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Protect Your Home While on Vacation

House with gate openAfter you have packed your bags and planned your itinerary, you still need to consider how to best protect your home while on vacation. Of course you never leave expecting that something bad will happen, but it is certainly always best to be prepared, just in case. The basic idea or theme, no matter what tips or advice you take on how to best protect your home while it is unattended, is that you should do everything you can in order to make it look like there are still people and signs of activity in the home.

Protect Your Home While on Vacation: Basic Tips

If it looks like there are still people at home, you are much less likely to be robbed. Do everything you can to make it look like there is activity both inside and outside the house. This would be an excellent time to have some lawn or exterior work done. You may need to make arrangements with whoever is doing the work, either paying them a deposit ahead of time, or arranging to pay the balance at a later date. Make sure they mail the invoice (do not take the chance that they will tape it to the door or put it somewhere that is a dead giveaway no one is home). Even a neighborhood teenager could be a good choice for having some basic work done, like mowing or trimming hedges.

You could also consider having some lights or motion sensors put in. A battery operated push light in the window can be a great idea. Better yet, connect some outside and inside lights to motion sensors. This way, if anyone gets too close, the lights will come on automatically.

There are differing opinions on whether or not you should leave your lights on the entire time you’re on vacation. If you leave your lights on the whole time you’re gone, it wastes a lot of electricity and raises your electric bill. Also, having lights on 24/7 can look just as suspicious as having them off. Electronic timers may be helpful. The danger here is that if someone was really intent on robbing you, they will likely be watching the house for a period of time. If they notice that the lights go on at exactly 7:05pm and off at exactly 10:35pm each night, it would not take a genius to figure out they are on a timer. The way to make timers work is to use a varied schedule. If you can find timers which are controlled by an app on your cell phone, that would be the best option. Then, you can vary the times, making it look more like people are still in the home.

Consider adding something to make noise. This mimics actual conversations. Take an mp3 recording or even a good quality tape of cd player. Just make a loop of a long spoken track. Place the player near the door. This way, anyone who comes near the house will think that there are people talking.

Ask a neighbor if they’d be okay with parking in your driveway while you’re away. This is especially handy during the winter months when snow is on the ground. An unmarked driveway is a good sign that no one is home.

shovel-snowDon’t forget other household chores. If it’s winter, pay someone to shovel your sidewalks and driveway. If it’s summer, have someone mow your lawn. You want to try to keep your home looking like it has the same schedule as always. So if you are the type of person who shovels right after a fresh snowfall, be sure to hire someone to do the shoveling for you while you’re away

Keeping Watch

An easy, low tech way to make sure that your place is covered is by asking a trusted friend, neighbor or family member. Have them go over to your home several times a week just to check on everything. The best thing about this is that you might not need to pay them! Of course, an offer of a free lunch or dinner would be a nice gesture upon your return. You could also have them collect mail and take the trash cans out and/or bring them back in (a next door neighbor works the best for this, since they are already going to be doing these things for their own house). Of course, having the mail stopped and held by the local post office is also an option, although a smart robber who is watching will notice that the mail is not being delivered. This is also a tell-tale sign that someone is out of town.

In some cases, the local police department is able to help with a few of these tasks. This is not a replacement for a trusted friend or neighbor. However, having a police officer do a ‘€˜vacation check’€™ a few times while you are away is still an additional level of security.

Security System

Speaking of security, you also have the option of installing a security system. There is no better way to secure your home while you are away on vacation than a home alarm system. With the technology available, at minimum you will be able to have a system with a control panel, door and window sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors and often times these features can be monitored using your cell phone. Visit our Best Home Alarm System page to review the leading home alarm companies.

