How to Protect Your Home When You Go on Vacation
For many Americans, travelling has been both a distant memory and a future endeavor. We have been patiently waiting for vaccines to be distributed and travel to open back to, and it seems to be right around the corner that we can expect to travel again. It has been awhile since a majority of Americans have travelled, so we at Scout Alarm wanted to create a list of preparation for your much anticipated trip. While you check those Vegas ticket prices, review these tips so that your home is protected when you finally decide to vacation again.
Advertise your home security system (even if you don’t have one)
Security signage is on almost every house that has a security system and also, a lot of houses that don’t. Whether you have a security system or not, buying a home security yard sign and posting it in a window, on your lawn, or near a front door can give a potential burglar pause. The most effective way to prevent a break in is actually having a security system installed, but if you can’t afford a home security system, just having a Scout yard sign ($4.99) or a Scout window sticker (99 cents) is a small, low price deterrent that could potentially save you a huge headache. Invest in a low cost sign and tell criminals “Don’t bother”.
Get a fake dog
We posted a few weeks ago about the benefits and drawbacks of getting a guard dog. If you didn’t decide to get a guard dog for your home, there’s the next best thing: a fake dog. Just like a home security sign can deter intruders without actually having a home security system, you can deter canine-wary intruders without actually having a dog. Putting a “Beware of Dog” sign is a good start, but how about using Alexa to bark like a dog? Alexa Guard is integrating a dog bark sound into its new Alexa Guard Plus subscription service to ward off intruders. Sometimes burglars may not take the “Beware of Dog” sign seriously, so adding an additional fake dog bark could do the trick. If you can’t invest in a dog, do the next best thing and invest in a fake dog.
Set electronic timers for lights and appliances
Giving the appearance that someone is home may be the best low cost way to prevent a vacation break in. With modern technology, there is no need to pull a Kevin McCallister with a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan. Instead, you can give the appearance of someone home with electronic timers set to turn lights and electronics on and off on a scheduled timer, which gives the appearance that someone is home and active. Set your timers, and the lights in your home will spring on at your desired times. Some electronic timers are as low as $5, which is a fair price to save you money and eliminate your worry the next time you go on vacation.
Get a video doorbell
You may be on vacation, but packages and mail could still be delivered. Solicitors and neighbors could still knock on your door. Life at your front door continues. There’s a great way to give the appearance of being at home while keeping an eye on front door guests: a video doorbell. Installing a doorbell camera (such as the Scout Video Doorbell) will allow you to see who is at the front door without having to be present. In the event of a break in, a video doorbell could provide crucial information to the police. At the very least, a doorbell with a visible camera will have potential burglars think twice before attempting to break into the house, as all evidence will be caught by the camera and stored on video. Getting a doorbell provides added convenience even when you are not on vacation, as you’ll always be able to see who is at the door and whether or not it is a knock worth answering.
Don’t post on social media
Vacations are always exciting. You want to show the world your life highlights, but it may be best to wait until after your vacation is done. Otherwise, you may be telling the world that your home is empty and available. First, don’t mention your vacation on social media before you go on a trip and try not to mention it while on vacation. Take all the pictures and post them after you’re done. Secondly, don’t accept friend requests or follows immediately before or during your vacation, especially if you don’t know the person sending the invite. Burglars may be following you to gain information on your vacation plans. Again, those requests can wait. Lastly, turn off the location feature on your social media. Most platforms will track your geo-location and while you may not be posting specifically about your vacation, your location may still be on your posts indicating that you’re not at home. Turn off your geotagging and you won’t give criminals the heads up. Most importantly, however, you should enjoy your vacation and take all the pictures. Your social media will still be there when you get home.
Lock up and/or hide your valuables
Everyone has valuables they couldn’t bear to lose: priceless family heirlooms, rare baseball cards, watches, jewelry, a $1 token from an Long Island arcade that you’re certain is worth some money. Make sure whatever you hold dear isn’t stolen by locking it up somewhere safe. Even if your home is outfitted with the best home security system money can buy, there’s still a chance something you couldn’t live without could be stolen, so make sure to lock up anything valuable in a trusted safe or hiding place. Avoid common hiding places like your underwear drawer or high closet shelves, as those can be some of the first places burglars can look. It’s best to invest in a well made safe or, even better, get creative and store your valuables in diversion safes like clocks, electrical outlets, and Morton salt containers. Diversion safes have become surprisingly crafty in their disguises and aren’t just books with hidden compartments anymore. If you really care about your valuables, find a safe, reliable place to hide them and make sure they’re packed away before taking a long vacation.
Vacations are supposed to be an uninterrupted break from the day to day where families, friends and folk alike can enjoy a little peace of mind away from their daily lives. If you follow our steps, you will find true relaxation while on vacation and come home to a house exactly the way you left it.