Vacations are times of fun and relaxation, not of stress. Unfortunately, if you’re concerned about burglary or home vandalism while you’re on the road, it can impact your entire trip and leave you rushing back to check on your home. By taking a few preventative steps before you head out, you can protect your home even while you’re away and have a wonderful, worry-free vacation.
Don’t advertise the exact dates of your vacation before you head out, and ask close family members to keep it quiet as well. Avoid leaving a voicemail greeting that says you’re not currently at home. Try to keep vacation photos off social media until you’ve made it home, especially if your Facebook or other accounts are visible to anyone whom you do not know well. If it’s common knowledge that there’s no one at your home, it provides a window of opportunity for burglars to break in.
If you’re currently using a basic alarm system, where the alarm only sounds when a door sensor is tripped, you may still be at risk for a break in. Most burglars will not go through the front door– they’ll instead break a window or find another low-profile entry point. Upgrade your security package by adding motion sensors, which will activate the alarm upon trigger even if the front door is not opened. You should also place sensors on secondary doors and all ground floor windows if you do not have them already.
Occupied houses are less likely to become targets, but how do you make it look like someone is at home when you’re hours away? You have several options. First, if your family has multiple vehicles, consider leaving one of them at home. An empty driveway is a sign of an empty house. Second, if you’ll be gone for a lengthy period of time (a week or more is a good rule of thumb), contact your post office and ask them to hold your mail. A bulging mailbox is a sign of there being no one at home to check it. You can also ask a friend or family member to drop by once a day at different times of day to pick up mail and check on the house in general. Mixing up the time from day to day makes it hard for burglars who may be watching the place to establish a routine, and they’ll be hesitant to make a move. Finally, consider adding a feature to your security system which will turn your lights on and off at different times of the day. This will create the appearance of there being someone at home, and it won’t lead to a higher energy bill like leaving lights on for the entire time you’re gone will.