Battening down the hatches – keeping your home safe whilst on holiday

We all deserve a good holiday. Without it, what would we have to look forward to for the rest of the year?

But there is one significant drawback to the concept of casting off the shackles of the working week and leaving the country for a fortnight – the idea of leaving your home vacant and vulnerable.

Over half of UK homeowners worry that their homes will be broken into whilst they are away on vacation, but with a few precautions, that worry will soon become little more than a vague memory. So, here are a few top tips on how to protect your home while you’re on holiday.

Check household insurance

Before you even book your holiday, make sure that you have the household cover you need and that it’s still valid for the duration of your trip. It’s an easy oversight to make, but if you leave for vacation and return to find your home burgled, the first thing you’ll do is phone your insurer.

Look like you are home – Perhaps the worst thing you can do when going on holiday is to make it abundantly clear that you are on holiday. There are several simple things you can do to ensure that your home doesn’t look as though it’s unoccupied.

Firstly, make sure the lawn is freshly mowed and that curtains and blinds are left open. Cancel any weekly newspaper or milk deliveries and get a family or friend (or neighbour) to make sure that all post is removed from your doormat.

Perhaps the most clever thing you can do, however, is to install either photosensitive bulbs (that come on automatically when it gets dark) or bulbs on a timer to come on at night so it looks like somebody is in. This is one of the most important ways to protect your home before your holiday.

Bulk up your security system

It’s never been easier and more cost-effective to keep your home safe and you will never feel more vulnerable than when you‘re on holiday.

From complete home security solutions featuring perimeter security triggers and CCTV cameras to wireless solutions that use the cloud to send a video signal to users via their smartphone, there are several options for holidaymakers to consider.

If you do decide to invest in a security system, however, make sure it’s properly advertised, as there are few things as unattractive to a burglar than a ‘this house is protected by’ sticker.

Keep it to yourself

It can be tempting before we go away to let all and sundry know that we’re off on our holidays (particularly if we’re going somewhere nice). But to keep it to yourself and whatever you do – don’t share it on social media! This includes ‘tagging’ yourself or ‘checking in’ to foreign locations whilst you’re away. Because, how many of your Facebook friends do you really know?

Pet protection

If you have a family pet then you probably won’t be able to take it on holiday with you (unless you’re holidaying within the UK).

Don’t see this as a challenge, see it as an opportunity. If you can find a friend or family member who is willing to house and pet sit while you’re away, they will act as the keepers of the realm – protecting your home from potential thieves and keeping the bed and sofa warm for your return.

No temptation

Before you set off for the airport, ensure that all valuable items lying in plain sight are moved to somewhere a little less obvious.

Leaving the car keys on the table by the door, for example, could be read as an open invitation by some thieves. Anything valuable or portable should be kept out of sight, in a safe, or a bottom drawer if possible.

Secure the exterior

Examine the exterior of your house as a burglar might – thinking about potential points of entry and deconstructing how you might go about gaining entry with minimal fuss.

Is there an ill-fitting side door perhaps? Or a loose plank of wood on the garden fence? Make a note of the imperfections and try to fix them before heading off for your week (or more) of fun in the sun.

Keeping your home safe while on holiday is, ultimately, a case of common sense and common sense dictates that the exterior should always be the first line of defence.