How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

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By tom.baldridge

Planning a vacation is exciting, but overlooking the security of your home can add unnecessary stress to your getaway. With our helpful checklist, you can ensure that your house remains protected while you’re away. From securing your doors and windows to setting up smart home devices, this article provides valuable tips to safeguard your home and give you peace of mind during your vacation.

Table of Contents

How to Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Comprehensive Checklist

1. Secure Doors and Windows

1.1 Check and reinforce door locks

Before leaving for your vacation, it is essential to check all your door locks and ensure they are secure. Make sure all locks are functioning properly and there are no loose screws or damaged parts. If you notice any issues, it’s a good idea to replace the locks or consult a professional locksmith to reinforce them.

1.2 Install deadbolt locks

One of the most effective ways to enhance the security of your doors is by installing deadbolt locks. Deadbolt locks provide an extra layer of protection, as they are more resistant to forced entry compared to regular locks. Consider installing a single-cylinder deadbolt or, for maximum security, a double-cylinder deadbolt that requires a key from both sides.

1.3 Reinforce window locks

Windows are often targeted by burglars as they can serve as easy entry points to your home. Check the condition of your window locks and reinforce them if necessary. Consider replacing old or weak locks with new ones that are more robust and tamper-resistant. Additionally, ensure that all windows are closed and locked before you leave.

1.4 Install security bars or grilles

For an added layer of security, consider installing security bars or grilles on your windows. These can prevent burglars from gaining access even if the window is broken. Opt for high-quality bars or grilles that are difficult to remove or tamper with. However, make sure they can be easily opened or removed from the inside in case of an emergency.

1.5 Use security film on glass windows

Another option to reinforce your windows is by applying security film. This transparent and adhesive film can make the glass more resistant to shattering, making it harder for intruders to break in. Security film is an affordable and effective way to improve the security of your windows without significantly altering their appearance.

1.6 Secure sliding glass doors

Sliding glass doors are potential weak points in your home’s security. To prevent unauthorized access, install a security bar or rod on the bottom track of the sliding door. This will impede the door from being forced open, even if the lock is bypassed. Consider adding an auxiliary lock or a pin lock for additional security.

1.7 Seal windows and doors for energy efficiency

While ensuring the security of your doors and windows, don’t forget about energy efficiency. Properly sealing windows and doors can not only prevent drafts and save energy but also make it harder for burglars to pry them open. Check for any gaps or cracks around windows and doors and seal them with weatherstripping or caulk.

2. Enhance Exterior Lighting

2.1 Install motion sensor lights

A well-lit exterior can deter potential burglars by making your home less attractive as a target. Consider installing motion sensor lights around the perimeter of your property. These lights will automatically turn on when motion is detected, alerting you or your neighbors to any potential intruders. Place them strategically near entryways, paths, and dark corners.

2.2 Utilize timers for indoor and outdoor lights

Creating the illusion that someone is home is an effective way to prevent burglaries. Set up timers for your indoor and outdoor lights to turn on and off at different times throughout the day and night. This will give the impression that the house is occupied, making it less appealing to intruders.

2.3 Use solar-powered garden lights

Solar-powered garden lights can not only illuminate your outdoor spaces but also help enhance your home’s security. These lights are energy-efficient and require no wiring, making them easy to install. Place them strategically along pathways, near entrances, or around the perimeter to increase visibility and deter potential intruders.

2.4 Illuminate entryways and pathways

Ensure that your entryways and pathways are well-lit to create a safer environment. Consider installing bright lights near your front and back doors, garage doors, and any other entrances. Illuminating these areas will not only discourage burglars but also provide better visibility for you and your neighbors.

How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

3. Suspend Mail and Packages

3.1 Request a hold mail service

A mailbox overflowing with mail is a clear indication that nobody is home. Before you leave for your vacation, contact your local post office and request a hold mail service. This service will temporarily halt the delivery of your mail until you return, preventing it from piling up and signaling your absence.

3.2 Ask someone to collect your mail/packages

If a hold mail service is not available in your area, ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to collect your mail and packages regularly. Providing them with a spare key will enable them to retrieve your mail, giving the impression that someone is still at home.

3.3 Install a secure mailbox with a lock

Consider upgrading your mailbox to a more secure version with a lock. This prevents unauthorized access to your mail while you’re away. A locked mailbox adds an extra layer of protection and ensures that your personal information remains confidential.

4. Set Up Home Security System

4.1 Install a monitored alarm system

Investing in a professionally monitored alarm system can significantly enhance the security of your home. These systems can detect unauthorized access and trigger an alarm, alerting a security company that will notify the authorities if necessary. Ensure that all entry points are equipped with sensors and that the alarm system is armed before you leave.

4.2 Place security cameras strategically

Strategically placing security cameras around your property can act as both a deterrent and a means of evidence if a break-in occurs. Install cameras near entry points, in blind spots, and other vulnerable areas. Opt for high-definition cameras with night vision capabilities for optimal surveillance even in low-light conditions.

4.3 Utilize smart home security technology

Consider integrating smart home security devices into your overall security system. These devices offer features such as remotely controlling locks, receiving real-time notifications, and even monitoring your home via security cameras from your smartphone. Smart technology can provide an extra layer of convenience and peace of mind while you’re away.