Additional Precautions

  • Prevent damage from power surges: It would really be bad if you come home and find many of your valuable electronic appliances and items damaged or destroyed due to a power surge. Consider unplugging the computer, TV, stereo and other electronics. Conversely, you could connect such items to a good surge protector. Just make sure that it is something which has a good rating and can withstand a large load of power.
  • facebook-check-inBe careful what you say: Going on vacation is exciting and we all want to share with others about our upcoming trip. But try not to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or on the Internet at all. This includes “checking in” to places on Facebook or Foursquare. Someone may see the post and decide to target your home while you’re away.
  • Alert your alarm company: If you do happen to have a security system, notify the company that you will be away. This is especially needed if you are going on an extended trip. Of course, it goes almost without saying to make sure that the alarm is set properly before you leave!
  • Protect your pipes: Especially if you live in an area where cold weather is a possibility, make sure that your pipes are protected. In vulnerable areas like the attic, basement and crawl spaces, make sure the pipes are well insulated. In such a situation, it is also very important to have a trusted friend, family member or neighbor stop by every so often just to turn on faucets to make extra sure that the pipes do not freeze.
  • Turn up or down the thermostat: You do not want to turn the thermostat off completely. In the winter, about 55 degrees seems to be the cut off point and 80 degrees is a good setting during the summer.
  • Water heater: Almost no one remembers to turn down the temperature on their water heater. This can be an excellent way to save electricity as well.
  • lock-doorLock everything: This is a no-brainer, but one that people often forget. Many homes are left unlocked at all hours of the day. You’re not protecting your home if you’re not locking the doors. Burglars look at an unlocked door as an invitation to enter and take what they want. Remember to lock all doors, windows, and your garage.
  • Secure valuables: Never leave anything of value out in plain sight. If you have not already done so, now may be a good time to consider placing any jewelry, extra cash or other valuables in a safe deposit box or even a secure hidden safe within the house. Nothing should ever be visible from any window.
  • Lock and secure the garage: Secure the door and any other entrances to the garage. Do this even if there is no way to enter the house from the garage (if there is an entrance to the house, then this step is even more important). There have been numerous robberies where the thieves simply grabbed what they could from the garage and then took off.
  • Outside spare keys: Do not leave any spare keys outside the house. All burglars know the trick of keeping a spare key under the welcome mat. Actually, if you are going away for more than a day or two, you would be well served to pick up any key that you have hidden in an outside ‘€œsafe’€ spot. Consider leaving a spare key with the same trusted friend, neighbor or family member (possibly all three) who is going to be regularly checking on things.
  • Remember your mail and packages: A stuffed mailbox, newspapers on the lawn, and packages at the doorstep are other ways to tell a burglar, “Hey there! Come on in, I’m not home so take what you’d like!” Ask a neighbor to retrieve your mail, newspapers, and packages and hold them for you until you arrive home. Alternatively, if someone is already house sitting for you, ask them to do this for you as well. If you can’t find anyone to collect your mail for you, ask the post office and package delivery services to hold your packages until you are back home. Below are the links to FedEx, UPS and USPS.FedEx – Request a Vacation Hold
    UPS – Place a Vacation Hold
    USPS – Hold Mail Service

Other Ideas

Studies have also shown over and over again that if it takes a burglar more than 5 minutes to break into a home, they will simply stop and go elsewhere (if it LOOKS like it will be difficult to break in, they likely will not even try). Having said that, if your home is still targeted, you want to try and make it as difficult as possible to actually get in. One of the best pieces of advice is to use strong doors. They should be at least 1 ¾ inches thick and made from metal. If metal is not an option or not available, then some type of strong hardwood would be acceptable. Just remember that even the best lock is worthless if a strong burglar can simply kick in your door!

While it is not usually a good idea to turn off the main water supply to your house, consider certain areas on a case by case basis. If you know there is a leaky toilet or faucet, turn off the water to those areas. Another area to watch is the dishwasher.

The Final Word Is Prepare For the Worst:

No matter what you do or precautions you take, it is still possible that something could happen while you are away. If this happens, it will probably not be a pleasant experience, but it hurts less if you are prepared ahead of time. You may to go ahead and check your insurance policy and claim procedures before leaving. Create a home inventory and take lots of good quality pictures of everything in your house. This may take some time, but afterwards it is just a matter of keeping everything updated.

Taking all of the precautions listed in this article will ensure that you have much less chance of a robbery or something bad happening while you are away. If the worst occurs, you will also be better prepared to deal with the situation.

Tips For Hiring a Trustworthy House Sitter

Updated on September 17, 2012

House sitters can be great protection against burglary and theft while you are away on vacation, but only if the house sitter himself is trustworthy. Here are some screening tips so you can leave your worries at home and enjoy yourself while on vacation.

