It’s important to protect your home while you travel. When you’re away on vacation, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing about things back home, especially when it comes to the safety of your house. Make sure it’s all taken care of before your vacation so that you can have some peace of mind.
Horror stories of travelers whose homes have been broken into or whose pipes have burst while they’re away are just stories, right? Better safe than sorry!
Just like you protect your valuables from pickpockets while you travel, you also want to make sure your secure your home from burglars. I’ve compiled the following tips to help you keep your house safe while you’re out of town.
Top Ways to Protect Your Home While You Travel
Tips to Deter Burglars While You’re Away
Protect your home from burglars while you travel with a few simple steps. All you really need is a good security system and to make your house look occupied when you’re away. Keep this list as a handy checklist of things to do before you leave for vacation.
1. Install a home security system.
A home security system is essential in protecting your house. You’ll want a system that includes door sensors, motion sensors, and glass-break sensor for windows. You might also consider ones with video cameras or flood light motion sensors for outdoors as well.
There are plenty of home security systems to choose from. Many of these you can install yourself, like the Ring system, the Alpha by tolviviov system, and the SimpliSafe system. You can also have a system professionally installed by companies like ADT, Brinks, and Vivant.
Some of these systems may allow you to self-monitor, but for the best protection you’ll want a monitored security system.
2. Install cameras, inside and /or outside, to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
I’ve already mentioned a security system that includes cameras above, but I’m listing it separately because cameras don’t have to be connected to your security system.
Cameras on the outside of your home are a great deterrent. And having cameras inside and outside your home can help identify and catch a burglar in the event someone does break in.
There are many great options for cameras that you can install yourself, like the Blink cameras or Arlo cameras. These are motion-activated and can send a notification right to your phone when they detect activity.
3. Set your lights on timers.
This is a great way to make your home look lived-in while you’re away on vacation. Set a schedule for a few lamps to come on and turn off at your usual time. Nothing will look amiss from the outside and no one will know you’re gone.
Timers and sensors are also great for your outside lights. Burglars are more likely to go for dark and hidden areas to find a way in. You can schedule your outside lights to come on at night and light up vulnerable areas like your back door or sides of the house.
This is an especially great tip for protecting your home while you travel for Christmas. A lot of people travel for the holiday, leaving their homes unprotected. You can put your Christmas tree and Christmas lights on timers to come on at night so that no one knows you’re away.
All you’ll need to set up timed lights are some smart plugs. I recommend the Kasa Smart Plug; it’s really easy to set up and you can turn lights on and off from your phone. If you want to go the extra step and hook things up to Alexa, I recommend getting the Amazon Echo and Philips Hue smart bulbs. Philips Hue also has outdoor motion sensors.
4. Hide away your valuables.
Put your valuable items in a small safe for added security while you travel. Close the blinds and curtains in your living room, entertianment room, and other rooms with large electronics like TVs.
5. Put your mail on hold.
Nothing says “I’m not home!” like an overflowing mailbox. Put a hold on your mail with USPS for free for 30 days. Alternatively, you can have a neighbor check the mail for you.
You also don’t want packages sitting on your doorstep unattended. To avoid this, try not to order anything before a big trip. We’re certainly guilty of this! If you do have a package arrive while you’re on vacation, have a neighbor or a friend come by and take it for safe keeping.
6. Remove any hidden spare keys.
You’re not fooling anyone hiding a spare key under the welcome mat or beneath a garden gnome. You really shouldn’t have a spare key hidden like this when you are home, much less when you’re gone on vacation. So if you do, just make sure you remove it before you leave.
If you want a backup in case you lose your key while on vacation, you can give a spare key to a friend or get a smart lock. With a smart lock, like the eufy Security S230 Smart Lock or Kwikset Convert, you can get keyless entry with a keypad or unlocking from your phone.
7. Don’t post on social media.
Don’t tell your thousands of social media followers about your upcoming travels. Even as a travel blogger, I never post about where I’m going or where I’ve been until after I get back from my trip.
This is also your friendly reminder to not post your address, phone number, or identifiable pictures of your house on the internet. Those “we just bought a house” photos people love to post on their public profiles give me anxiety! Also, make sure you’re not geotagging your address when you post on Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform that allows that.
8. Check the batteries on your security system before you leave.
If you’ve set up any of the wireless systems I’ve just talked about, you’ll want to double check that everything is charged before you leave. You don’t want the batteries failing while you’re away.
This also includes your other home safety devices like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
9. Ensure windows and doors are locked and garage doors are closed.
So you’re all ready to leave on your vacation! But did you actually lock the doors?
Make sure that all your windows and doors are locked. Go ahead and make sure your blinds are closed, too!
And what about the garage door? Close that as well! You might even consider disconnecting your garage door so it can’t be opened by a universal remote. If you don’t want to go that far, consider a garage door sensor. This works just like a door sensor; you can monitor it from your phone and get alerts if your garage door opens unexpectedly or has remained open for a long time.
10. Have a neighbor check in on your house.
Neighbors and friends are great for protecting your home while you travel. Your neighbor can check in on your house if you want to be sure everything looks okay inside. You could also simply have them check the mail or keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
You might even ask your neighbor to attend to your lawn or shovel snow to make your property look lived-in. They could even park their car in the driveway, as a visible car is a huge deterrent for burglars.
Tips to Avoid Property Damage While You’re on Vacation
Burglars aren’t the only things you have to worry about while you’re away. You’ll also want to protect your home from property damage while you travel. A simple appliance mishap can wreak havoc when you’re away from home for days. No one wants to come home to a flooded house! Use the following tips to help avoid any property damage while you’re traveling.
11. Set a programmable thermostat.
Set your thermostat to an optimal temperature while you’re away so your home doesn’t get too hot or too cold while you travel (depending on which season you’re traveling in). This will save you a lot in energy costs, too. Experts recommend setting your thermostat to four degrees above or below your normal setting. Don’t set the temperature below 50°F in the winter, though, or your pipes may freeze.
12. Prevent water damage.
If you’re planning on traveling for a while and don’t have someone checking in on your home, you might want to consider turning off your main water supply valve to prevent possible water damage from leaks or a pipe burst.
If you don’t want to shut the whole water supply off, consider just shutting off the water to the toilets, dishwasher, and washing machine. These are most likely to cause any trouble while you’re away.
13. Protect against power surges.
A power surge can damage your expensive electronics. Protect your property when you travel by unplugging your computer, TV, game consoles, and other nonessential electronics. Or at least make sure they’re plugged into a surge protector.
14. Use environmental sensors.
As part of your security system, make sure you have environmental sensors. This includes things like flood sensors that detect changes in moisture levels in the air, as well as your standard smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
With these easy tips, you can protect your home while you travel. Now go enjoy your vacation without any worries!
Ready to take a vacation? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Find cheap accommodation: Use my tips for finding cheap accommodation for travel every time.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Pack for your vacation: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need by checking out my packing list resources.
How do you protect your home while you travel? Leave your home safety tips in the comments below!