Vacation Safety: How to Protect Your Home While You’re Away

by Ben SanfordJune 20, 2016

Keeping Your Home Safe From Abroad

Whether you’re headed out of town for work or play, leaving your home unattended for any amount of time can be nerve-wracking. While installing alarm systems, purchasing timed solar light systems, and leaving on interior lights are all advantageous ways to keep your property safe, these measures can prove costly over time.

Looking for a few simple ways to protect your home while you’re out of town? Here are some cost-effective, practical ideas for how to protect your home from unwanted attention and suspicious activity while you’re away.

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Reduce or Remove Opportunity

Before you head out of town, take preventive measures to reduce opportunities for others to rob or vandalize your home. Start with deliveries. Packages left sitting by your door for days and overstuffed mailboxes can signal a vacant home, luring potential thieves and alerting them that the home might not be closely monitored.

Call the post office and ask them to hold your mail for the duration of your trip; request to stop any deliveries while you’re away. By minimizing the number of items left unattended on your property, you will eliminate giveaways that your home may be unoccupied.

Another way to help lower opportunity: remove your spare key from the property. Even if your spare key is tucked away in a creative hiding spot, it’s best to gather any spare keys that you’ve placed outside of your home. Consider asking a trusted and reliable family member or friend to hold on to the keys while you’re away. Just be sure to remember to put them back when you return!

Don’t Announce Your Vacation, Especially on Social Media

We know it’s exciting to take a break from your daily routine and to enjoy a getaway out of town, and we understand that you probably want to share the good news and anticipation! But a word of advice: don’t broadcast your vacation. This advice is particularly relevant for people who have public settings for their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, but everyone can benefit from exercising a little precautionary discretion.

Refrain from posting trip details (duration, distance, etc.) until you’ve returned from your journey. Keeping people, especially those you don’t know well (or at all), ignorant of your trip dates and particulars will help safeguard your home from a possible intruder.

Besides, unplugging from your social media channels will encourage you to be present and to fully immerse yourself somewhere outside of your everyday environment.

Sustain the Impression That You Are Home

Think about your average week. What routine tasks do you perform? Taking out the garbage, checking your mail, tending the yard, watering plants, walking the dog, etc., are all probably on the list. One of the most effective ways to discourage robbers and unwanted guests from taking interest in your home is to create the impression that these routines are still happening, without disruption.

Our suggestion on how to make it look like you’re still home? Hire someone to come by daily. Recruit a neighbor, or a teenager of a family friend, to come by daily to check the mail, to water plants, or even to mow the lawn. Consider giving this person a key and encourage them to spend time at the house.

Having someone you trust inside (watching TV, turning on lights, listening to music, opening curtains and blinds) will make it look like there is regular activity inside your home. Looking to take an extra step of precaution? Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, or invite the person coming by to check on your home to stay in your house for the duration of the trip.

When you’re planning your next vacation, keep these tips in mind and put them into action. Knowing your home is protected from thieves and vandals will help give you peace of mind to enjoy your vacation!


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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.