Start Your Search Early to Be Thorough

Taking the process of finding a house sitter seriously means starting a few weeks to a month or more in advance of when you will leave. This ensures you will be able to find someone that is able to take care of your home every day during the whole duration of your vacation. Oftentimes, people fill their schedules up, especially during the summer or the holiday season, so starting early ensures you will find someone. You may even find out about someone who is looking to come into town during the time you will be gone and needs a place to stay. The other reason to start early is so that you are not stuck with the one person who can do it, but keep your options open by giving yourself time to check references, negotiate a fair price (some work for free or for a token amount in exchange for staying in your home), and have the potential house sitter come for a preliminary interview and visit. The latter is especially important if you have a pet that the house sitter will be taking care of. And of course, starting early means you can find a backup sitter should anything happen.

Look For Quality of Character

Asking family and friends is a good place to start, if you know someone who is consistently reliable and trustworthy. This is all the better if he or she is already familiar with your home. If you do not completely know someone who is recommended as a house sitter, you can ask around your friends for references about that person in a much less formal and personable way, which may be more comfortable to you. However, be sure that you pay the house sitter even a token amount, regardless of whether she is in your social circle. This is because people who are doing a job nearly universally take house sitting more seriously and will want to impress you. If you choose to hire a professional, ask for at least three references, and check them. Also insist on a background check. (True professionals will not be offended by this, as they understand the importance of having someone reliable caring for your home and pets.) Finally, after a potential hire has passed those conditions, conduct an interview at the house with all household members present, including any pets that will be staying behind while you leave.

Lay Out The Rules and Requirements

Before committing to hiring someone, explain to him or her what the rules are in your house, as well as thoroughly going over what the job will entail. For instance, let him know whether you are comfortable with his partner staying over, his friends coming to the house, and whether they are allowed to stay the night. Also let him know if there are rooms or items that you do not wish to be used in your absence, doors that need to be shut for ventilation, and whether he should feel free to help himself to anything in the kitchen and/or liquor cabinet. If he needs to take his shoes off inside the front door, check the mail every day, walk the dog twice per day, feed the dog, and water the plants twice per week, make sure you go over all of that, as well. Should you have special instructions, like mowing the lawn, picking up items from the store, or running the de-humidifier twice per day, go over those as well and make sure the house sitter is capable of performing the task. (You may, of course, opt to have another person take care of those tasks for you, but be sure to let the house sitter know that if it is the case.) Furthermore, put all of the rules, requirements, and special instructions in writing and leave them somewhere prominent (coffee table, dining room, refrigerator door) as a reminder.

Inform Friends, Family, Emergency Contacts, and Neighbors

Foremost, let the house sitter know where you will be going and how to reach you via cellphone, email, or through the hotel where you are staying. Get your sitter’€™s contact information so that you can reach her directly instead of just through your home. If you put personal contacts on your Emergency Contacts list (such as the neighbor who knows the security alarm code), be sure to let those contacts know that you will have a house sitter during your vacation and that you or the house sitter may call upon them in case of emergency. Ask your neighbors to be on the lookout for unscheduled visits or activity that appears to go against your established house rules. Some families even schedule friends to come by the house for special tasks during their vacation (such as taking the dog to a grooming salon) so that they can check the condition of the house while away.

Lock Away and Hide Valuables

Putting some level of trust into your house sitter is a given. However, this does not mean you should leave your valuables out in front of someone you do not know very well. Should the sitter think it’€™s harmless to invite a few friends over, for instance, or if you allow that, one of the friends may just be tempted to steal since his job is not at stake. Do not show the house sitter the location of any secret safes or stash spots, and lock away all valuables. If you have weapons, lock them up unloaded and lock the ammunition away in a completely separate secret location. Do not grant a house sitter access to weapons under any circumstances.


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About Kimberly Alt
Kimberly has always taken security seriously. Whether it's making sure she locks all the doors or using complex passwords, she tries her best to live a secure life. She has years of experience with testing, reviewing, and writing about security systems. One of her favorite parts of her job is being able to inform consumers of the best security products available.
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  • This is really a nice post, Kimberly. Before planning a vacation, we should always consider some important points; home protection is one of them. The tips shared here are good to go. With these ideas in our home will be surely safe and we can enjoy our vacation with any worry.

  • According to me installing security cameras, is a good way to protect your home when you are going for vacations. Security cameras are important to monitor your home from inside and outside. I always prefer Revo cams to get best features security systems.

