When you are about to go on holiday your mind is probably thinking about packing, buying currency, getting travel insurance, booking an airport car park space and making sure you have packed your passport.
Do you think about the security of the home you are leaving behind?
Here are our top 10 tips for keeping your home safe while on holiday:
Leave your curtains open or closed? Many people have the strong belief that you should close your curtains when you are away so that a burglar cannot see in. However, this is a key sign for burglars that you are out especially when they can see the curtains closed during the day. Once they break into your home, they can take their time moving around looking for your valuables as no-one can see them.
Be careful about who you tell about your upcoming exciting holiday! It is exciting going on holiday and you probably want to tell everyone but be careful who is listening. You can trust your close friends and family and it is wise to tell your neighbours, however, if you tell everyone in your local shop you don’t know who may be listening. Ensure that if you mention your holiday on social media you either wait until you get back or only post on private groups. Some people are also tempted to update their answerphone message to say that they are on holiday and when they will return but remember it is not just your friends that may phone your number.
Hide your valuables We advised you to keep your curtains open so don’t leave any valuables such as expensive jewellery near a window. This is good advice even when you are not away but especially important if you are on holiday. Distribute your valuables around your house and don’t just hide all your best jewellery in your sock drawer as this is an obvious hiding place for burglars. Leave some cheap jewellery or some money in an obvious place so that if the worst does happen, hopefully, the burglars will grab that and run.Breaking into houses to get car keys for valuable cars is very common nowadays. If your car will be left sitting in the drive the whole time you are away it may be worthwhile leaving the keys with a friend or neighbour.
Insurance By now you will have your travel insurance sorted but have you checked your house insurance? Are you covered if you are away for more than 14 days? Are there any exclusions eg are you insured if someone else stays in your home whilst you are away?
Tidy your garden If you are going away during the summer months when grass and weeds grow quickly, it won’t take long for your home to look like the house may be vacant. Before you go cut the grass, tidy the borders and ensure any tools are locked safely in a shed or garage.
Cancel deliveries Cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers. Don’t be tempted by online shopping the week before you go on holiday unless you are certain your goods will be delivered on time. The last thing you want is your goods being left in normally safe places around your house like your back door, greenhouse or bin.
Security To make your home look occupied, invest in a light on a timer switch that will come on for a few hours in the evening. Light up a room that you normally use in the evening. Some people are inclined to set the hall light to come on or a table lamp near a window. These are both quite obvious to a burglar. If you have an alarm ensure it is in good working order. If you don’t, we recommend installing a burglar alarm system as this is a great deterrent. We can visit your home and provide a free quote for a new alarm system and/or CCTV. We will also point out any other home security risks that we can see.
Kind neighbours If you are going to be away for more than a week, it is a good idea to ask a trusted neighbour to pop into your home a few times to remove mail from the front door and to water your plants. Wilting flowers and piles of post are other giveaways to burglars that you are not at home. If your neighbour has a couple of cars and you are taking yours away, you could ask them to park in your drive sometimes.
Early morning start If you are leaving early in the morning to catch a flight or ferry, please don’t be tempted to pack your car with your luggage the night before. It may make it easier and quicker in the morning but it is a clear sign to anybody walking by that you are going away.
Final checks The last checks you need to do before you head off for a great holiday are:
Are all windows locked?
Are all devices switched off?
Keep your router switched on if your alarm or camera are using an app.
Close internal doors so that an intruder can’t see right through your house from one window.
Empty your bins (you don’t want to come back to a smelly house)!