8 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE WHILE YOU'RE ON HOLIDAY
Holidays are a time to rest, relax and switch off from our regular day to day routines – so the last thing you want to worry about whilst you’re away is if your home is safe. No matter if you’re heading off on a city break to Paris or Rome, a summer holiday to Greece or it’s a far-flung break to somewhere exotic like Thailand, before you go, plan and prep with these 8 simple ways to keep your home safe and deter intruders.
UPDATE YOUR HOME INSURANCE
First things first, dig out your home insurance details and check that the policy remains in date when you’re away and if necessary get renewing to ensure you’re covered. If you are recently married or have changed your phone number, make sure all your personal details are correct and update if necessary. Finally, look at the fine print and see what it is you’re actually covered for; whilst your possessions are often the obvious focus, when you’re away circumstances may change like having a pet-sitter, or giving your family access and these can occasionally alter your cover.
INSTALL THE BASICS
There are plenty of quick and effective ways to safeguard your property such as additional locks for outbuildings, lights with timers and if your budget allows, alarms and CCTV can also help to secure your home and prevent break ins. It goes without saying to make sure you’re all locked up before your holiday, however, many forget to secure the outside space too. It’s worth adding motion sensors to outdoor lights as this will bring attention that someone is approaching and you may want to invest in smart lighting too, so that you can control inside lights from your phone any time of the day and no matter where in the world you are.
STORE VALUABLES IN A SECURE PLACE
When you’re away and your curtains and blinds are open, move any valuables out of sight. If you have a safe in your home – great, store money, jewellery and laptops inside. If you don’t have the option of a safe, store any valuables you would hate to lose in a secure place. Try somewhere that’s difficult to reach as most burglars will opt for a smash and grab style robbery stealing something of value quickly. Places like bedside drawers and freezers are obvious places to thieves so think outside the box! Ultimately, your best bet is to take your valuables with you, or give them to a family member to conceal whilst you’re on holiday.
CALL ON FRIENDS, FAMILY OR NEIGHBOURS
Asking somebody you trust to keep an eye on your home will give you additional peace of mind when you’re out of the country. Whether it’s a friend, family member or nearby neighbour, knowing that somebody is on hand to watch out for anything untoward will save you additional worry when you should be in relax mode. If you’re jetting off for more than a couple of days, it’s worth asking them to remove any free post or newspapers that may be jutting out of your letterbox – again, opportunist thieves will look for signs like this so eliminate them before they have chance to try their luck. If you’re taking the car with you, then consider also asking a neighbour to park on your drive every now and again, to give the illusion somebody is in.
KEEP UP APPEARANCES
When you’re busy with packing and planning, home and garden maintenance like mowing the lawn and putting away washing is probably bottom of your to do list, however thieves are savvy and know all the tell-tale signs that a home is unoccupied so keep up appearances to give the impression you are home. Outside, put the bins away, mow lawns, trim back bushes and give your plants a water. Inside, be sure to switch off lights and leave your curtains and blinds open too – nothing says ‘empty house’ like curtains and blinds closed in the daytime!
We’ve all been there, you go away and forget to cancel your local milk delivery meaning you come back to bottles of sour milk on your doorstep – gross! Not only will pausing your milk delivery save you from having to deal with this on your return, it will also stop passers by from noticing that nobody is home to take the milk inside. Likewise, if you place online orders before you go away that are due for delivery when you’re on holiday, make sure to have them delivered to a family member’s address instead and avoid parcels stacking up outside and showcasing you’re not home.
LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA USE
It’s tempting to share what you’re getting up to on holiday on platforms like Instagram, however beware that this is essentially advertising the fact that your home is unoccupied. If your account is set to public, or you’re in the habit of letting anyone follow you, the reality is you just don’t know who is looking at your account and you could be attracting unwanted attention. By all means, take as many photos and videos as you like, but maybe wait until you’re back home to share away!