Traveling readers are you worried about home security?

When on vacation, it’s not surprising that the last thing travelers want to think about is how things are going back home. Vacations are supposed to be a time to leave everything behind for a few days and relax! However, if you’re someone who has a lot to leave behind, whether it be pets or simply a large amount of valuables, leaving for more than a short period of time can be more stressful than staying.

Unfortunately, thieves love nothing more than targeting an empty house. As the Insurance Information Institute has reported, most burglaries occur during summer months. Why? Because the summer is when families find the time to travel.

Worrying about the safety of your home is normal, but shouldn’t be a detriment to your vacation. To better prepare yourself for longer trips, plan ahead and follow a few safety precautions.



Make Your Home Look Lived-In

The biggest green light for potential burglars is a home that appears empty. Newspapers piled up, lights always off, a car in the driveway that never moves... all of these can be indicators that the homeowners aren’t just busy, they’re gone.

To prevent your house from looking abandoned, ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to maintain your property while you’re gone. This means picking up the mail, mowing the lawn if necessary, and even moving your car around, or possibly parking their own car in your driveway. If you think that might be too much pressure for one person, consider calling the post office in order to hold your mail until you return, and prepay for a lawn maintenance company to stop by and trim the landscaping.

For the times when a neighbor is unable to stop by, use a timer to its full potential. Lights can be put on a timer, as can the television. The lights and TV will turn on and off even if no one checks on your home. Possibly the biggest deterrent for thieves is a flashing television, since they aren’t looking for confrontation, but rather an easy, quiet trip in and out of a house - and an active TV usually tells them that someone is there watching.


Lock Up

Travelers already know to check and turn off  heat, air conditioning, water, and electronics, but you should also check that your home is as tightly locked up as possible. Deadbolts are a necessity, and although you may never use them day-to-day, they’re an absolute must before going on vacation. Check that ALL windows are closed and latched shut, even those on the second floor. Many people forget to lock the entrance from garage to house, even though garage doors are the weakest points of entry for any home. Burglars can alter signals to open automatic garages, or easily break a garage door lock. Once inside, they have the perfect hiding spot to pack up a car (or worse, pack up your car) and leave quickly. Leave your spare house key with a neighbor instead of hidden outside your home, and definitely don’t leave your spare car key hanging by the front door.

Set up a few types of automatic security equipment. It could be as simple as adding motion activated lights. Light is the fiercest enemy of a thief that needs darkness to cover him while poking around a backyard. Security cameras well hidden up by the roof or second floor can be both precautionary and helpful if the worst occurs. Cameras provide the best opportunity to pinpoint any suspects, and with the right setup can be checked from anywhere with internet. There are plenty of DIY tips online that can guide you in installing cameras, lights, and more.

Of course, the best security prevention is a fully functional home security system. Ideally, the system should be installed away from a window, where a burglar could see if it’s active or not. Keep the password hidden somewhere on your person, never by the phone or written on a notepad somewhere in the home. Major security system providers, like ADT Security , have a built-in system that also monitors for fire or flood. If your security system only watches for break ins, check that your smoke alarms are charged before leaving.


Hire a Sitter

For many, those with pets perhaps more than others, hiring a sitter may be the best and easiest option. Instead of paying multiple people to do each job asking a friend or family member to step in and stay at your house might be cheaper and less time consuming. At home sitters mean pets can stick to their routine and avoid the stress of a kennel, your home will looked lived-in, and you will have a set of eyes and ears that can update you daily.

Asking a friend or family may be impossible due to their distance or own busy schedule. Luckily, there are resources to hire a live-in sitter. However, be careful that your company of choice runs background checks on employees. House Sitters America, for example, not only performs background checks and cross references police reports, but also requires references. Live-in sitters may ease the process while away, but should be treated as if hiring an employee for your own company. At least one interview is necessary so they can walk through the house, understand what needs to be done, and get to know any pets.

Once the house is taken care of, vacationers can proceed to making sure they have all the security essentials they need pre-trip and while traveling abroad. If all the proper security guidelines are followed for securing your house, you’ll be ready to allow yourself to relax and truly enjoy a long-awaited and much deserved holiday.