Summer vacation is right around the corner… As the weather warms up and school comes to a close, we all look forward to spending time relaxing with family or travelling to a faraway, exotic location. While vacation time is the best time of the year for most people, it’s also a time when your home may be vulnerable so it’s important to plan how you will protect your home when you go away, even if it’s just for a weekend.

The best way to secure your home is to have vigilant neighbours. Close-knit communities can help by being vigilant when any suspicious activity is happening so make sure you get to know your neighbours. Watch out for their property, and ask them to watch out for yours.

If you have a person you completely trust who can stay over while you’re away, invite them to house sit. The added benefit of a house sitter is that the person can also bring in the mail, water your plants, look after your pets and turn on different lighting. Even someone who comes in once a day just to feed the pets will help make your house a little more secure while you are away.

In addition to the above, the following are simple measures you can implement to better secure your home – while you rest easy on vacation.

15 Tips To Secure Your Home While Away On Vacation:

Home camera security system

Home camera security system

1. Install a security system.

If you do not have one already, consider installing a security system in your home. There are many different types of solutions, and which one you select will depend on your needs. For example, do you rent or do you own? Are you planning to move in the next 1 to 3 years? Do you need mobile access? Do you want or need cameras? Outlining your requirements prior to contacting security companies will help you know which solution will work best for your needs. When you have identified your needs, make sure you all research the company by reading reviews of their products, services and customer service.

2. Do a walk around of your home.

Walk around your home and try and think like a thief – particularly in areas of your property that are out of sight of neighbours. Are there any points of entry that might be easily breached such as basement windows or sliding glass doors? If yes, fix them immediately.

3. Think about weekly tasks.

Arrange to have someone cut your grass or take out the garbage if you will be gone for a week or more. An overgrown lawn and no garbage on the curb on garbage day are signs that you’re not home.

houseplants

Image courtesy of House Beautiful

4. Remember your plants.

Make sure you have someone water your flowers so your house does not look deserted. Wilting and dry plants are a sure sign you’re away from home. If a neighbour is coming to get the mail, ask them to water your plants too.

5. Timing is everything.

Put your lights and television on timers that better reflect normal routines. If you regularly turn a certain light on at evening, make sure it still flips on periodically when you are not at home.

6. Don’t broadcast your vacation.

Don’t publicise that you will be away to anyone but a trusted neighbour and close family. Shy away from tweeting or commenting on Facebook, unless someone is staying at your house while you’re away. Do not leave a voicemail greeting noting your vacation.

Photo courtesy of Lighting Innovation and Design Inc.

Photo courtesy of Lighting Innovation and Design Inc.

7. Light up your home.

Consider installing solar lights in your garden or motion-sensor flood lights. They come on nightly and can give the illusion of someone being home. Likewise, housebreakers prefer dark places where they are easily concealed, brightening up your outside acts as a deterrent.

8. Take care of valuables.

Use a bolted safe or rent a safety deposit box for major valuables. Hide other valuables out of sight.

9. Lock up your shed.

Don’t forget to lock up your sheds – especially if they offer easy access to tools that might help burglars get into your house.

10. Pack out of site.

If you are packing your car for a longer road trip, do the packing in the garage.

Solid garage doors can help with security while you're away.

Solid garage doors can help with security while you’re away.

11. Don’t forget to lock the garage.

Lock the garage door, and unplug the automatic opener.

12. Make it look like you’re still home.

Resist the temptation to draw the blinds. The trick is to appear as though you are still at home. Any change to your normal activity will be a beacon to a burglar.

13. Check your locks.

Check all doors and windows to make sure they are bolted and/or locked. All outside doors should have a deadbolt.

14. Leave the car in its normal spot.

If you are flying out of town or leaving a car behind, park it where you would normally.

keys

Image courtesy of Stay at Home Mum

15. Give a housesitter the key directly.

Do not leave a key for your trusted neighbour or pet-sitter hidden under a rock on the porch or in the mailbox. These are typical places people check for spare keys. Instead, give it to them to make sure they have it in hand before you leave.

Whatever you do, make sure you are happy with your choices and feel that your home will be secure while you are away so you can fully enjoy your vacation!

Posted by Leslie Andrachuk