  • Excellent topic – we just published about this. It’s not just theft you need to worry about. If you’re leaving your kids at home with a babysitter or caretaker, they won’t know the ins and outs of your home security system. Best bet – sign up for support from a monitoring center (at least while you’re gone). They can speak with the sitter by intercom and take the right action. Also, install a panic button – no tricky systems to deal with immediate police notification. Your system should include fire and carbon monoxide detection. If you’re away on vacation and a fire occurs, a professionally trained staff member from your security system provider/monitor will alert the fire department, authorities, and you of the situation right away. Even though you may be far away, you can find some peace in knowing that the situation is being handled!

  • Matthew

    I had never thought about this as a priority – indeed, a TOP 2 priority! – when you leave for a trip. But you are so right. When you leave, you want to talk about where you are, what you're doing, and all of the great adventures you are having. 

    Instead, you may actually be advertising to less-than-decent persons that you are nowhere close to your house. And, regardless of your security/alarm/neighbor protection system, this is still unnecessary, dangerous information to be broadcasting.

    I love sharing my travel and vacation moments, but this very thorough post emphasizes the inherent, unintended consequences of documenting your vacation. Excellent preparatory advice. Thanks!

  • Christine_R

    I wish my husband and I had installed surveillance/security systems a long time ago. It has been such a blessing to feel safe now that we have it. If you can't afford a full system right now, remember that anything is helpful! Fake security cameras can be a good deterrent to thieves too.

  • Bill

    I know it seems obvious, but some people are so dumb when it comes to the most basic security tips. In addition to getting a home alarm system, make sure you hide your stuff! At least make sure that valuables like laptops or home electronics or jewelry that are highly visible and easy to walk away with are hidden from burglars. Also make sure you shut your blinds and make it as hard for intruders to see in as possible. I know so many people who don't do this but it's easy to do. Before I leave for vacation or the holidays, I usually hide my jewelry under the bed or put my wireless speaker in a hard to find bin in the closet. Thefts are looking for easy wins and the easier you make it for them to find it, the easier they can take it. And, many of my neighbors have experienced break-ins lately and have had liquor stolen. So unless you are partial to a particular gin or scotch, make sure you lock up your prized liquors as well. Safe holidays and travels everyone!

    • John K

      Good advice, I think it is important to remember that criminals are not going to take their time in your house. They are looking to get out of there as fast as possible and I'm sure every burglar is looking in obvious places like your sock drawer. Get creative and hide your valuable possessios in really hard fo find places. A good home alarm company is a great first step, but if a thief gets in, make it as hard as possible for him to find your valuables!

  • Norton

    I have never heard of the idea of making a MP3 recording and placing it by the door. That is a really cool tip, surely any would be intruder would listen to the door before entering, hopefully that would be enough to discourage them from entering. When it comes down to it though, the best way to secure your home while away is a security system. As long as you have a battery backup and a system that communicates over wireless cell phone signals, you should be able to enjoy your vacation worry free.

  • Anonymous

    I am going on my first vacation that I have spearheaded the planning for completely. It is especially exciting that I am making this all happen on my own accord (with help). However, as the major trip planner, I also feel the responsibility for taking care of the home while we are away having fun. The thought of home security crossed my mind more than a few times, but I felt pretty lost with everything that needed to be done and still trying to make it so I and everyone else will not have to worry about it. I am glad I found this article to lay it all out there for me, down to the details of a surge protector for electronics and turning down the water heater. I am honestly thinking of getting a home security alarm, as well, just for the added peace of mind it will give. My thoughts are that I do not want to come to having to rely only on the security alarm system and forsake other important things like locking up and securing valuables. This article was especially helpful because it was thorough, and helped me organize my security plan better.

  • Anonymous

    One of the funniest examples of making your house look like there are people home when there aren't are in the movie, "Home Alone."  For a long time, that little kid had those thieves going.  However, his tactics are completely unrealistic.  I love the idea you have about having yard work or exterior work done to the house.  I also think you should just have someone come by every day.  Even though you might have to pay this person for 2 or 3 hours of work a day, it's one of the best preventative measures that you can take.  The best thing to do is to make sure that the person comes by once a day at a different time every day.  If you could have them come by twice a day or even live there as a housesitter while you're gone, this is an even better idea.  I know you probably don't want your house sitter to have company, but I hate to tell you this, 2 people randomly coming and going from your residence are better than one.  Hiring a couple that you trust is a great idea and works for others.

