How To Keep Your Home Safe While You're On Vacation

You deserve a vacation after working hard, so carving out the time to relax, have fun, and explore new environments might be what you need. But what you don't deserve is to come back from vacation to find that your home has been burglarized since that would undoubtedly reverse all the calm you've gained over the break. Unfortunately, your home can be a prime target for thieves if you're away for long periods, especially if you don't have good security features in place. Experienced burglars have spotting empty homes down to a science, and with no one around, they are more likely to break in and rifle through your home for valuables, says Protection1

However, there are some ways to keep your home safe while you're on vacation, like arranging for a house sitter to care for your pets and water your plants. Taking this step can be an excellent preventive measure against invaders. But that's not the only safety tip we have for you — we detail a few that you can incorporate for your next trip. 

Take caution with what you share online

If you're excited about your upcoming vacation, it's only natural to want to share all the fun activities on your itinerary. But it would be best if you don't put this information on the internet. Announcing your absence from home can leave your property and belongings vulnerable to thieves, whether for days or weeks. So, here's what we suggest: Before your vacation, don't reveal that you're going out of town, where you're going, or how long you'll be gone. 

You should also reconsider sharing personal details on your social media, such as your full name and city, since that may be all the information an unscrupulous person needs to find your address in public records. An innocent photo of the exterior of your house can also roll the red carpet to your residence. According to Vox, no legislation prohibits the compilation of personal data online, so your shopping habits, age, relatives' names, etc., could be out in the world for all to see. 

You should also look at the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts. You may unknowingly share personal data with a broader audience than you intended. Secure your account, so your posts are private or only presented to friends. You can also postpone sharing any media from your vacation until you get home. But if you want to share photos and videos in real time, do not geotag your posts, as it can reveal your out-of-town location.

Your house should look occupied

Homes that look vacant are the top targets for thieves, and therefore, your home should look occupied even if you'll be away for a few days or a week. Bob Vila suggests having your lights on a timer and setting them to turn on at night and off during the day to deter thieves from entering the property.

You also want to get your lawn mowed and your hedges cut before you leave — an unkempt yard can make your property look vacant. And if you're going to be traveling for a long time, you may want to hire a lawn care company to take care of your greenery while you're away. 

Another signal of an empty house is mail or packages piled up high on the porch. Therefore, before you leave for vacation, you should ask the post office to hold your mail temporarily or for a neighbor or family member to come by and pick them up. Do the same with newspapers, magazines, and other physical subscriptions and automated deliveries.

Know what entices burglars

Burglars don't want to raise any suspicion; they want to get in and out of your property easily and quickly. So knowing what they look for in a target can prevent your home from becoming one. Once they determine a house is empty, they begin to case the place to figure out how to get inside. Alexia A. Chianis, a former police officer, says that a burglar's preferred method of getting into a house includes open windows, unlocked doors, garages, and pet doors, according to YourLocalSecurity.

Be sure to close and lock all windows and doors before leaving. Automatic pet doors that unlock with a collar can be a solution for thieves getting through pet doors. Remove all spare keys from their outdoor hiding areas, and if you're not driving to your vacation spot and have a garage door opener in your car, be sure to disable or uninstall it. 

You can also deter thieves from entering your property by installing motion-activated lights and a security system around your home. Display the security system sign in your yard, where a thief would see it if they trespass on your property. Fundamentally, making your house look like a difficult target will not entice thieves and other home invaders.