The holiday season is fast approaching us and we are all busily preparing for going away, whether that be a holiday abroad or a staycation.
The suitcases are coming down from the loft, summer clothes are making there way back into our wardrobes from storage over the winter months and we are eyeing up the swimming costumes wondering if we really need 3 or if last years still fits us. You may have even remembered the codes for your alarms or your Panasonic Home Security cameras in preparation.
Legs are being shaved and tans topped up ready, factor 50 is top of our shopping lists and sunglasses and hats are out ready to grab as we head out of the door, you may think that it’s just the little things left to do now such as a last minute panic that your passport is still valid and changing up the holiday money.
However, there are many other things to consider when heading off on holiday – those things which can be easily forgotten but will be the biggest clues to others that you are away – clues burglars will be looking out for in a bid to gain easy access to your home while away, then there is general security and household safety.
I know that is a horrid thought but things happen beyond our control such as fires, break-ins etc.
Here are a few tips to help secure your home while away
- Cancel the milk/newspapers
Leaving the milk on the doorstep is a sure sign that you are away on holiday, almost like leaving a note on the door telling everyone.
The same can be said for letters on the door mat and bins left out after collection day. If you have a trusted neighbour it is a good idea to ask them to bring the bin in for you (perhaps offer to do the same for them when they go away), and ask them to push any letters all the way through the door if they see them hanging out a little
- Unplug and switch off
Unplug all the items you can do and don’t leave items on standby. Of course you can’t unplug the fridge but TV’s, radios, chargers etc. can be left unplugged.
You may also want to think about turning off the gas and water if you are away for a longer period of time
- Install timers for your lights
There are lots of different devices you can get which will turn on and off devices and lights within your home – I have a mydome light switch timer for my lights, this is fitted over the light switches and is battery powered, I set the timer for a time to put on the lights and another to turn them off again – it was very easy to install by just unscrewing the screws a little and sliding it over the switches. It has various setting options so it can come on in the morning and again at night time and I can also programme different times for different days – it’s great for making sure I don’t come home to complete darkness.
- Don’t leave the curtains closed
Unless you always have your curtains closed during the day this can be a visual sign that you are away. You may want to ask a friend, family member or even a trusted neighbour to close them on a few of the evenings.
- Remove keys from locks
This is something which should be done anyway but try not to leave window keys in the locks or door keys in the locks – it won’t of course stop someone breaking in but if you make it harder for them then that is a bonus
- Lock all valuables away out of sight
Don’t leave your jewellery laying around in plain sight, put in in a cupboard or in the wardrobe/a locked safe out of sight
- Check smoke alarms and burglar alarms
These take seconds to test and give you so much peace of mind. My smoke alarm is linked to my smart phone so if it starts going off I get a test message and an email telling me where the smoke/fire is – you can read my nest review here. There are lots of various alarm systems you could have in place, some even link up to your TV, Smart phone or even your tablets and can live stream footage as it happens. These can be handy for alerting you if someone is on your property
- Cut the grass before you go away
Mines currently looking like a jungle however I’m not away, uncut grass can be another sign of an unoccupied house – in my case it just means I am too lay/busy to do it but don’t make it obvious you are away (no one could mistake my house for empty with the kids screaming in the back garden)
- Leave a key with a neighbour/someone trusted locally
Should there be a problem it is always handy to have someone local with a key and make sure they have your contact numbers for emergencies
- Don’t advertise on social media that you are away
It’s hard I get it but checking into a hotel or airport etc. just shows others you are away, we wouldn’t like to think of someone on our friends list breaking in but how secure are you settings on all your profiles? Can everyone see or even friends of friends? I always have a house and dog sitter so never actually leave my house empty but not everyone does that.
Are there any things you do to secure your home while away which I’ve forgotten?