  • Anonymous

    I think a good home security system is a must if you're the type that goes on long vacations. I especially think you should have a system that allows you to monitor your home from your smartphone. This will give you an added peace of mind when you're able to view live video of your home from your hotel. You'd even have the ability to check and see if house sitters are coming and going as specified or if your home is left uncared for.

    A security system would also give you the chance to allow access to your home without worrying about giving out your main code. You could give a temporary code to a house sitter and then delete the code when you return home. After all, who wants someone to be able to come and go as she pleases once you're home?

    Having someone come and check on your home will help ensure that people are less likely to break in while you're on vacation. You may even just want someone to stop by and walk and feed your pets while you're gone. Regardless, a home security system could make your life easier and protect your home while you're away on vacation.

  • Anonymous

    I really appreciated finding this article about protection for my home while I am away.  I do go on vacation fairly often, but I also leave my home unattended much more frequently because of my work.
    Living on the road presents its own challenges on a day to day basis, but quite often I do worry about the safety and security of my home while I am away doing what I need to do.  I take the general precautions of keeping a light on a timer to give the appearance that I am there even when I am not, and I of course use several locks on each of my entry doors. 

    However, the greatest peace of mind I get from any precaution I take comes from simply knowing my neighbors and asking them to check up on my residence semi-daily to ensure everything is ok.  I know that if something were to go wrong, they would not only notify me, but also be more able to deal with an emergency than I would from some remote location.  A little friendly behavior goes a long way.

  • Anonymous

    This weekend will be the last big vacation period this summer. With so many people heading out for a long weekend, it's so important for them to view this information. While many people are tempted to post on Facebook or tell friends that they're going to the beach or the mountains, it's a big mistake. The only people you want to tell that you're going on vacation is the person that will be watching your home.

    Speaking of which, finding someone to house sit is one of the best ways to protect your home. Even if it's just someone that comes by once a day to pick up your mail and tidy the yard. If you can though, it's even better to find someone who's willing to stay at the home. One way to entice someone is to of course offer payment, but you should also make them feel at home by filling the fridge with their favorite foods and giving them free-reign of your movie collection. As someone who has house set in the past, it can be quite boring so it's best to keep house sitters entertained. Just remember to make sure this is someone you trust. It might be a best friend or family member. Regardless, there should be no question as to whether or not your home will be safe.

  • Anonymous

    Home security is no laughing matter in my household. We tell the neighbors when we will be away, we have motion detecting lights on each door and in poorly-lit areas, and pressure-sensing security alarms on the doors and windows in addition to the security bars. It is not so much that I feel paranoid, so much as that two of my neighbors recently were victims of burglary despite making some efforts like clearing their mailboxes while they were away. If you think it would never happen in your neighborhood, I hate to shatter your bubble, but you are probably wrong. I thought the same thing, and so did my neighbors.

    With that in mind, I really want to commend the writer on being complete with the tips and tricks in this article. My favorite is the timer, which is a huge help deterring burglars. Using lighting, televisions and the stereo on a timer makes it seem like you are at home, and you control the systems with a simple smart phone app. Advanced systems turn everything on as the sun goes down and even draw the shades for you. Definitely look into this as part of your system.

  • Anonymous

    I think many people make the mistake of thinking that no one will notice that they're not home. Sadly, we live in a world where you can't trust anyone. Even telling your coworkers that you're going on vacation could lead to your home getting broken into. We live in a world where we must live now and talk about it later. What that means is not talking about your trip until you're already back home.

    Criminals aren't as dumb as they seem either. With most break-ins resulting from people who live in the same neighborhood, it's easy to see how someone could easily determine you weren't home. Whether they see you packing your car for the trip or a neighbor let's it slip that she's watching your home until you get back, your home could easily be targeted as an easy score.

    I'm not the type that likes to travel much, but I'm happy to have family living right next door in case I want to take an extended trip. Those that aren't lucky enough to have family so close might want to consider having a family member come stay at the home until the vacation is over. Having the home occupied is one of the best methods to deter robbers.

