When the summer season approaches, we tend to get a little bit preoccupied finding the right vacation spot. And why not? We only have so much time in a day and there are obviously going to be a lot of details to work out.
Our to do list may look something like this – organize our budget, decide where where we want to go, book tickets, make travel arrangements, and the list goes on. Once we’ve got the time blocked off and our trip is a go, then there’s the actual things to do around the home, which usually involved packing of suitcases, calling of cat-sitters, watering of plants, and so forth.
Usually being slightly overly enthusiastic, we often forget about the one thing that we should do before we leave our home – which is to take adequate security measures for preventing possible intrusions in our empty home. Remember that downstairs window that’s always open a crack? That’s not something you want to be thinking of when the airline pilot tells you you’ve just reached cruising altitude.
If you think this is an exaggeration, you might want to think about the fact that, statistically, the number of home intrusions in U.S. is highest in July and August. Well isn’t that interesting?
Therefore, take some of your time and read the following tips that can help in the prevention of some guy named “Curtis” casually ally-ooping himself in through the window (that you left open – whoops!) on the side of your house and systematically removing all that you have acquired over the years.
#1 – Check existing alarms / smart home security
If you have an alarm system, or you are using the services of some security company, inform the company that you will be absent for a while, double check to see that the alarm is properly set before leaving.
Another option is to get a smart home security system set up before you leave to go on your big vacation. They are more affordable now than every and they can put your home security matters no into your own hands by giving you remote access to everything from locks, to cameras, to lights, and more!
#2 – Sharing keys with friends or neighbors
If you give a key to your trusted neighbor, this will allow them to quickly react in case of emergency.
At the same time, with the occasional presence of people in your home, it won’t be noticeable that there’s no one in your home for a longer period of time, so you can deter some intruders from their initial plan to break in an empty home because they won’t think the house has been left alone.
Just be sure not to have this tip backfire. How can that be? Well, its as easy as giving your key to that neighbor you don’t know too well, or your son or daughter’s teenage friend who just last week stole a stereo that you didn’t know about. You need to be very careful when sharing keys. Also, don’t make the amateur vacationer mistake of writing “Janet – the key is in the mailbox. We’ll be back in three weeks!” and taping the note where anyone can see it.
#3 – Unplug everything that doesn’t need to be plugged in while you’re away
You never know when a crazy thunderstorm might roll in and if lightning strikes the wrong spot, you wouldn’t want that any unnecessarily-plugged-in device that you had plugged in to spark up, like some cheap $1 night light you bought that you just left plugged in for no reason.
This is why you should just give your house a good once-over before you leave, or maybe a twice-over, and make sure you don’t leave that faulty piece of electronics plugged in when you’re not home. Also, in recent years, there have been a number of problems with faulty surge protectors and power bars as well, so be mindful of that.
We guarantee that as you go around the house, you’ll no doubt notice at least a couple things that really don’t need to be plugged in.
At the same time, while we’re on the topic of crazy thunderstorms, this touches back on our previous point of giving someone access to your home. If the person is the right person, they’ll have no trouble coming home after a storm to check to make sure your freezer didn’t turn off or your fish tank didn’t lose power.
#4 – Social Media
Here’s one you may or may not have thought of before, which is to say that you might want to avoid posting your location on social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram while you’re on your trip. If you don’t fully understand how some of these social media platforms work, or different apps, you may be putting yourself at risk.
Although you may think that only your close friends and family are the ones following your profiles, there are definitely other people out there who might come across your vacation pictures, figure out who you are, and then pay your house an unwanted visit because they know you’re not there at that very moment. How do they know? Because you just told them and gave them proof! You can never be too careful, as they say…
5. Use of biometric safes and safety deposit boxes
If you have valuables in your home, you can invest in a biometric smart safe for added protection. These kinds of safes are designed to be burglar-proof, using advanced technology to keep everyone out except for you, the owner. The only problem is they aren’t gigantic, so you can’t put larger items in them, but for your most valued possessions, they are unbeatable!
The other alternative is to put certain items in a safety deposit box, or even a storage facility where there’s high security protection. If you have valuables that you don’t feel comfortable leaving alone for weeks or even months at a time, it may be worth the effort.
#6 – Pipes
Pipes are another thing to watch out for when you’re going away on vacation. Giving your pipes a quick inspection can save you a lot of grief later, because it will give you the chance to spot that one rusty pipe that’s leaking and get it fixed before you go. Remember, it could be hidden away somewhere – for instance under your sink. Of course, if you do find a leaky pipe, don’t think that its you who should be the one to fix it…
Often, winter time is a popular time for people to take a vacation to a warmer climate, and, as we all know, winter is a time when problematic pipes decide to burst. If you aren’t there when this happens, this makes the whole situation worse.
So, if you’re taking a winter vacation, or even a summer one, take a good look at your pipes before you go for noticeable damage. If you don’t have time or money to fix a leaky pipe before you go, at least make sure the person you’ve trusted to look after your house is aware of said pipe and they can see how the leak is doing on a daily or at least weekly basis.
Here’s a video showing how to fix a pinhole in a copper pipe.
#7 – Lock all doors and windows
No need to go OCD about this, but feel free to double check everything before you hop in the airways transit van and drive away. Take a walk around your home and make sure you’ve looked at all your home’s weak points, such as terraces, garage, etc.
#8 – Bad spots to hide your key
If you think that “under the mat” is a secret spot for your key, think again.
Thieves know these “secret” places perfectly well. Don’t assume that “under the flower pot” is any better.
#9 – House Insurance Policies
For added protection, get yourself a household insurance policy that will fully protect yourself and your loved ones. Many of us aren’t familiar such expenses, or how much they cost, but they might be worth investigating.
As this video states, house insurance can cover all manner of situations, from fire, to lightning, to people slipping on your property, to some drunk guy driving through your front gate and crashing into your favorite bush. What if your dog bites the mailman through the doggy door? If you haven’t looked into this previously, then you may wish to.
#10 – Motion Sensor Lights
One last thing we’ll suggest, which can be part of your typical smart home security system, is motion sensitive lights. These can be a quick and easy way to deter criminals from wandering onto your property, and they don’t necessarily need to be part of a larger system, if that’s beyond your means.
Here are some of the bestsellers in terms of motion detecting lights on Amazon today…
If you follow these tips, you are reducing the risk of unfortunate events that can be a serious threat to everything that you have created for years. All the effort, capital, love and devoted time could disappear in an instant. Allow yourself a stress-free vacation knowing that you leave your home perfectly safe.