Traveling this summer? Vinnie Van GO spoke with travel expert and freelance writer Maricel Tabalba about her tips for keeping your home safe and secure while away.
7 Ways to Secure Your Home When Traveling
When it comes to traveling, many people plan out every detail of their vacation – what hotel they’ll be staying at, how long they’ll be staying there, what places they’ll visit – but one thing they often overlook is the safety of their home while they’re away, and it costs them even more than their plane tickets in the long run. Coming home from a long weekend of much needed rest and relaxation to a house with window glass littered on the floor and valuable items stolen is certainly a far from ideal way to end a vacation. Thankfully, these kinds of situations can be prevented with a couple different strategies.
1. Inform Your Neighbors
It’s always helpful to have a trusted neighbor or friend keep watch over your home while you’re gone. You can give your neighbor or friend a duplicate key that only they can use to make the house look like it has people living inside and maintain the house and take care of any pets while you’re away. Be sure to give them your contact information and any necessary numbers such as the plumber or electrician.
2. Activate Your Home Security System
Even if its alarms don’t notify the police, a home security system can scare away potential thieves and alert neighbors that something’s up. In fact, law enforcement studies have noted that if your house doesn’t have a security system, it’s three times more likely to be burglarized. If the security system is linked to a smartphone app, you can set it from your phone right as you leave and you’ll get updates in real time. If a neighbor is staying over, give them the code to reset it if it goes off accidentally.
3. Set Up Smart Cameras
If your home security system is a “smart” security system that’s integrated with your mobile technology, having security cameras is a must. You can set smart cameras around the area of your doorstep and any particularly vulnerable entry points such as windows. You can also set up a smart doorbell – a doorbell that has a camera attached to its panel and allows for features such as two-way audio, motion sensing, and uploading recordings to the cloud. With mobile app integration, you can see who’s trying to visit in real time.
4. Set Up Timed Smart Lights And/Or Motion Sensing Lights
If you couldn’t get a neighbor to stay over or if they can only drop by for a limited time each day, it’s a good idea to set up a smart light timer, which turns on the lights in certain rooms at certain times in the day. Alternatively, you can set up motion sensing floodlights around the house so that a burglar has nowhere to hide. It’s best to set up 8 feet above the ground so that a burglar cannot easily unscrew the bulbs.
5. Avoid Social Media Updates
Never assume that only friends and colleagues are reading your Facebook and Twitter status updates – with the anonymous nature of social media, anyone can see what you post, including a criminal who will take advantage of this opportunity. Turn Location Services off when making updates so that your exact location cannot be seen, and never make updates with your address or how long you’ll be gone.
6. Stop Mail From Arriving
If a potential criminal passes by your house while you’re away, and notices a gigantic stack of mail and newspapers, it’s a dead giveaway to the criminal that you’ve been out of town for a while and an invitation for said criminal to break in. You can prevent this by going to your mail provider’s website and requesting a delivery hold for however long you’ll be gone or you can have a neighbor collect your mail until you get back.
7. Arrange Lawn Care
An unkempt lawn screams “nobody’s home.” You can have a neighbor or a lawn care company mow your lawn as needed while you’re gone for an extended amount of time and if you live in a snowy region, you can arrange for someone to shovel snow off your driveway. Nothing ruins a vacation more than worrying about what’s happening back at home so make sure to take a variety of precautions before you start traveling. With these simple steps, you will ensure that your home will be safe and sound once you get back from a relaxing trip.
Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who enjoys learning about and researching the latest gadgets, smart home tech and green, sustainable tips. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.