  • Anonymous

    Three months ago, when a neighbor was burgled, I and the other neighborhood residents were left in shock. By no means do I see where I live as the most unsafe place in America, but as I found out quickly, when crimes happen at home, it can feel that way. As they say, burglaries are never expected because they happen when you least expect them.

    All that makes the information in this article even more valuable. I think everyone should read and learn from the tips suggested here and go on to forward the article to friends and networks. The fact is, it is impossible to eliminate all the criminals, and it is impossible to prevent all crimes. The suggestions in this article were positive in that they are solid, tried-and-true suggestions for keeping your home safe when you cannot be there personally. Although some of the tips seem like a time and money investment, even the peace of mind they offer is worth it, from my experience. The knowledge that I can leave my home safe and secure while on vacation is completely reassuring, and that is priceless.

  • Anonymous

    There was a time when people could count on their neighbors to keep their homes safe while they were on vacation. Sadly, in today's world, many of us don't even know the names of our neighbors. This means that we can't trust those that live closest to keep our home safe or to even stay out of our home while we're gone. This means you need to rely on a number of tricks and your friends and family to keep your home safe while on vacation.

    Personally, I find it best to find someone who is willing to stay in your home while you're gone. This may require paying the person to house sit or owing them a favor in the future, but it's well worth it. The key is finding someone you can trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. The last thing you want to do is have a coworker or casual acquaintance watch your home.

    Of course, this isn't always an option. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to make it look like you're home. First of all, have your mail held at the post office, put your lights on timers, and maintain your landscaping before leaving for vacation. This will help ensure that robbers aren't tempted by a home that looks vacant.

  • Anonymous

    I think many people that live in expensive homes feel as though their homes are secure when they go away on vacation.  As long as you have a good security system you're probably almost 100% there.  However, you should still keep in mind that your security system will only keep your home as secure as you let it.

    It's important to be careful about the things that you say on social networks like Facebook and Twitter because criminals watch your activity on these mediums. If you tell people that you're going to be on vacation for two weeks, just blasting that out to the entire world, and you live in a very nice home or nice neighborhood you're taking a very be risk.

    Even if you have a security system, you have to also make sure to do the simple things.  Lock all the doors. Close the shades. Don't leave ladders and things outside that people can use to climb into your windows. In many ways, a security system is a complete solution, but you must also combine that with your own common sense to stay safe year-round.

  • Anonymous

    The first thing I thought of when reading this article was the same thing that another comment mentions. I see all these people posting on Facebook about going on vacation and I think about what a stupid move that is. Why advertise that you are going to be away from your home. I also find it kind of crass, but that is my own personal opinion and has nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. I think the only time I would let the world know I was going away from home would be if I was trying to catch someone doing something to my home.

    Personally, I am just glad for the neighbors I have. If I went on vacation they would be the ones to check on my house and let my animals out and I would never have to worry about them taking anything. I am blessed in that manner. But if I did not have that, what I would have would be a wireless security system that I could interact with online. Most of my friend have their own homes to look out for so I can't see them wanting to come house sit for me, though that would be the next best option.

    There are some great tips here. Just don't forget that bragging is a major cause of theft too. Don't put your good fortune in someone's face that doesn't have any fortune.

  • Anonymous

    I frequently go out of town for business and often times that means leaving my home unattended for long periods of time.  This article gave some great pointers on how to safeguard yourself and your property to make sure you do not suffer an attack and subsequent loss of property thereof.  There are a lot of things you can do that do not require much effort or expenditure to protect yourself, and not doing them will only result in you kicking yourself should something actually happen.

    The one thing I have found to be the most important for security purposes and for my own piece of mind is to actually have a friend or neighbor stay at the house one or two nights a week and let me know that everything is alright.  They also take in my mail which prevents any kind of theft on that end or at the very least prevent an over-full mailbox that annoys my mail man.
    Doing this of course requires a good relationship with somebody who can help out and you may have to pay them but it is well worth it.

  • Anonymous

    There are so many mistakes people make when going on vacation that can greatly impact the security of their home. Recently, one of the biggest mistakes has resulted from sharing too much information online. Whether it's posting an update on Facebook that you're going on vacation or even using an away message for your personal email account, you could be sending a message to criminals that your home is empty and ripe for the picking. In other words, if you want to share information about your vacation with your online buddies, do so AFTER your vacation.

