Going away on holiday often ends up in a last-minute rush to get everything ready and packed. “Don’t forget the sun cream. Oh, and your passport, keys, wallet… And, don’t forget to switch the hob off!””
With so much to remember, it’s important not to forget about home security. Here are our top five tips for making your home safe while on holiday so you can truly relax on your well-deserved break.
1. Be social media savvy
As tempting as it is to brag on Facebook about your family poolside fun in Majorca, or Instagram that Mediterranean beach selfie, don’t! Strangers may see your posts and quickly work out where you live. It is an easy way for burglars to discover vacant homes for easy pickings.
Is it really worth jeopardising your home security for a few ‘likes’? Save the boasting for when you are back from holiday and have a whole album of photos to make friends jealous.
2. Get smart about locking
The last thing you’re likely to do before leaving your property is to double check all your doors and windows are securely locked. For added peace of mind, you might also consider installing a smart home security system.
This is a set of security gadgets connected to the internet, and can include cameras, motion detectors, CCTV and door locks. When any of these devices detect an unexpected movement, such as a door or window opening, an alarm is raised, alerting you on your smartphone or tablet.
That’s right, should you choose to, you can check in to see what’s going on at home from the poolside.
There are a number of products on the market, ranging from single indoor camera options, such as Nest Cam (RRP £159), to the all-singing, all-dancing Yale Smart Home Alarm System TB3 , which includes CCTV cameras and a smart door lock (RRP £1,436.99).
3. Make your home look ‘lived in’
The most obvious tell-tale signs of an empty house are no lights on at night, an empty driveway and piles of unopened mail on the doormat. Here are some quick ways to make your home look occupied:
• Use timed switches or a smart home system to switch lights, TVs and music sets on and off at the times you pre-set
• Sign up to Royal Mail’s KeepsafeTM service and they will hold your mail until you get back. Alternatively, get a neighbour to collect your post frequently
• Cancel deliveries like subscriptions, meat or veg boxes, and newspapers. You don’t want those stockpiling at your door
• Offer your driveway and the use of your wheelie bin to a neighbour while you are gone so it looks like someone is in the property
Also, if you are lucky enough to be away for a long time, check your home insurance policy. House insurance may not be valid if your home is unoccupied for over 30 days
4. Keeping an eye out
Tell a trusted neighbour you are going away and, should you choose to, provide them with a key to your house, your alarm code*, and emergency contact numbers. This means if your alarm does go off and you’re not fixed up to be alerted directly by a smartphone app, your neighbour can now enter your house, call the police if needed, or call your emergency contact.
*Remember to set new alarm codes when you're back from your holiday
5. You should know this, but remember to switch everything off!
Don’t spend your holiday worrying over whether you left the iron switched on or the gas hob lit. Switch everything off at the socket before you go, except your fridge/freezer, and then double check appliances in every room. This will also give you the added benefits of saving you money in electricity bills and being more environmentally friendly, too.