Finally, it’s time for a much-deserved holiday. The last thing you want to do is fret about your home while you’re away. Before you pack up and head out for your annual week on the Cape or the cabin in Maine, take a few precautions so you can really relax!
Nine ways to secure your home while on vacation:
1. Put Lights on timers
Simple timers, available online or at your local hardware store, can be plugged into your lights to create the illusion of occupancy. Automatic motion sensor lights by your entrance are both useful when you are home and a real deterrent to potential thieves.
1. Install a home monitoring system
There are many affordable home monitoring systems on the market today. A simple monitoring camera such as the Wyze Cam is easy to install, allowing you to check in on your home remotely from your phone. More advanced programs such as Indigo Home Automation or Domoticz work with devices like X10 that plug into electronic outlets, allowing you to turn lights on and off remotely and monitor your home from virtually anywhere in the world. Some offer instant phone alerts in case of fire or break-in.
3. Leave a key with a friend or family member
Having a trusted person close by to periodically check on your home is a real benefit. You’ll also have someone to call on if something comes up that requires access, or if you lose your keys while away. Do not leave your hide-a-key in its usual spot. Chances are a determined thief can find it.
4. Enlist a house sitter
If you have pets or are going to be gone for an extended period, have a friend or family member house sit. Your pets and plants will get the most personalized attention, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing someone is there to keep an eye on things.
5. Keep up on yard maintenance
Keep a regular schedule of yard and pool maintenance so that your home does not look neglected. If you usually take care of these tasks yourself, hire a local company to maintain things temporarily. As an added benefit, you will have a much nicer place to return to.
6. Hold your mail and newspapers
Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers littering the yard are clear signals that you aren’t home. Contact your newspaper to suspend your paper delivery. Go to the post office and arrange to have your mail held, or ask a neighbor to collect it.
7. Secure your valuables
If you don’t have a fire-proof box, now is the time to get one. Stow your valuable papers and jewelry in a well-hidden place. Be sure that tempting items such as laptops are not in open view from outside. Take in any statuary that could easily be carried off from your yard.
8. Don’t advertise your whereabouts on social media
As tempting as it is to post all about your adventures, be cautious about sharing your whereabouts on social media. Check your settings and limit access to your posts to trusted viewers only.
9. Double check your doors and windows
Disconnect your garage door, as these devices can be easily hacked. Close blinds on the ground floor. Are your windows all closed tightly and locked? Make a last check to be sure.