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20 Tips for Protecting Your Home While on Vacation

We’ve all heard at least one horror story about a family returning home from a long vacation only to find that their house has been broken into or a pipe has burst in their absence. Problems like these can cost hundreds of dollars to fix and are guaranteed to cause a lot of stress. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent security breaches while you’re off on a family adventure.

We’ve compiled the following tips to help you prep your house for safety before you go out of town and truly relax while you’re away. Some of them require a little investment and forethought, but taking these steps now will save you from major headaches down the road.

1. Get a professionally monitored home security system

Your first line of defense against burglary is a home security system that includes door and window sensors. Some systems allow you to self-monitor, but especially if you’re going out of the country or somewhere with unreliable data network coverage, alerts on your phone won’t do you much good. With a monitored home security system, the alarm company calls the authorities for you when there’s a breach.

Check out our top recommendations for security systems below.

Best for Best Home AutomationBest Easy DIY InstallationBest Reputation
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Read reviewVivint reviewFrontpoint reviewADT review
Best for
Company
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Best Home AutomationBest Easy DIY InstallationBest Reputation
View plansView plansView plans
Vivint reviewFrontpoint reviewADT review

2. Make sure that system includes environmental sensors

Most modern home security systems have the option to monitor not only when someone enters your property but against damaging environmental factors as well. Flood sensors detect changes in moisture levels in the air, which can indicate broken pipes or appliances. Many security systems now also include or at least sync with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to raise the alarm when there’s a fire or noxious fumes.

3. Get a programmable or smart thermostat

When you’re gone, there’s no use heating or cooling an empty house to a comfortable temperature, but you don’t want to turn your system off entirely, either. A good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat to four degrees above or below your normal setting when you’re away. In the winter, this should never be below 50 °F so your pipes don’t freeze. With a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule ahead of time so your house will be back to a comfortable temperature by the time you return home.

Even better, get a smart thermostat so you can check in on your home’s temperature from afar and make adjustments if needed. We recommend the Nest Learning Thermostat because it learns your temperature preferences, uses geofencing, and is compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Check out the table below to see some of our favorite smart thermostats and which smart home brands you can pair them with.

ProductNest Learning Thermostatecobee3Honeywell Lyric Round Thermostat
Product image
Buy productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Home automation compatibilityAmazon Echo, Google HomeApple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, IFTTT, Wink, Samsung SmartThingsAmazon Echo, Apple HomeKit
Product
Product image
Buy product
Home automation compatibility
Nest Learning Thermostatecobee3Honeywell Lyric Round Thermostat
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Amazon Echo, Google HomeApple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, IFTTT, Wink, Samsung SmartThingsAmazon Echo, Apple HomeKit

4. Don’t indicate publicly that you’ll be away from home

Don’t put anything on your voicemail, answering, machine, email autoreply, or social media indicating you’ll be gone. It’s tempting to post your vacation photos in the moment, but your safest bet is to wait until after you return home. If you can’t resist, make sure your posts are viewable only to friends and don’t mention the exact dates you’ll be gone. Keep your usual voicemail or answering machine message, and make your personal or work email autoreply message vague.

5. Install outdoor security lights

When looking for a way inside, burglars are more likely to go for areas that are dark and hidden from the neighbors’ view. You can illuminate these hiding spots by installing outdoor security lights in burglary-prone areas such as the back door or sides of the house. Most models are either motion activated or will only come on at night, so you don’t have to worry about them wasting a lot of energy.

We’ve listed our favorite outdoor security lights in the table below and broken them out by type of light.

Light typeMotion-sensing lightsLED lightsSolar-powered lights
Product nameRAB Super StealthAll-Pro Twin-Head FloodlightRobust Solar 80 LED Outdoor Solar Light
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Light type
Product name
Product image
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Motion-sensing lightsLED lightsSolar-powered lights
RAB Super StealthAll-Pro Twin-Head FloodlightRobust Solar 80 LED Outdoor Solar Light
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

6. Add a smart lock to your door

A smart door lock lets you unlock your door remotely from your smartphone and grant temporary access with expiring codes. If you have a neighbor checking in on the house or a pet sitter coming to take care of the dogs, you can keep track of exactly who goes in and out of your house and terminate access once you’re home again. No more trying to keep track of who has your spare keys because you have full control over who does and doesn’t have access at any given time. We recommend the August Smart Lock because it requires zero physical keys and has the most smart features out of any of its competitors.

Take a look at the table below to learn more about our top picks for smart door locks.

Product nameAugust Smart LockKwikset KevoSchlage Sense
Product image
Buy productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Home automation compatibilityAmazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, NestAmazon Alexa, Ring, SkyBell, Nest, HoneywellAmazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit
Product name
Product image
Buy product
Home automation compatibility
August Smart LockKwikset KevoSchlage Sense
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, NestAmazon Alexa, Ring, SkyBell, Nest, HoneywellAmazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit

7. Remove spare keys you may have stashed under the doormat

Keeping spare keys stashed outside your house is never a great idea anyway (get a smart door lock instead), but if you’re going out of town, now is the time to collect them all. Your hiding spots aren’t as clever as you think.

8. Lock everything

This is a step that’s easy to forget. Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked. Close most blinds and curtains—if you’re putting timers on lights to simulate human presence, make sure that light can get through to the street.

9. Install a video doorbell

A video doorbell allows you to answer your front door from anywhere. Each time someone rings the doorbell, you’ll get an alert on your phone so you can see and speak to the visitor in real time. If you’re out of cell service on the beach or hacking through the jungle, you can still access a log of video clips later. Some models, like the Ring Pro and SkyBell, also have motion detection capabilities, so you’ll still get an alert even if the person doesn’t actually ring the bell. They’re also handy for catching package thieves and spreading the word around the neighborhood.