    I think one of the best things you can do is to find someone you trust to watch your home. This can be a family member or trusted neighbor. If at all possible, you want someone who can actually stay at your home while you're away. If that's not possible, you at least want someone that can check your mail daily and take care of any lawn work to make it look like someone is home.

    Of course, the absolute best thing you can do is install an excellent home security system and use the provided stickers and signs to let criminals know that your home is protected.

  • Anonymous

    Most homeowners worry while they are away on vacation. With crime rates and statistics being what they are, this is certainly a natural and even well placed concern. You want to keep the home secured, while making anyone who might be thinking about making it target think that it is still being lived in.

    The first thing to do, or rather not to do is to keep the fact that you are going away a secret. Your next door neighbor should probably be told, but do not announce this everyone at the local neighborhood meeting!

    Have your next door neighbor help. One of the first things that burglars look for is to see if the mail person skips the house (because the mail has been held for a few days). Instead, ask your neighbor to pick up the mail. Also, have the neighbor take out and pick up your trash cans from the curb at the proper times. This helps to give everyone the picture that people are living in the home.

    Make arrangements to maintain the lawn or have snow removal if it is winter.

  • Anonymous

    Almost all of the articles and information about how to prevent a burglary is centered around the undeniable fact that by making your home looked lived in you become much less of a target for thieves. Not only that, but making it difficult to enter or access. This is also the basic theory behind this article, which gives a lot of tips for keeping your home safe while you are away on vacation.

    To make your home look like someone is still there, there are a number of things which can be done. Have some lawn or exterior maintenance work done. Even a local teenager can do this while away (you may even want to pay them in advance with the understanding that they are not to tape anything to the door).

    Also, have one of your neighbors pick up your mail and move your trash cans to the curb and then back again. They should do this even if they need to put one of their own bags in the trash can. Nothing looks more suspicious than no trash cans and pile of mail (or no delivery at all).

  • Anonymous

    These are such great tips! I knew that you should have your mail held at the post office or ask a friend to pick it up daily, but hadn't considered the need to clean up your landscaping before leaving. I also wouldn't have considered the need to remove all your spare keys from their hidden areas. And, I didn't know that burglars would avoid homes that looked more difficult to break into. I also love the idea of light timers and think it would be great at night to have a fan setup that blows something around to look like there is movement inside the home.

    You can't be too careful when it comes to traveling and people make so many mistakes that many wouldn't consider a problem, such as announcing on Facebook that you're going to be away from home. While you may think everyone on your friend list is trustworthy, they may not be. If you want your home to be as secure as possible, I think it's a great option to get a house sitter, but this must be someone that you know you can trust, such as a family membe or very close friend. This is a great resource for anyone who will be traveling this summer.

  • Anonymous

    Many robberies occur while homeowners are away, especially on vacation. These days, criminals are smart and many will watch your home for signs of activity, or the predictable signs of someone who is away, like the automatic lights going on at the same exact time every night.

    This article provides a number of different tips which every traveler should know about and implement before they leave. You want to do everything you can to make your home look like it is being lived in. This includes having some lawn or yard work done (maybe pay a neighborhood kid in advance to do this on a certain day). Nothing says we are away quite like an overgrown lawn or bushes.

    You may also want to have a neighbor help out with a few things. This includes taking out your trash cans to the curb and bringing them back in at the proper time. Even bringing empty cans out is better than not doing this at all. Perhaps you could have the neighbor throw a bag or two of theirs in your cans?

  • Anonymous

    After having my home broken into on more than one occassion, I decided to get serious about my home security while I was away. My house was broken into when I was gone for a short period of time, so I can't even imagine that I would leave it along for any extended period of time without taking some measurs to make sure I at least made an effort to keep the thieves at bay. And as far a I am concerned, a dedicated cellular service is the best way to go, bar none.

    As you mention here, timers are great until they figure out that they are timers and not just people that are turning the lights off and on. Some security services interact with your electronics so that you can set up these times, but some services take it a step further and allow you to interact with your electronics while you are not at home. So, you can set your timers, but you can also adjust them while you are gone. This way you have a light coming on if you forget about it while you are gone, but you can also adjust that times while you are on vacation or something. I have used this feature and it worked well, even if it did freak out my neighbor who knew I wasn't home!