6 Do’s and Don’ts for Securing Your Home While Away

You should always make sure your home is secure and your needs are taken care of before you jet off for your vacation. If you’re planning to pack up and take off for the weekend or take some time away, there are some things you’ll want to make sure you take care of before you go. 

Whether you’re renting an Airbnb or planning to check in at a hotel, here are six short-term rental do’s and don’ts to help ensure your home is secure while you’re gone.

The Do’s

Make Sure Your Security Cameras Are On

If you have any security cameras, whether indoor or outdoor, make sure they’re powered on and connected to your home’s internet. The last surprise you’d want is to check in on your phone while you’re away to learn that a camera is off or disconnected. If your cameras don’t automatically pan or tilt by motion detection, you should make sure they’re facing in the direction that you’ll most want notifications for. If you have an indoor camera that’s turned towards the interior of the house, turn it towards your front entrance so that you’re more apt to catch any nefarious activity.

Set Up Home Automations to Make It Look Like Someone’s Home

Have any smart lights? Now’s a great time to set up custom automations to make it appear as if you’re home while away. That’s one of the unique benefits of smart home devices besides convenience: You can set them to turn on around the time you start stirring in the mornings and have them turn off after sunrise. You can also set a schedule for them to turn on and off in the evenings. (Another good way to deter burglars is to leave a car in the yard.)

Arm Your Home Security System Before Leaving

If you have a home security system, be sure to set it to “Arm Away” before you leave. Some security providers will allow you to do this remotely by mobile app if you have access. Setting your home to the “Away” mode will allow your monitoring center to be notified (if you have professional monitoring) in the event of a break-in. If you self-monitor your security system, you’ll need to be able to get alerts and respond in the event of an emergency

The Don’ts

Brag About Your Trip on Social Media

It’s very tempting to want to tell your friends and followers on social media where you’re going and what you’ll be up to, but that’s a double-edged sword. While your friends might be excited for you, if this information falls into the wrong hands, you could end up with more trouble than you bargained for. Sadly, some people befriend you for malicious reasons and may use your information against you. Want to share your trip and the deets? Wait until you get back. 

Leave Windows Unlocked and Blinds Opened

It’s easy to forget to lock your windows if you’re accustomed to opening them often for some fresh air, but you’ll want to check all of them before leaving to make sure they’re locked to keep intruders out. Also, leaving your blinds open only makes it easier for passersby to look and see that there’s been no activity. They might also be able to see your possessions, making it more tempting to approach your home. For these reasons, close those blinds.

Neglect to Tell a Family Member or Friend For Help

Last but not least, if you have a close family member or friend you really trust, they can help keep an eye on your place while you’re gone. You don’t necessarily have to give them a key, but they can ride by just to see if everything’s looking okay. If you’ve asked a family member or friend to come check on your pets while you’re away, you’re already covered.

Photo by Miljan Živković / Gettyimages


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Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.