How to Keep Your Home Safe While TravelingJul 10, 2018
Vacations are a time to rejuvenate and tuck away the routines of home life, but it can be hard to relax without knowing if your possessions will be where you left them when you return. Your to-do list may already be full of travel prep work, but you won't regret taking some extra time to follow a few home security tips before you leave.
With a burglary occurring every 13 seconds, it's crucial you have the right defenses in place, and considering more than 70 percent of thefts happen when nobody's home, you will want to invest in home security while traveling. Once you understand how to keep your home safe while on vacation, you will be able to achieve some much-deserved peace of mind while you're away.
Even if a trip isn't on your radar at the moment, you will find some travel safety tips can help protect your home from day to day as you work and run errands. In these cases, it can be easy to think that the worst would never happen to you. But, as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry, and taking steps toward home security is an excellent way to always have the upper hand.
Preparing the Exterior of Your Home Before Traveling
Reducing your chances of a burglary involves removing easy targets and creating obstacles that will bar a potential thief. It may seem too simple, but even the smallest adjustments to what's outside your front door can make all the difference in preventing a home invasion. Make a possible perpetrator think twice before scoping out your property by following these home safety tips:
- Trim down the trees around your home. A branch leading right to a balcony or some shrubs that conceal a first-story window are tools you don't want a thief to take advantage of. Remove potential hiding spots and easy access to less secure parts of your home by pruning the hedges and trees around your four walls or arranging for trimming services to come before you leave. The clearer visibility will also help your neighbors see potential threats and alert you if necessary.
- Remove spare keys from outside. While the key you hide under the mat helps you out in a pinch, unfortunately, it can do the same for a burglar. Experienced criminals know all the typical hiding places people use for concealing a spare key. Since you won't be needing the extra key when you're out of town, the best strategy is to give it to a friend or neighbor in case of an emergency. You can also throw the key in a drawer inside your home until you return from your vacation.
- Take extra steps to secure all entrances. While it sounds like a no-brainer, many homeowners forget to check the locks on windows, back doors, gates and garage doors before heading out. Secure your sliding doors with wooden planks or dowels in the inside tracks, and, if possible, put your lawn furniture in the garage if it could be used as a battering ram to shatter glass. If you have a vehicle parked outside while you're gone, make sure you remove any keys and garage door openers from it.
- Make it evident that you have a dog. You should have a sign or some other form of indication to possible intruders that you have a dog in your household, even if that isn't true. No one likes the idea of getting attacked by an angry dog, so even just planting that idea in the head of an intruder can be enough to deter them.
- Update schedules on your lights. The state of your outdoor lights might give your absence away. Ignited porch lights can be a deterrent, but observant criminals may catch on if your lights are on for a week straight. To avoid this issue, update your lights on alarm.com so they turn on and off as if someone was home. Having a schedule on alarm.com can also help with your electricity bill, since leaving your lights on the whole time you are gone can be a sky-high expense.
Consider the outside of your house your first line of defense. If your house seems well protected, your chances for a theft attempt will plummet. Keep your home from appearing too inviting to intruders by incorporating these steps, and remember securing what is on the inside is just as important, if not more so.
Securing Your Belongings Before Departure
When you are trying to protect your home, your primary focus is on what is located inside the house, so you will want to take the necessary measures to secure your belongings. Preventing theft is one way to protect your affairs, but there are other threats you don't want to return home to either, such as flooding or electrical fire damage. Here are some tips for improving the safety of your belongings while you're traveling.
- Unplug and protect your electronics. To prevent power surges and the potential hazards they bring, make a sweep of your home before you leave and unplug all devices, save for perhaps your freezer or refrigerator. Installing surge protectors can also be helpful, and turning them off is as simple as flipping a switch.
- In cold weather, pay attention to your pipes. When you live in a colder area, the most critical disaster you want to avoid is your pipes freezing, cracking or even bursting while you're away. Be sure to check the insulation of the pipes in your attic, basement, crawlspaces or other vulnerable areas. Plan to keep your thermostat at 55 degrees or above. You may even task a trusted friend or neighbor with coming by to check on the house and periodically turn on the faucets.
- Adjust your furniture layout. If you keep your computers and televisions close to a window, for example, a passerby may be too tempted to resist an easy target if they realize no one is home. It doesn't have to be a permanent change, but while you are on vacation, you may consider moving all expensive items out of plain sight and keeping your windows covered where it's most strategic.
- Invest in a safe or a safety deposit box. If you do not already have your jewelry or other valuables in some kind of safe, this might be a good time to consider adding one to your arsenal. Not only does putting your valuables in a safety deposit box keep those items secure from any potential natural disasters, it also keeps your treasures out of view from a burglar looking in a window.
Taking some of these measures before you leave on vacation can help you feel more in control of potential catastrophes like fires and thefts. Not only will damages to your home and belongings be less likely to occur, but you will have protected yourself from devastating financial losses in the process.
Involving Neighbors and Hiring Services for Home Safety on Vacation
One of the most strategic approaches to keeping your home safe on vacation is making your home appear as though you never left. Having a human presence on your property now and then is a great way to achieve that effect. To do this, ask your friends and neighbors for a hand, or hire house sitters and services you trust.
