The summer holidays are finally here. It feels like it has been the longest term ever and we are all thoroughly worn out and ready for a breakaway, not just from the school and work routine, but also to visit pastures new and get away from it all.
Holidays are amazing. There is no doubting that fact at all but there are so many things to think about when you are travelling away with children. It feels as though you have to pack everything plus the kitchen sink. Making sure you remember those all important things that they can’t live without, from teddies to devices. But how much thought do you give to making sure your house and valuables are safe while you are away?
Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo
Safe.co.uk are experts when it comes to keeping people safe with an extensive range of home and business security solutions and they are encouraging us all to think about keeping ourselves, our homes and ourselves safe this summer so that we can focus on the important thing, enjoying ourselves. They will be advising us over the summer about ways to travel safely on their website and it is well worth checking out some of the articles there already for some very handy tips.
So you are going on holiday, what measures can you take to keep your home and valuables safe while you are away?
Don’t tell the burglars you are going away
This is a really difficult issue, particularly if you are a big user of social media. Of course, you want to tell the world you are going away and you want to share your amazing holiday photos. However, you are also telling the world that your house is most likely empty. Many people also don’t realise that their default social media settings often show their location, so you really are giving burglars the heads up.
Make sure everything is secure…
Whenever we go away, it is always a mad dash for the car with the last few things and the child that has chosen to be slow or reluctant for that particular day. There was one occasion (and fortunately we were only away for a couple of days) when the front door was left on the latch. Now we have a double locking system and we are normally really careful to make sure everything is locked but that time we didn’t. It still makes me shudder to think about what could have happened.
We were lucky. But there are lots of chancers who will try doors and windows to see if they can find a way in. It only takes five minutes to check all doors and windows are locked and it is so important that you do. We certainly do now and we both check too so that we know we can relax and go off and enjoy our break.
So check and double check that all doors to your property are locked and windows are shut and locked too.
…Including your valuables
It is impossible to take all of your valuables with you and you don’t want the worry of carrying everything around with you when you are on holiday. If possible, take any valuables to a family member or friend to take care of for you or invest in a safe which you can hide away. This will give you peace of mind that even if the worst did happen and your house was broken into, your valuables should hopefully still be safe.
Make it look like you aren’t away
If you go away regularly, it might be worth investing in light switch timers. There are some timers that easily fit over light sockets and don’t require any D.I.Y. skills, you just fix them, set them and the lights will go on and off and set times. This is a great way of making the house look occupied and it is more convincing than just leaving a light on for the whole time you are away.
Photo by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash
Curtains and blinds are tricky as most people open and close them throughout the day. Generally, guidelines recommend closing curtains and blinds at the back of the house and leave them open or partially open at the front.
The radio can be another great deterrent, use a timer socket to set times for the radio to come on and off at different times during the day.
Ask someone to pop in
This can be useful if you are away for longer than a few days. Ask someone to pop in on a daily basis to make sure that everything is okay. Encourage them to make the house look lived in by making subtle changes in the house or garden that would be noticeable to any onlookers.
If you have a drive, maybe ask a friend or neighbour to park on your drive, as this too makes the house look occupied.
Even better, ask someone to stay in
The ideal solution to an empty house, of course, would be to have someone live there while you are away. If you have a friend or family member that would be willing, that would be the best idea. However, if you have pets that need looking after, a garden that needs maintaining or you are going away for more than a week or two, there are a large number of reputable house sitting agencies online. Checks are usually carried out by the agency and fees can vary, but this might be something to consider to put your mind at rest.
Invest in an alarm or surveillance cameras
My mum always said that if a house had an alarm, it obviously had something worth stealing. I think the point she was trying to make was that it makes a house more appealing if there is an alarm. In reality, the presence of an alarm or surveillance cameras is a huge deterrent as it will increase the likelihood of getting caught.
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However, both of these can be very costly, so you can always fake it. Both fake alarms and surveillance cameras are available quite cheaply and are fairly easy to install. Just make sure you shop carefully and don’t go for the cheapest option as if it is too cheap, it will look like a fake.
I was sent a family travel gift pack in return for writing this post. All opinions are my own.