Are you planning to take a trip sometime soon but are worried about the security of your home?
If so, this is completely understandable.
Protecting your home while on vacation is a serious matter, and sadly, one that many homeowners neglect to even think about. So, the fact that you’re concerned about home security while on vacation means you’ll improve your chances of keeping your most valuable asset safe.
If you’re traveling in the summer months, taking the proper steps to secure your home is even more important because household burglaries are reported to be higher during this season.
If you’re taking a winter vacation, it’s still important to protect your home while away but there is some comfort knowing that break-ins are not as prevalent during the colder months. But, that doesn’t it mean it won’t happen to you.
As your trusty companion, I’m here to share with you some of the best ways to secure your home while on vacation so you can have total peace of mind while you’re traveling.
By following these precautions below, you can keep your mind focused on your travels without worrying too much about what’s going on back at home.
Examine the exterior
The first thing you should do to ensure your home doesn’t become a target for burglars is to examine the exterior from a criminal’s point of view.
From the street, can you see any valuables or equipment through the windows or lying around outside?
If a passerby can see these types of belongings, so can a burglar.
Before leaving on your trip, pack up any expensive outdoor equipment and store it inside. Also, move anything of value indoors away from being seen through the windows. This is the best way for how to leave your house when on vacation.
Lock all doors and windows
This may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many break-ins occur through an unlocked front door or window – 32% to be exact.
One of the easiest ways for how to keep your home safe while on vacation is to do a sweep of your entire home and make sure that all doors and windows are locked.
Better yet, ensure that all entry doors have a deadbolt, which is much harder for a criminal to get through than picking a doorknob lock.
If you have a mobile phone or tablet, you can now even get smart door locks that can be fully controlled by one of those devices. A smart door lock can alert you via the mobile device if, and when, the lock is opened. You can also lock and unlock it no matter where you may be in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection and have the lock set up properly.
To ensure complete peace of mind during your next vacation, consider installing a smart door lock. You can find the best WiFi door lock here with the highest ratings and my personal reviews.
Secure sliding glass doors
The unfortunate thing about sliding glass doors is that you can’t add easily add a deadbolt to them.
In this case, it’s best to just stick a 2×4 that has been cut to the right length inside the door track. This will prevent the door from being slid open if a criminal does pick the lock.
Disable your garage door
Did you know that a burglar can easily get into your home through an electronic garage door?
All it takes is a simple universal remote and a couple of tries with various key codes in order to gain control of your garage door.
So before heading out on your trip, unplug your garage door sensor so it doesn’t have any power running to it. That way, if a thief does try to tap into your system, he won’t get very far since the power has been disabled.
In addition, you should also secure the door by tightening a C-clamp onto the track next to the rollers. It only takes a few seconds for a skilled robber to shimmy a coat hanger through a crack and use it to open the emergency latch. A tight C-clamp will make it impossible for the intruder to get your garage door open.
Use light timers
An easy way to make it seem like you’re home, even when you’re not, is by putting your interior lights on a timer.
A cheap device like this plugs into your power outlet and then controls the lights that are plugged into it.
You can set up a daily schedule for your lights to come on in the evening, and then turn off when you’d normally go to be. Some products even give you the ability to add additional on/off times so you can really make it look real.
For example, you could set up a timer to flip your lights on at 2:30 a.m. for about 15 minutes. Any criminal who is casing your home may witness this and then think someone must be home because it’s such an odd time for lights to come on.
Install a doorbell camera
This tip is not only a great idea for when you’re going on vacation but it’s also a one of the top home electronic gadgets to keep your property safe.
Instead of just having a standard doorbell that rings when someone pushes it, you can install a cheap doorbell camera that acts as both a ringer and video camera.
These inexpensive devices can record every interaction that happens at your door during the day at night. Most products also come with motion detection, so it will instantly start recording when the slightest movement is picked up in front of your door.
The best feature of doorbell cameras, however, is that they include a microphone for two-way communication. What this does is allows you to answer the door through an intercom system that’s linked to your smartphone.
With a doorbell camera, you can talk with visitors and make them think that you’re at home, when in fact, you’re far away on a vacation.
I rate and review the best wireless video doorbell camera, as well as four other top competitors. Take a look and see for yourself how inexpensive these products are and how easy it is to install them.
Enlist the help of a neighbor
Do you have a neighbor that you trust?
If so, let this person know that you’re going on a vacation and them for their help to make it look like someone is still home.
As this trusted neighbor to put your trash containers out on the curb for trash pick-up day and return them after the truck has made its rounds. If possible, have this person randomly park their car in your driveway to make it look like a visitor has stopped by at unexpected intervals.
If you haven’t stopped your mail or newspaper, enlist this neighbor to collect your parcels for you so they don’t stack up at the mailbox or on your front door.
The goal here is to eliminate any clues that look like you’re not at home.
Leave the air conditioner running
You may shudder at the thought of spending money to cool your home during a hot summer while you’re away on vacation, but trust me, this tip is a lot more practical than you may think.
Air conditioner compressors make a lot of noise and having a silent compressor hot days is a clear indication that you’re not around.
In order to fake like you’re home, find out what the forecasted temperature is going to be while you’re away, then set your thermostat to a few degrees cooler. This way the air conditioner will kick on and off a few times throughout the day without wasting too much money.
If you’d like to have even more control over your air conditioner while on vacation, consider installing a cheap Wi-Fi thermostat.
A Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature inside your home through your mobile device. This is really handy when you’re at home and don’t want to get up to change the dial, but it’s also a great feature to have when you’re traveling too.
As long as you have an Internet connection, you can turn your AC on and off as much as you’d like and set up weekly temperature schedules.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out my complete guide on the cheapest smart thermostat for your home.
Mow your lawn
If you’re heading out for a week or more during the summer, find someone who can mow your lawn for you. Nothing screams, “we’re not home” louder than an overgrown lawn.
Leave your blinds how they are
A common thing a lot of people do when they go on vacation is shut their blinds and curtains.
This is a telltale sign for robbers that you’re not coming back anytime soon.
If you don’t normally cover up your windows when you’re at home, then don’t do it when you’re away. Leave your blinds how they are. The more normal your home looks, the better is for deterring criminals.
When in doubt… install a security system
If after following the above tips you’re still not satisfied with the security of your home, it may just be best for you to have a home security system installed.
While home security systems are not cheap, they do give you a level of peace of mind that no other tip or trick can do. And this is highly important when you’re vacationing.
A home security system can give you the comfort that if someone does break into your home, they’ll most likely be scared away by the loud sirens and flashing lights before they take anything of value.
At the same time, you can rest assured that the police will be notified to respond to the alert, and hopefully, capture the intruder before they have a chance to get away.
Have a safe and enjoyable trip!