It’s that time of year again and you have a lot to consider.

Have you packed your flip flops? Sun lotion?

But what about your home security. Unfortunately this is usually an after-thought for the excited holiday maker. Holiday season is a prime time for a burglar as there are usually a lot of properties that aren’t secure and are empty. This means that they can go about their business undisturbed and with no interruption.

A lot of people will have invested in the essential home security equipment such as upgraded locks, a burglar alarm and CCTV. But it is the non-physical upgrades that can make the difference if an opportunistic thief passes by. The following tips and tricks have been compiled to make sure you keep you property as safe and secure as possible when you go away.

Don’t share your holiday plans widely

Having an open conversation with your neighbours or friends is a way of showing your excitement, but also a way for someone to listen in to these plans. You really don’t know who is listening in. You may be discussing plans and dates on the phone in the garden, or nipped to the local shop and are talking through your trip in open public. The thing to remember is you don’t know who is listening in.

Social media silence

As with the advice not to share your plans widely, it is also not to advertise the fact that you are going away on social media. You may have family and friends on your friends list who you want to make away, but do you know everyone of the list? The person you made friends with 2 years ago but never kept in touch? People share a lot of sensitive information on social media and it doesn’t take a detective to piece together past posts to work out an address.

Hide your valuables

When you are at home you will often have your valuables on display, for easy access or to enjoy them. However when you are away, it is usually advisable to keep them hidden away from sight and make it harder for a potential burglar to find them. This can include valuables that are in plain sight, such as by a door or visible through a window. Hide them in a place out of sight and easy accessed by you. This could be at the back of a cupboard, or in a home safe for example. Another option is to put them in safe keeping at trusted friend or relatives address.

Make your house look lived in

It is easy for a house to look empty. The half-drawn curtains and lack of lighting. Also the build up of post in your letter box. The best way to make your property look lived in lights that run on a time. Put them on at random times through the nights so that they don’t follow a recognisable pattern. There are also fake TV generator lights that can make it appear like someone is watching television. Another thing to consider is the houseplants on your windowsill. If they start to wilt and look unloved, then this could also be a potential sign someone is not at home.

Designate a keyholder

One of the best forms of making sure your house is secure when you go away is to designate a keyholder. This is someone who you trust to visit your property and make sure everything is OK. Their responsibilities can include switching lights on and off in the property and making it look lived in. This could include watering the plants, putting the bins in and out, or opening and closing the curtains. If you are away for a while it could include mowing the lawn and sweeping up leaves and weeds. This is probably quite a big ask for a neighbour to do! The main thing is to thank them for their kind service if they do, so always arrange a gift or a thank you.

Discreetly pack your car

One of the biggest giveaways that you are away from your property is the location of your car. This is usually the main sign that you are in or out. If you are loading up your car, do a bit at a time. Make sure nobody is watching your movements. Ideally park your car on the drive or in a garage. When loading the car make sure as to hide holiday items such as tents or sun hats, these are an obvious giveaway.

Shut and lock everything!

The big day is here and you’re about to embark on your relaxing getaway. The most important thing of this list is to make sure your property is secure. Are all the doors and windows shut and locked? Are external gates and barriers shut and locked? Most thieves are opportunistic, so if a window has been left open on vent this is an easy in and out access route.

We hope these tips will help you to make sure home security is part of your holiday checklist. You don’t want to be in a situation where you return to find that your house is not secure or have been burgled.