How To Keep Your Home Safe When You’re On Holiday

And have peace of mind

It goes without saying that if you’re going on holiday (or even just out for the day!), you want to leave knowing your home is as secure as it can be. But other than the obvious measures, such as having locks on all the doors and windows, what else can you do to help keep your home safe whilst you go on holiday? 

Keep it to yourself

First things first - it might be tempting to tell everybody about your upcoming holiday, but try not to. It’s best to share your holiday plans on a need to know basis only, such as letting family, close friends and work colleagues know. 

Whilst it’s a pretty risky move to make, you’d be surprised at how many people think nothing of announcing their travel plans on social media, even going as far as to publically countdown the days until they leave for the airport. It might seem harmless enough, but it’s actually a pretty silly thing to do - you’re potentially letting hundreds (if not thousands in some cases!) of people know you’re not going to be at home for the next two weeks. 

Remember that the nature of social media means that you are unlikely to know all of the people you might be friends with and who follow you, and chances are you wouldn’t want to/feel the need to tell them about your upcoming holiday if you bumped into one another in the street. You might think it’s extreme to think that a potential burglar is sat lurking in your friends list, but remember not all burglars are ‘professional’ so to speak. Many are opportunists, and letting everybody know you’re not going to be at home might actually tempt somebody into paying your home an unwanted visit believing they’ll easily get away with it, and with some of your valuables too.

Remember too that once you’re actually on your holiday, posting pictures of you and your family on the beach is another way of letting people know that your home is currently stood empty. Top tip? Be mindful of everything you’re posting to social media regarding your holiday!



Ask neighbours

Next door neighbours can be great allies provided you get along with them, and having a good relationship means that you can ask them to keep an eye on your home whilst you’re away. They might even carry out small jobs for you such as quickly tidying the garden, parking one of their cars down your driveway and even taking the bins out for you to make it look as though somebody is home. You might also want to ask your neighbours to collect any post for you that gathers whilst you’re not at home, and if you have an outside letterbox, you might want to consider giving them the key so they can remove any leaflets and other post accumulating inside - a jammed letterbox is a very good indicator to burglars that a house is empty.

Burglars will also check through letterboxes in front doors to see if letters are starting to build up in the hallway. If you feel happy giving your neighbour the keys to your house, you can also ask them to quickly pop in and collect your post for you or at least put it out of the way where nobody can see it gathering. It doesn’t just have to be your neighbour either -  if you have a trustworthy friend or relative you can always ask them to drop in for you if you prefer. 



Finally if there is nobody you can ask to collect your post, the Royal Mail have a Keepsafe service. You can ask them to save any post for you for up to 66 days for a fee (17 days costs £14.00 which would cover the time most people are away on their holidays). You can find out more here

Make it look like somebody is home

One of the best things you can do to protect your home is to create the illusion that somebody is home. As already mentioned, you can ask your neighbours to help, however the reality of the situation is that even with a car parked down the drive and a tidy lawn, a house sat in total darkness in the evening can be a really obvious sign that nobody is home. Curtains in particular are a difficult one - drawing them before you go away really does make it look like nobody is home during the daytime, whilst leaving them open makes the house look empty on a night time. So if you can get somebody to help then it’s well worth it, as burglars can canvass a street for a few days to learn the patterns of people who come and go in a home and at what times, so if they spot that your home looks the same day in and day out with no lights on and the curtains always open (or closed), they’ll quickly identify your house as a possible target. 

Ask somebody you trust to come over in the evenings and draw your curtains and switch on some lights for you whilst they stick around for an hour or so. If they have the time, see if they’d be happy to come back on a morning or at least at some point during the day and open the curtains again for you so it looks as though somebody is about at different times of the day. You could also see if somebody that you trust is available to come and live in your home for the entire time that you’re away. 



It might well be however that you don’t have anybody who is free to check on your home for you every day let alone live in it for you, but fear not! There are still a few things you can do to help make it look as though somebody is home in the meantime. Security timers can be picked up cheaply from retailers such as Argos, and you can time them to switch the lights on in your home at a certain time and switch off a few hours later to create the illusion that somebody is home, particularly in the evenings when most people would typically be home from work. You don’t just have to use security timers for the lights in your home either, you can use them to switch appliances on in your home such as the TV and radio. The noise from these can act as further deterrents to anybody looking for a vulnerable property to target.

Hide valuables

Another tip for when you’re going away is to not leave valuables in sight through windows and doors. Leaving items such as laptops and your TV in plain view will only encourage people to break in rather than deter them, as it’ll be clear to anybody looking to break in, that your house is home to items worth stealing. Tuck things out of sight and hide items well out the way. You don’t have to go over the top and hide belongings deep in the attic, but tucking laptops away in a sock drawer might not be such a bad idea. It’s also a good habit to get into for whenever you’re out of the house in general, holiday or not. 



It’s not just your house to think about...

Once you’re happy that you’ve taken all steps to leave your home secure whilst you’re away, don’t forget about your garden and any outbuildings you may have. Burglars will look through your garden and check if they can easily access your garden shed and garage and get to tools that could help them break into your home. Make sure tools are locked away, and that things such as ladders if they won’t fit into a shed or garage, are securely chained up. 


 

Publish date: 11/09/2017