Tis’ the season for escaping reality and heading off on your holidays. It’s one of the most exciting times of year and we want you to enjoy every minute but unfortunately a number of families return home to their worst nightmare. Burglaries are very common in homes where the occupants have gone away which is why we want to give you some useful advice on how to prevent your home from becoming a target whilst you’re on your travels.
Social Media is a huge threat to your home even before you go away. Everyone is excited when planning a trip so they will ask for people’s opinions on where to go on Facebook or share their confirmation on Instagram. This can give away a lot of information such as when you are going, how long for and who with which tells a burglar whose house is empty, how long for and when. Whilst you are on holiday, you should not share pictures or updates until you are home. We know how tempting it is to boast about your view or the good weather but it’s safer to tell people about it when you are back home. Although you may have secure privacy settings, your friends may not. Someone could hack into your friends account and see your updates or they could share your posts to a public network. Once it’s online you can’t get that information back so always double check what you are posting.
'your vehicle needs to be stored in a safe and secure space'
As you prepare for your holiday you will often go on a shopping spree for holiday clothes, toiletries and a huge suitcase to carry it all in. Your suitcase carries everything needed to make your holiday so it’s important to keep it safe on your travels. Never leave your suitcase unattended because opportunistic criminals could take it whilst you’re are distracted in the hope it will have something valuable in it that you couldn’t go on holiday without. This is why we suggest you leave valuable items at home where there is a security system keeping them safe. When buying your suitcase make sure it is unique so it won’t be confused with another holiday goer who could leave with your belongings by accident, or you can use tape and belts to distinguish it from the crowd. You should also purchase a small padlock to keep it zipped up and secure during transit from home to check-in to the plane.
Another decision to be made before you leave is if you drive yourself to the airport or get there using other transportation and leave your car at home, either way your vehicle needs to be stored in a safe and secure space. When you choose to drive yourself, you should book your car to be stored in an official airport car park. They are often monitored with CCTV and guards as well as offering new services such as valet parking in a secure unit the public can’t enter and holding your keys so they aren’t lost whilst you’re abroad. Alternatively, if you choose to leave the car at home, you can look for local secure parking whilst abroad, keep it on your garage, on your drive or in a public area covered by street lighting and CCTV. Make sure not to leave any valuables in your vehicle that could make it a target, double check your windows are closed and ensure it is fully locked. You can also speak to a trusted family member or neighbour who can keep an eye on where you are parked.
'cancel anything that may be left on show until you return such as milk or newspaper deliveries'
Close friends, family and neighbours are a key tool in protecting your home whilst you’re on holiday and you can return the favour when it’s their turn to go away. Asking someone to pop by each day allows them to create a sense that the house is occupied, which is called ‘Mockupancy’. This can be done in numerous ways such as closing the curtains in the evening, putting a lamp on then returning the next day to open the curtains and turn the light off. As discussed earlier, you could offer your driveway to your neighbour so it appears someone is coming and going each day. They should also make sure your post is cleared from the doorway as some burglars may check for a visible pile of post to find out if the house is empty. For this reason, you should cancel anything that may be left on show until you return such as milk or newspaper deliveries.
Whilst you are abroad it is also important to protect your money whether you exchange it before you go or withdraw it when you’re out there. If you are exchanging your money before you leave, ask the attendant at the kiosk to put the cash in a pouch and not count it out loud. Then return home and keep it in a secure place until you leave. During your travel keep it in your carry-on bag so you can keep an eye on it and if (in the worst-case scenario) the airline lost your luggage, you will still be able to fund yourself. When planning to use your card abroad, you should visit your local branch and inform them what county you will be in and for how long. This will stop your card being rejected or being kept by a machine due to fraud prevention systems. Ensure wherever you use your card it is an official payment system and there are no signs of fraudulent activity such as people lurking at the cash machines or writing down your details to take a payment.
Most importantly your holidays are about having fun. You should be able to relax and have peace of mind that you will be returning to your home exactly how you left it. Follow these tips and action this advice to ensure your holiday if full of fantastic memories that won’t clouded by an unfortunate homecoming. We wish you all a jolly holiday.
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