Seven tips to keep your home safe while you're away

13 November 2014 ( 14 August 2019 )

If you’re heading off on holiday, you will want to travel with the peace of mind that your home is safe.

One of the key things is to disguise the fact your property is vacant, as if burglars notice signs that suggest no-one is at home, they will see as an open invitation to try and get their hands on your prized possessions.

Here’s a seven point guide to making your home appear to be occupied and to keeping it safe from prying eyes while you’re not there.

1 Use a timer switch

Make use of a timer switch that turns your lights on at night. This can make it less obvious that your house is empty. Also think about leaving a radio on too. Ideally, set these to come on at random times, rather than at the exact same time every morning and evening.

And don’t forget to set your burglar alarm.

Five more tips to help protect your home from burglars...

2. Make use of apps

There are now a number of smartphone apps which allow you to activate your home’s alarm system remotely, so consider downloading one of these.

Some will even allow you to monitor what’s going on in your home, or alert you to suspicious activity.  

Connect your home with Nest

3. Cancel any regular deliveries

Remember to cancel regular deliveries, such as papers, milk, and food, as if bottles or other items pile up on your doorstep, this is a clear indication your home is empty.

Also try and do this subtly, as you don’t want everyone knowing your house is going to be vacant for a period.

4. Do a little gardening

If you’re going away for a slightly longer break, think about mowing the lawn and trimming bushes. This will avoid them appearing overgrown, even after two weeks.

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5. Lock up ladders

Keep tools and ladders that can be used to break in locked away while you’re on holiday.

At the same time, if you store tools inside a shed or garage, put a sturdy padlock on the door to ensure you’re not giving a thief a helping hand. Also always close your front gate.

6. Get a neighbour to keep an eye on your home

Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to check in and collect any mail and parcels, and to open and close the curtains.

Alternatively, invite a friend to “house-sit” for you while you’re away to keep an eye on things.

Could you be a housesitter?

7. Sign up to a Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, as these are a great way for communities to fight burglary.

Also bear in mind that some insurers may give you a discount if you are an active member. For more information, go to

Facebook can also be useful, with local community groups keeping neighbours alert to bogus callers and suspicious activity. 

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.