4.4 Test your security system before leaving

Before you embark on your vacation, it is crucial to test your home security system to ensure that everything is functioning correctly. Arm the alarm system, check each sensor, and make sure you receive the appropriate notifications. Testing your security system will give you confidence that your home is adequately protected while you’re away.

How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

5. Inform Trusted Neighbors

5.1 Let neighbors know about your absence

Informing your trusted neighbors about your absence is a wise step to take. Let them know the dates you’ll be away and provide them with emergency contact information. Having neighbors who are aware of your absence can help in keeping an eye on your property and quickly reporting any suspicious activities.

5.2 Exchange contact information

Exchange contact information with your neighbors, ensuring that you can reach each other in case of an emergency or to report any concerns. This way, you can maintain a line of communication and provide updates about your return or any unexpected events that may arise.

5.3 Ask them to keep an eye on your property

Request your neighbors to keep an eye on your property while you’re away. Encourage them to report any unusual activities to the local authorities or to a designated emergency contact. Having an extra layer of surveillance and vigilance can deter potential burglars and provide you with added peace of mind.

6. Use Timers for Electronics

6.1 Set timers for lights, TVs, and radios

To create the illusion that your home is occupied, set timers for lights, TVs, and radios. Program them to turn on and off at different intervals to mimic the normal activities of a household. This will give the impression that someone is home, deterring potential intruders.

6.2 Create a realistic at-home presence

When setting timers for your electronics, try to make the schedule as realistic as possible. Vary the timing and duration of lights and other devices according to your usual routines. This will help create a more convincing illusion that your home is not vacant.

How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

7. Secure Valuables and Documents

7.1 Store valuable items in a safe or lockbox

Safeguard your valuable items by storing them in a secure safe or lockbox. This includes jewelry, important documents, cash, and small electronic devices. Choose a safe that is fireproof and resistant to tampering. Securely anchor the safe to a permanent fixture to prevent it from being easily removed.

7.2 Make digital copies of important documents

Making digital copies of your important documents provides an extra layer of protection. Scan or photograph documents such as passports, identification cards, insurance policies, and other essential paperwork. Store these digital copies securely on encrypted storage devices or utilize a secure cloud service.

7.3 Store backup data in a secure cloud service

Consider backing up critical data from your electronic devices and storing it in a secure cloud service. This will ensure that even if your devices are compromised or stolen, your important files and documents remain accessible. Choose a reputable cloud service provider that encrypts your data and provides reliable backup solutions.

8. Maintain Yard and Exterior

8.1 Hire someone to mow the lawn

Unkempt lawns can indicate an empty or neglected home, making it attractive to potential burglars. Before leaving, arrange for someone to mow your lawn regularly. This will give the impression that your home is well-maintained and occupied.

8.2 Arrange for snow removal or leaf raking

If you’re going on vacation during the snowy or leaf-falling season, arrange for snow removal or leaf raking services. Accumulated snow or a yard covered in fallen leaves can signal that nobody is currently residing in the house. By keeping your property well-maintained, you minimize the risk of it becoming a target for burglars.

8.3 Trim trees and shrubs to deter burglars

Overgrown trees and shrubs can provide cover for potential burglars while they attempt to gain access to your home. Take the time to trim any overhanging branches, especially near windows and entry points. Additionally, maintain clear visibility around your property to eliminate potential hiding spots.

How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

9. Avoid Advertising Your Absence

9.1 Refrain from posting vacation details on social media

It’s important to resist the urge to share your vacation plans on social media platforms. Broadcasting your absence and posting pictures from your trip can inadvertently alert burglars that your home is vacant. Save your travel stories and photos for when you return home to maintain the security of your property.

9.2 Have someone regularly check your property

Whether it’s a trusted neighbor, a friend, or a house-sitter, making arrangements for someone to regularly check on your property can provide an additional layer of security. Their periodic presence can deter potential burglars and ensure that any issues are addressed promptly.

9.3 Use timers for outdoor lights and sprinklers

Invest in outdoor light timers to give the impression that your home is occupied during the evening hours. Additionally, consider utilizing timers for sprinklers to maintain the appearance of routine maintenance while you’re away. Both measures can help create the illusion of an inhabited and well-cared-for property.

10. Prepare Emergency Contact Information

10.1 Compile a list of emergency contacts

Compile a list of emergency contacts and leave it in a visible location for anyone checking on your home. Include local law enforcement, fire department, your trusted neighbors’ contact information, as well as your own emergency contact details. Ensure that each contact is readily accessible in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

10.2 Leave a spare key with a trusted person

Provide a spare key to a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member who can assist you in case of an emergency. This person should be someone you trust to enter your home only when necessary or as authorized by you. Avoid hiding spare keys outside, as burglars are adept at finding hidden keys.

10.3 Inform local law enforcement about your absence

Notify your local law enforcement agency about your absence to have them include your property on their routine patrol routes. Informing them of your vacation plans will increase their vigilance in your area and provide an added layer of protection. Additionally, they will be aware of your contact details if any incidents occur at your property.

By following these comprehensive guidelines, you can significantly enhance the security of your home during your vacation. Remember, prevention and preparedness are key to ensuring peace of mind so that you can fully enjoy your time away. Stay safe and enjoy your well-deserved break!

How To Protect Your Home During Vacation: A Checklist

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