Vacations are few and far between and something we look forward to all year long. No one wants to receive a call while enjoying their time off with awful news or come home to find that their house has been burglarized. It’s a scary and violating feeling to know someone has been in your home without your permission and even worse, to suffer the loss of valuable possessions. There are some simple things you can do to protect your home and cherished items while on vacation. They may take a few extra steps in preparing for your vacation, but will give you the peace of mind to truly enjoy it!
1. Don’t Broadcast Your Vacation On Social Media
As tempting as it is to share the happy news about your upcoming trip to the tropics, you never know who will take advantage of your lengthy trip away. If you have a public social media profile, anyone in the world is privy to the knowledge that your home is a free-for-all. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to track down your address, with as few details as your name and general city of residence. Keep your impending vacay to yourself and close friends, and share those amazing trip pictures once you’re home, safe and sound.
2. Back Up Your Photos On A Cloud Drive
I’ll never forget reading a blog post by a fellow mom who was the unlucky victim of a burglary while on vacation. She was devastated the most by the loss of her home computer, which housed every single image of her children. Ever. You may still be the victim of a crime like this, no matter how many precautions you take, so protect your photos by uploading them to a cloud drive. There are many that are free or have annual fees of less than $100. In my opinion, you can never put a price on photos of your children so this is money well spent.
3. Have Someone Pick Up Your Mail
Rather than completely stopping your mail service or letting it build up in your mailbox (two things that are a dead give away you’re not home), have a family member or friend pick up your mail every few days. Not even your mail man will know you’re poolside in the Caribbean!
4. Ask A Neighbor You Trust To Keep An Eye On Your Home
You should always tell a trusted neighbor when you will be away from long periods of time so they don’t worry that something has happened to you and can also watch for anything suspicious around your home. An open garage door, broken glass or other vandalism is something they will notice and can alert you and the authorities in a timely manner. (and I’m sorry, but I just HAD to use this picture. Don’t we all have at least one neighbor like this?)
5. Bring In Your Trash Cans
Nothing says “I’m on vacation” more than trash can’s left out from last week’s trash pickup. Remember to bring in curbside cans before leaving, or just suck it up and wait til the next week’s pickup to take out your garbage. It’s not worth a burglarized home if you forget and leave them for strangers to see!
6. Consider A House Sitter
If you live in an area with few neighbors, think about getting a house sitter for the duration of your trip. You can make a college student’s week by letting them live in and take care of your home. They’ll be sure to keep it lived in and deter potential burglaries.
7. Give The Illusion That You’re Home
For a small fee, you can invest in timers for your interior lights that will go on and off at regular intervals. You will easily deter a criminal if it appears you are home, going about your normal business. Additionally, don’t do things to “close up shop” for vacation that you wouldn’t normally do, such as close all your blinds if you normally keep them open. A person surveilling your home will recognize these tell-tale signs that you’ve left town.
8. Hide Your Hide-A-Key
Hide-A-Key boxes are great for family members who constantly lock themselves out of your home. But they are also pretty obvious to a seasoned burglar. Fake rocks and boxes under your eaves are common places we hide keys and are the first places a criminal will go. Did you know that nearly 50% of home burglaries involve actually using a key to your home? Remove the risk and bring all your key boxes inside for your trip (and maybe permanently!).