Despite the fact that you’re (hopefully) headed somewhere where relaxation is the main activity, getting ready for vacation can be quite stressful. You need to solidify plans, line up care for the pets, make sure everything is packed and handle the arrangements for when you arrive at your destination. If you’re a savvy homeowner, getting the house ready for your trip should be at the top of your to-do list, too.
An Unoccupied Home Is a Bigger Target
Not that you need one more thing to stress about, but unoccupied homes are among the biggest targets for intruders. In fact, people are home only about 27 percent of the time when homes are burglarized, which is comforting when you’re there, but a bit worrisome when you’re away. Additionally, burglaries are more likely to occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., since that’s the time period when most people aren’t home.
And, of course, if perpetrators see any signs indicating that no one’s home, they’re a lot more likely to pounce. But there are some useful things you should know about protecting your home while on vacation to keep your abode safe!
- Invest in a Good Security System—Nothing brings peace of mind when you’re away quite like a home security system. These systems integrate cameras, motion sensors, smart locks and open-close detectors to shield your home from unwanted intruders. Security systems generally require professional installation and cost a monthly fee, but there’s really no comparison in terms of total home protection.
- Install Motion-Activated Cameras—Prefer a more DIY approach? You can install your own motion-activated cameras that connect to the Wi-Fi so you can watch your home from an app while you’re away. These devices seamlessly integrate with your home automation system so you can control them with your voice or your smartphone. Installing a motion-activated doorbell, like the Ring Video Doorbell, is one of the simplest ways to monitor your home from afar. Ring and similar services do offer free options and upgraded monthly monitoring plans (with options as cheap as $30 a year).
You can use the Ring app and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro to remotely monitor the exterior of your home.
- Have Someone Pick Up Packages and Mail—The best thing you can do to keep your home safe from burglars is to make it look occupied. If you can’t hire a house sitter, the next best thing is to have someone stop by every day or every other day to pick up your mail, packages and newspapers. An overflowing mailbox or a pile of rained-on catalogs is a surefire sign to criminals that you’re away for a period of time. You could also pause any mail or delivery services while you’re away.
- Don’t Leave the Lawn Untended—Just like the mail and packages piling up on the stoop, an overgrown lawn can signify to a burglar that no one’s around or that the home is abandoned. If it’s summer, make sure to either mow your lawn right before you leave for vacation or have someone come mow while you’re gone to keep things looking tidy.
- Put Your Lights on a Timer—The lighting in your home brings warmth and life, even when no one’s actually home. And since you should now have super-efficient LEDs all over the house, keeping a few lights on while you’re away won’t cost more than a few cents (if that). We recommend putting your home’s lights on a timer that cycles through on-off patterns to deter any burglars who may be monitoring your home.
- Keep a Photo of All Valuables—Although we can do everything possible to safeguard our spaces from intruders, the occasional incident does happen. In these cases, it’s important that you have photos, receipts and documentation of all your most precious possessions. If you’re leaving for a long trip, we recommend taking photos right before you leave, documenting your valuable items and where they were before you left.
- Put All Valuables in a Safe—Putting valuables and personal items in a safe is another extra step you can take to protect your possessions in the event of a break-in. We recommend using the safe to store any expensive jewelry and watches as well as personal identification items like passports, birth certificates and Social Security cards, which could be used to facilitate identity theft.
Home Protection for a Better Trip
Taking a few extra steps to make your home less appealing to burglars may be all you need to ensure that you have a worry-free trip. The home security experts at Abt are here to help you build a security system that meets your specific needs, whether you want a professional custom security system or prefer to keep an eye on your house via smart devices.