what you share on social media. Avoid posting pictures or updates that indicate you are on vacation. Thieves could use this information to target your home. Wait until you return to share your vacation highlights online.

If possible, move anything of value away from windows where it can be easily seen. This step prevents potential burglars from spotting something tempting. Consider using a safe to store especially valuable items like passports, money, and jewelry.

7) Hold Mail and Package Deliveries

When you’re on vacation, an overflowing mailbox can be a clear sign that no one is home. To avoid this, make sure to place a hold on your mail. The USPS Hold Mail Service allows you to pause mail delivery for up to 30 days. You can set this up online quickly and easily.

Packages left on your doorstep can also signal that you’re away. Check if your ZIP code is eligible for the USPS Hold Mail Service, and use FedEx Delivery Manager to put a vacation hold on your packages. This service is free and helps keep your home secure.

Another option is to ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail and packages while you’re gone. This not only prevents a buildup but also adds an extra layer of security to your home.

By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your home looks occupied and stays safe while you’re enjoying your vacation.

8) Disable Garage Door Openers

Unplugging your garage door opener can protect your home. Without power, no one can open your garage door using a remote or code. This simple step ensures your garage stays secure while you’re away.

If you have an older opener, this is especially useful. Many older models lack a vacation mode. By disconnecting the power, you stop any chance of unauthorized access.

For newer openers, check your wall console for a vacation lock feature. This feature locks out remote controls, adding an extra layer of security. It’s an easy way to make sure your garage stays closed.

In addition, consider using a manual lock. This extra step makes it even harder for someone to break in. A combination of disabling the opener and using a lock is a solid plan.

These steps will help keep your garage safe and secure, giving you peace of mind during your vacation. For more detailed tips, you can visit this guide on securing your garage before going on vacation.

9) Unplug Unnecessary Electronics

When you leave for vacation, it’s a good idea to unplug electronics that aren’t needed while you’re away.

Unplugging items like TVs, radios, and coffee makers can save energy. Even in standby mode, these devices can consume power.

Another reason to unplug is safety. Electrical fires are a risk, so it’s smart to reduce potential hazards by unplugging items you won’t be using.

Devices like lamps and fans can also be unplugged. This step not only saves energy but also lowers the chance of electrical issues while you’re gone.

Consider unplugging kitchen appliances that won’t be in use, like toasters and microwaves. Your home will be safer, and your energy bill will thank you.

When unplugging, make sure to check items in all rooms. Don’t forget devices in bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices.

For more tips on protecting your home, check out this list of ways to protect your home while on vacation.

10) Trim Bushes and Trees

Keeping your bushes and trees trimmed is important for home security. Overgrown plants can give burglars places to hide. By maintaining your landscaping, you make it harder for anyone to sneak around without being seen.

Make sure to trim bushes that are close to windows. This will improve visibility and make it easier for neighbors or passersby to notice any unusual activity.

Also, consider cutting back tree branches that are close to your home. These can be used to help criminals gain access to upper floor windows. Keeping your trees trimmed reduces this risk.

Clipping back plants will also help with the lighting around your house. Well-lit areas can deter thieves, so make sure your lights are not blocked by overgrown foliage.

Regular maintenance of your yard doesn’t just boost security. It also improves the overall look of your home, making it seem well cared for and less likely to be an easy target for break-ins.

For more security tips, you can read this guide on ways to protect your home while on vacation or check out these security tips.

11) Activate a Security Alarm System

One of the most effective ways to protect your home while on vacation is to activate a security alarm system. These systems are designed to alert you and local authorities in case of a break-in.

Modern security systems come with various features like motion sensors, window and door sensors, and cameras. Some even offer remote monitoring through your smartphone, which allows you to keep an eye on your home no matter where you are.

Installing a security system can also come with added benefits like lower home insurance premiums. Many insurance companies offer discounts for homes equipped with monitored alarm systems.

For those concerned about cost, consider a decoy security system. These can be less expensive and still deter potential intruders. It’s better than having no system at all.

When setting up your security system, make sure all entry points like doors and windows are covered. Test the system before you leave to ensure everything is working correctly. This simple step can give you peace of mind while you’re relaxing on your vacation.

Conor Jameson
Written By

Conor Jameson was born and raised in Ireland where he was an accomplished carpenter by trade. He moved to the United States after meeting his now wife Sarah, while she was studying abroad. Conor and Sarah currently live in the New England area and love buying, renovating and selling old homes.

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