How to keep your home safe while you're on holiday
Let's be honest, how many of us add home security measures to our holiday preparation list? The fact is, holidays leave our homes vulnerable, so it's smart to take security precautions before you go.
The good news is, nowadays there are plenty of ways you can keep your home safe from break-ins while you're soaking up the sun. However, this can leave us confused about how to go about choosing the right security measures for our own home.
We've put together some advice and ideas to help you get your home on lockdown while you travel.
Check you're covered
So you've sorted out your holiday insurance, but have you checked your buildings and contents insurance is up-to-date recently?
While most of us are bound to have a home insurance policy in place, how many of us have read the small print?
The unfortunate fact is, some insurance policies have clauses which make them void if you are away from the home for a certain number of days, or if someone (like a house-sitter or dog-walker) has access to the property in your absence.
It may feel like a boring task, but checking over your home's buildings and contents insurance policy to check you're covered for all items and eventualities while you're on holiday is a smart move you'll be glad you took.
Stay off social
Nowadays, the airport Facebook check-in seems like an obligatory part of anyone's holiday, but is it really sending out the right message? By advertising the fact your home may well be unoccupied for a week or two, you could be inviting the wrong kind of people to help themselves to your valuables. If you can't resist uploading that perfect holiday selfie or beach boomerang to Instagram, try to at least wait until you're home safe and sound to eliminate risk (plus, a digital detox is a great way to switch off and enjoy your holiday to the full!).
What can you do to make your home look occupied while you're away? Firstly, you can ask neighbours to pop in to pick up your post or put your bin out while you're away, or ask a friend to drop by with fresh flowers to place in the window (you can return the favour when they go away!).
Next, you can invest in a few reasonably affordable items to trick trespassers into believing you're home. This plug-in security timer turns on and off randomly, with summer and winter settings to accommodate seasonal changes in light. To create some noise in the home while you're away, try out a smart plug timer which will turn your radio on periodically, like this one from Amazon. Just make sure you choose a talk-based station, as voices are more likely to convince a burglar someone is home than music blaring out of a seemingly empty property. Stations like Radio 4 or Talk Radio are good options!
Another simple way to make your home look occupied while you're on holiday is not to make it look too tidy. No one wants to return home to a tip, but a little clutter can make it look far more lived-in than lots of clear surfaces visible through windows.
So, before you put the remote control away in a drawer, considerable throw it casually on the sofa. And instead of scooping up all the books and returning them to the bookcase, think about leaving one on the coffee table as if you've just left of the room to grab a coffee.
Plan your escape
Nothing screams empty house like unopened milk bottles on the doorstep and a pile of parcels in the porch. Plan ahead by cancelling any regular deliveries like milk or newspapers, and if you're ordering anything online make sure it is scheduled to arrive once you're home.
If you can't recruit any willing neighbours to pick up your post, you can sign up to Royal Mail's Keepsake service. From just £14 for 10 days, they'll keep hold of all your mail and deliver it once you're home to keep it away from prying eyes.
Invest in some serious kit
If you're really serious about upgrading your home security measures, there's a range of kit you can invest in.
This Nest Cam IQ is much more than just a security camera. It can stream high-res footage to you if an intruder is detected and even zoom into faces. Not only can it see in the dark, it has a speaker and mic so you can talk to your home from wherever you are. Bonus for home security, and a fun way to talk to your dog while you're at work too.
How to keep your car safe while you're on holiday
After taking our advice on how to keep your home safe while you're on holiday, don't fall at the final hurdle and leave your car with an un-approved parking operator. The Park Mark system has been created for consumers to find a trusted car park, and all of our car parks have the seal of approval. Book secure meet and greet airport parking here.