Leaving for a long holiday? Read this home security checklist


Keep your home and valuables safe and sound while you travel.

Woman using laptop at the table. Home security system concept

© belchonock | 123rf

The holiday season is nigh, and while it’s much easier to just drop everything and go, it’s important to ensure that everything is in order at home.

Go through this checklist to make sure that you’ve done most, if not all of these to keep your home safe while you’re away.

1. Tell someone, not everyone

While you’re sharing your excitement about your upcoming vacation to friends and family, ask one of them or a neighbour to do an occasional drop-in. They can collect your mail, water your plants, and switch your lights on and off. A lived-in house deters potential intruders.

While you’re at it, give them your alarm code so they can deactivate it should a short-sighted sparrow bump into one of your windows.

Additionally, try not to brag about your travels on Instagram too much, especially not the exact dates. This gives the public access to your away dates, making it easier for intruders to…intrude.

2. Make it look like you’re home

On our point on lived-in homes deterring potential intruders, stage the home according to your usual habits. Leave some clothes on the drying rack, slippers at the front door, and a light or two switched on.

You can even ask your neighbour to park at the front of your house for extra measure.

3. Equip your home with security tech

If you have the budget, install a home security system with live video viewing on your smartphone or tablet. Some security systems don’t just detect trespasses, but also have sensors for temperature, motion, smoke, and carbon monoxide. Remember that you’re not just keeping your home safe from burglars, but also ensuring that it stays in one piece for your return.

Home security tech is so advanced these days, you might also want to consider keyless locks with video doorbells. These are harder to hack, and you’ll get notifications when someone’s at your door.

For a lower budget security touch, install smart lights at your entryways that switch on and off according to the times when you’re usually home. This maintains the at-home façade.

4. Test your security features

There’s no point investing in all the security features above only to find out that they’ve malfunctioned.

Test all your locks, systems, and batteries (e.g. smoke alarm) at least 2 weeks before your travels. This gives you enough time to call the security company for repair works.

5. You’ve got (No) mail

If you’re away for a longer period, suspend your newspaper subscription and reschedule your courier deliveries. Piled up newspapers and mail tell passers-by that the homeowner is away, and the house is vacant.

This is also a good habit to practice, so your newspapers don’t go to waste and your deliveries don’t get lost in the post office or returned to the sender.

6. Switch off all plugs

Ensure that every plug point is switched off as a fuse can cause a fire. Don’t switch off the main power supply as you’d want to keep your refrigerator running if you still have food in it.

7. Lock the doors and windows

This is a no-brainer, but there’s no harm in saying this thrice! Ensure that every door is locked, and if you have locks on your windows, lock those too! If not, consider getting some sort of security feature for your windows that are security and fire-friendly.

If you have a spare key under the welcome mat or in a potted plant, remove it and pass it to a trusted friend or family.

8. Keep your valuables safe

Keep them safe, or in a safe. If you don’t have a safe, you can also deposit your stuff into the bank.

As for electronics or china that are visible through the windows, consider moving them away or concealing them with covers.

This article was originally published as Leaving for a long holiday? Read this home security checklist by atap.co and is written by Charmaine Kon.