Take a look at our top three video doorbell picks in the table below.

Product nameRing ProSkyBell HDAugust Doorbell Cam
Product image
Buy productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
CompatibilityWink, Kevo, Lockstate, Kisi, ADT, WemoFrontpoint, Link Interactive, Protect America, LiveWatch, Alarm.com, Nest, Alexa, EchoAugust Smart Lock
Product name
Product image
Buy product
Compatibility
Ring ProSkyBell HDAugust Doorbell Cam
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Wink, Kevo, Lockstate, Kisi, ADT, WemoFrontpoint, Link Interactive, Protect America, LiveWatch, Alarm.com, Nest, Alexa, EchoAugust Smart Lock

10. Check batteries in all home security devices

This one’s pretty simple, but it often goes overlooked. Regularly check all your security and safety devices—motion detectors, cameras, and smoke detectors—to make sure the batteries won’t fail while you’re gone. Even if something is hardwired, it may have a backup battery in case of power outages. Opt for high-quality batteries over budget batteries, as you’re likely to get more life out of them.

11. Unplug nonessential electronics

Unplugging nonessential electronics—TVs, computers, coffee makers, fans, lamps etc.—will both reduce the risk of fire and save you money. The power used by plugged-in electronics while they’re not in use, sometimes called phantom or standby power, accounts for 5–10% of residential energy use and costs each household around $100 each year.

Unplugging devices also protects them against electrical surges, which can short out expensive equipment or cause fires. Electrical fires account for 13% of total residential fires in the United States,1 and if you’re away from home, there’s nothing you can do to stop these fires when something malfunctions.

12. Invest in security cameras

A handful of well-placed security cameras both inside and outside can mean the difference between catching a perpetrator or not. Get something like the indoor/outdoor Arlo system, which is motion activated and will send alerts and video clips to your smartphone so you can take immediate action. This camera and others like it also allow you to remotely drop in on your cameras in real time and live stream whatever’s going on at your house.

We’ve included a snapshot of our favorite indoor IP cameras below.

Product nameYI Home CameraNest Cam IndoorAmcrest ProHD
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Field of view130°130°90°
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Field of view
YI Home CameraNest Cam IndoorAmcrest ProHD
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130°130°90°

13. Shut off water main

Several years ago, after vacationing for a couple of weeks, my grandparents returned to a flooded basement, which destroyed decades of memories and caused thousands of dollars in damage. Ever since then, everyone in my family has been vigilant about turning off the water main before long trips, and we’ve all avoided vacation floods.

If you still want your automated sprinkler system to work, consider shutting off the water supply to each toilet at the very least, and to the dishwasher, washing machine, and ice maker, if possible.

14. Switch water heater to vacation mode

Just like there’s no need to keep an empty house warm, there’s also no need to keep water piping hot when no one’s using it. Many newer water heaters have a preprogrammed vacation mode that will keep the water around 50°F so it won’t freeze and cause a big, expensive mess. If your water heater doesn’t have this setting, you can manually set the temperature.

15. Clear storm drains and gutters

In an intense rainstorm, if the water has nowhere to go, it could accumulate too close to the house, saturate the ground, and seep into your basement. Keeping your storm drains and gutters clear of debris is always important, but it’s especially critical if you’re going out of town and won’t be there to act if there’s a storm.

16. Get valuables out of sight

This is a good rule of thumb any time you leave the house, but it’s especially important when you’ll be gone for several days at a time. Close the blinds or curtains in rooms with large electronics, such as TVs. Put gaming consoles and DVD players in inconspicuous boxes in the closet and make sure all handheld devices, credit cards, cash, or jewelry aren’t easy to find—make use of a safe if you have one. Firearms should already be in a gun safe anyway.

We’ve listed our favorite gun safe by type in the table below.

Product typeSmall handgun safeLong gun safeBiometric gun safe
Product nameFort Knox Handgun SafeWinchester Ranger DeluxeThe GunBox
Product image
Buy productView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Product type
Product name
Product image
Buy product
Small handgun safeLong gun safeBiometric gun safe
Fort Knox Handgun SafeWinchester Ranger DeluxeThe GunBox
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

17. Hire someone to cut grass or remove snow

An untended lawn or unshoveled snow screams “no one’s been home for days!” Before you leave, make arrangements to have these tasks taken care of so your home looks occupied and to avoid fines from your city.

18. Simulate a human presence

To make it look like someone’s home, create a smart lighting system that you can preprogram to turn on at varied times while you’re away. Turning on a radio is another classic technique, and if you want to get fancy, connect the radio to an appliance timer and coordinate it with the lights.

19. Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check in periodically

Have someone stop by from time to time to check for signs of attempted entry, burst pipes, or any other potential problems. Ask them to park in the driveway, adjust some blinds, or maybe move some patio furniture so it’s clear from the outside that there’s someone around.

20. Suspend mail and newspaper delivery

An overflowing mailbox and a pile of newspapers are sure signs that no one’s home. You can sign up online to have the USPS hold your mail at your local post office for free for 30 days. For trips longer than 30 days, you should set up mail forwarding or arrange for someone else to pick it up for you.

Did we miss anything? What are some steps you take to keep your home safe while you’re away?

  1. National Fire Protection Association, “Electrical Fires

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30 responses to “20 Tips for Protecting Your Home While on Vacation”

  1. One thing I’d add is unplugging the garage door opener. Although they are on a roaming code there are times a neighbor remote can trigger yours. Happened to me before.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    • 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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).

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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!

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