You’re just about to board your flight for your week-long vacation in Hawaii when you think to yourself, “did I remember to lock the front door?” If you’ve ever experienced this sinking feeling, you know it can drive you crazy and ruin your trip. Check out our list of best practices for staying on top of your home security while traveling!
Maintain Activity at the Home
When burglars are looking for a potential home to break into, the obvious target is the home with no activity. As you can imagine, most thieves aren’t going to try their luck at a home that constantly has traffic in and out or all kinds of lights on in the evening. When preparing for home security while traveling, find a person or two who can check on your home periodically. Whether this person is a friend, relative, or even a neighbor, maintaining a steady flow of activity in or around the home may be all it takes to thwart off potential risk. Of course, all of this depends on what time a potential burglar would be scoping out your home. If at all possible, try to convince your friend or relative to stay the night at your home to prevent any nighttime snooping. But what if you can’t get anyone to visit the home? There’s not much you can do during the daytime, but nighttime is a different story. Consider adding a timer or motion-based lighting system for the exterior of the home. These types of lights are relatively inexpensive, and installation isn’t too difficult at all. The motion lights will operate on their own, but the timed lights could be set to turn on and off at specific intervals through the night. For an added bonus, try adding these same type of timer-based lights inside the home for even more home security while traveling!
BONUS TIP: Halt the delivery of your daily paper or mail while you are away. If someone sees a pile of newspapers and mail on your front door, there’s a good chance they’ll know no one is home.
Invest in a Security System
Another great piece of technology that will help boost your home security while traveling is a security system. This option may not be applicable for you if you go off on an impromptu getaway or don’t want to spend the money, but otherwise a security system is a superb investment. Along with giving your home added protection, it will also increase your home’s attractiveness to buyers when it comes time to sell this fall. There are many reputable brands of home security systems, so you’ll need to decide which features and payment options best fit your home and scenario. Most security systems today offer live assistance, meaning you can be notified via your smartphone immediately if there is any kind of breach or unusual activity at your home. Another way to enhance your home security while traveling is to notify your security company that you will be out of town; if any unplanned movement or entry is detected, they will know right away that it could be a potential burglar. If you’d rather not install a security system for the whole home or don’t have enough time to do so, you may vouch to upgrade to a smart security camera or doorbell. These devices work in a similar way as modern security systems; you can use a smartphone or other mobile device to tap into a live feed as seen through your camera or doorbell. Unless you buy several cameras and place them around the home, your field of view will most likely be reduced to the front door; however, similarly to the lights, the presence of a noticeable camera will be enough to prevent most burglars from selecting your home as their target.
Do you know how easy it is to find someone’s name, address, and social media accounts in 2019? Believe it or not, many thieves will virtually stalk the homeowners of the homes they choose as targets. You may think that your Facebook or other social media pages won’t reveal anything about your home, but you could be making a big mistake. Think back to the first time you scrolled through your Facebook timeline this morning. You most likely saw at least one or two friends posting live updates from their vacation. This is almost always a clear indicator that the homeowner is away from their home. If a thief has selected your home and sees you are on vacation, they will know the coast is clear to raid the premise. It may be tempting to live-tweet some of your favorite sights or share photos on Facebook as you capture them, but waiting until you return from your trip to post your memories could save you a lot of potential headache. Another common occurrence is when people “check in” at different restaurants or points of interest. Just like posting photos, this action can easily let potential threats know you are out of town, especially since these types of social media features can only be carried out in real time. If you’re a social junkie and absolutely can’t delay your postings, you may try changing your privacy settings to allow only those whom you are friends with to see your posts. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a “friend” could still turn out to be a potential security breach!
Double-Check All Openings
When it comes to beefing up your home security while traveling, you may be tempted to opt for technology and human engagement as your two primary sources of prevention. Those are great avenues to explore, but a big part of your home defense comes down to your own due diligence. Before you leave for your trip, do a walkthrough of your home. Are all of your doors locked? What about the windows? Are there any additional entries (e.g. an attic window, exterior basement entry, crawlspace opening) where someone could enter the home? These are important questions to ask yourself, as any experienced burglar will look for an easy way in before attempting anything drastic. Make sure you remove any hidden keys, especially those found in common places like underneath a door mat or inside a potted plant. Another overlooked source of security breach is the garage. Even if you don’t keep a spare key in your garage, there’s a good chance that you have several possessions which could easily be carried out and stored inside the thief’s vehicle. Make sure your garage entry door is locked, and you could even disconnect your garage door opener as an added precaution.
There’s nothing you can do to ensure complete home security while traveling, but there are more than enough steps you can take to make potential burglars think twice before attempting to break into your home. Try some of these tips before leaving for your next vacation!