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How to Vacation and Travel Safely: 8 Tips from the Home Security Pros

Posted: August 21, 2019

You’ve worked hard all year, but it’s summer now and you deserve a vacation!! You’ve chosen your destination, bought your tickets or packed your car and are all set for the adventure of a lifetime. What you might not realize, though, is that as you are gearing up for your trip, criminals are getting for their busiest season of the year as well. Add safeguarding your home to your pre-trip checklist for a truly carefree and relaxing vacation.

According to FBI statistics, Americans experienced 841,283 residential burglaries in 2017. In addition to the violation of your personal space, property and sense of security, these incidents resulted in an average of $2363 in damage and property loss.

No one should have to budget into their vacation planning for a break-in. Instead, follow these important crucial steps before you leave to eliminate stress and worry about everything back at home.

Lock and Roll

Hopefully, your first instinct when leaving the house on a long trip is to lock the door behind you. Beyond your main entry door, take a trip around your entire house before you leave. Lock and test every single entry door, all windows on all levels of your home and skylights. Never assume that a specific window is unreachable because that is the one a diligent predator will use to gain access to your home.

Protect Your Home’s top of the line equipment coupled seamlessly with ADTⓇ’s home monitoring and top-rated ADT PulseⓇ app make this step infinitely easier. One glance at your ADT Pulse app will show you all of your door and window sensors and even allow you to lock ones left open remotely from anywhere your smartphone has service.

Put Away Trash Cans

There are many tell-tale signs of a vacant home for the trained eye of a burglar and trash cans on the curb for days on end is a big one. We know it’s tempting to leave your cans on the curb several days ahead of time before you leave so you don’t come home to stinky garbage, but there are safer ways to do it.

Take the time to ask a neighbor or friend to bring your cans out to the curb the day before trash collection and bring them back in later. This simple step eliminates this obvious sign that no one is home.

Piles of Mail, Packages and Newspapers

You’ve heard of porch pirates who cruise through residential areas looking to commit crimes of opportunity by stealing packages off of front porches while people are at work. Imagine how much this is compounded when there is 2 weeks of mail spilling out of your mailbox, a few packages sitting on the doorstep in plain sight and a pile of old newspapers in the driveway. This becomes a very safe assumption for thieves and opportunists of all sorts that no one is home.

  1. Contact USPS to have your mail and packages held at the post office for you until you return.
  2. Reach out to any and all newspapers you receive and ask them to hold your deliveries until you return.
  3. If you MUST receive packages while you are away, make sure to send them to a friend or neighbor's house for the time period you are gone so there is always someone to receive them and get them immediately out of the view of prying eyes.

Lawn and Gardening Implements

Take a few moments before you leave for your trip to walk through your yard. Imagine you were trying to break into this home. Are there things lying around that you would utilize to gain easier access? Tools left out at any time of year, whether you’re home or not, are always a bad idea because they are one of the first things to draw in eager thieves.  

That shovel might not be worth much, but it can be used to help break a lock or a window. Ladders should be stowed and locked away and not laying about inviting people to try your second-story windows. Even lawn furniture can pose a security threat. That cast iron chair or aluminum table may be used to heave through a window. 

Share Your Plan

Whether you’re heading out for the weekend or traveling abroad for 2 months, it’s always a good idea to let trusted neighbors and friends know that you will be gone. This way if anyone should see activity at all around or inside your home they will know it is out of place and should be reported. This is a very passive technique, however, that relies on hoping that your neighbors happen to see activity and take the step to report it. Instead, your home needs active protection.

A home security system such as the ones installed by Protect Your Home and monitored by ADT take your home security up to the next level with active watchfulness. The ADT PulseⓇ  App allows you to remotely view your cameras from anywhere in the world that you have internet access and even receive alerts with video clips when sensors are triggered. Motion sensors, door and window closure sensors, glass break sensors, smoke and fire detectors, and flood sensors add up to provide you with a safety net cast across your entire home to detect home emergencies as soon as they happen. 

Often times when traveling, however, you will not be available to respond to these emergencies. Areas with little to no cellular service are common when you’re trying to get away from it all. Long flights mean long times when you can’t be reached. Maybe you’ve simply turned your phone off to enjoy electronic-free time with the family. Even in these times, ADT is there 24/7 to respond to emergencies and immediately dispatch help to your home even when you’re a world away. If you are traveling out of town for an extended period of time we recommend contacting ADT so that you can be on an even higher alert at all times while you’re off on your travels.

Social Faux Pas

We know you’re excited about your trip and to share it all with your friends, but announcing your every move can be incredibly dangerous for your home. Keep your plans off of social media, which crooks often scan for opportunities. Every check-in, every picture post, every announcement of your “week-long vacation in 2 days” lets the world know exactly when your home is unoccupied. Save your pictures and exciting stories for when you are home safely to ensure your home stays safe in your absence. 

Shed Some Light

Thieves canvassing a neighborhood for targets to attack look for predictable patterns. Homes that are dark 24/7 make it easy to deduce that no one is home. Put timers on your lights to have them turn on automatically throughout the day and night. If you are having a friend coming by the house to care for plants or check on things ask them to leave different lights on each time they leave to imitate the constant presence of people within the home. 

If you have the Protect Your Home system installed with an Upgrade to ADT PulseⓇ + Home Automation, you can do this all on your own. SmartPlugs can be used to control your lighting remotely and you can even set up custom automation sequences which randomly turn your lights on and off on their own without having to bother someone else to do it.

Spare Yourself The Grief

Please, whatever you do STOP hiding keys outside your home. They are never as hidden as you think they are and burglars know to look for them. They would much rather have quiet and easy access to your home instead of causing a ruckus by having to force entry. If you must leave a key behind, leave it in the hands of the person who you are entrusting it with, skipping the hide-and-seek step. Better still, with your upgrade to ADT Pulse and the use of smart locks you can program individual entry codes for authorized visitors and your Protect Your Home security panel allows you to provide trusted users with their own disarm codes.