- Arrange for mail pickup or holding. A pile of newspapers on your porch or a mailbox overflowing with flyers quickly lets any potential burglar know you are away. You can easily fix this problem by asking neighbors to pick up your deliveries or calling the post office to put your mail on hold. Other carriers may drop off occasional packages for you, so if you already have someone stopping by your house, be sure to ask them to gather and move any mail for you.
- Don't forget the small, daily tasks. If you already have a friend or family member coming over to do things like checking your faucets or feeding your pets for you, make sure you also have them do simple things like putting out your garbage bins and watering the plants in your front yard. Small responsibilities like having your trash out on the right day or keeping your porch fresh and tidy can be the deterrent that makes it look like you are home and stop a potential burglar.
- Have someone park in your driveway. When a person leaves town, they usually take their car with them. Therefore, naturally, an empty driveway for a prolonged period can be the most visible sign that you are not at your house. By having a neighbor or friend park their car in your driveway, you can remove potential robbery targets from your abode.
- Hire a house sitter. Actually having someone live in the house is the best way to keep up appearances. A sitter can do all the tasks we've mentioned, from picking up mail to parking in your driveway. If you hire a sitter, it is essential to inform them precisely of anyone else you have employed to stop by. Without being notified, a sitter may mistakenly call the police on a service you had intentionally scheduled or accidentally welcome in an intruder disguised as a repairman.
- Arrange for lawn care and driveway shoveling. Nothing signals an empty house quite like an overgrown lawn or snow that piled feet into the air. Even if you hire a house sitter, be sure also to have someone come by and take care of the lawn, driveway and sidewalk for you while you are away. With people milling around your property, bringing you smooth walkways and freshly mowed grass, it will look as though you never left.
Putting these safeguards in place and getting other people on your side is an effective way to protect you from home invasion. Plus, when you come back home, you won't have to worry about maintenance, making it much more pleasant to return to your house.
Considering Additional Home Safety Tips Before Traveling
There are a few other small safety measures you can take to protect you from the worst-case scenario. Sometimes unfortunate events happen outside of our control, and that is why it is essential to be extra careful and come prepared. Consider the following tips to go the extra mile toward securing your home.
- Avoid posting on social media before your trip. Think about posting your awesome vacation photos after returning home, so you don't broadcast to the world that you're away from home. At the very least, don't announce when you are leaving, and try not to share your current location. It can be fun to show off your experiences to everyone, but make sure you trust those you are sharing with and take all other safety precautions back at home.
- Confirm what your insurance will cover. Call your insurance company and make sure they will cover your most important belongings if someone steals them. You don't want to get caught in an obscure loophole. Dealing with these types of insurance questions before something happens will be much easier and less stressful than trying to do so after losing those valuables to a burglary.
- Make a detailed list of your things. Should it come to a robbery despite the measures you have taken, you can help yourself ahead of time by making a list of serial numbers, makes, models and value of items thieves are likely to target. This document will come in handy in case of a police investigation and insurance claims. Also, take photos of some of your valuables so you can show the police and others exactly what your stolen items look like.
You can never be too careful when it comes to guarding your property. These safety tips for traveling homeowners are crucial no matter what other forms of technology you have in place, but the most surefire way to protect your house and your loved ones is through the assistance of a top-notch home security system.
Protecting Your Property by Installing a Home Security System
Getting technology and a reputable security company on your side is perhaps the most advantageous of all home safety tips to consider while traveling. Security systems can see what the human eye can't and can automate responses for your peace of mind. Here are some ways to make the most out of your home security system to keep your home monitored and protected.
- Alert thieves of your surveillance system. Having a home security system is like having a security guard watching your home on a 24/7 basis every day of the year. With a strategically placed network of security cameras, you can keep an eye on your home while you are away. Just having a visible security camera or signs that you have a security system in place can be a deterrent to intruders.
- Ensure disasters remain noticeable. Another important piece of a home protection system is the alarms. Equipping your home with burglar, fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will reassure you, both when you are away from the house and when you are at home with your family. A good system will send you alerts to your phone so you always have the upper hand.
- Take advantage of helpful technologies. If you are away from home, you can use one smartphone app to control your lights, thermostats, doorbell camera, security system and more. Incorporating a doorbell camera in your home security package is an excellent way to see who is knocking whether you are home or not.
Keeping your home secure while you travel is a top priority, and the best way to feel right about leaving on a trip is by installing a superb home security system. If you prepare both the interior and exterior of your house and get your network of people involved, adding a home security system allows you to reach the highest level of protection and feel safe.
Contact Certified Fire And Security for Your Home Security
At Certified Fire And Security, we pride ourselves on being the most reputable and advanced home security company in Southwest Utah. Our offices are located in St. George and Salt Lake City, but we serve customers all over the state!
Being able to control your smart home technology no longer has to be overwhelming, and it can help you achieve the rest you wanted out of your vacation in the first place. With mobile apps from Alarm.com, you can have an intuitive, user-friendly solution for controlling your smart security system. You receive alerts instantly, allowing you to feel like your home is safe even when you are far away.