The summer season unofficially kicked off last weekend, with people around the country heading to wooded cabins, oceanside bungalows and lakeview retreats. But as you dusted off the cobwebs, we here at Security Baron hope you took the time to consider your vacation home’s security when you’re not around.
Securing a vacation home comes with some unique challenges. Rustic cabins often lack the amenities of suburban homes and are frequently left empty for weeks on end. This means you need a robust security system that can operate in tricky situations. Below, we have some tips for keeping your home away from home secure all year long.
Avoid the internet
Many vacation houses lack the powerful internet connections many of us are used to, which is fine most of the time — you’re there to unplug anyway, right? But that means security systems that rely on an internet connection can be problematic. If a router needs to be reset or a tree falls on a rural cable line, you’re out of luck.
Instead, consider a system that connects over cellular networks. These work wirelessly and can alert you or a monitoring company of break-ins even if the power goes down. Out of cell range? Many top security systems also have landline options.
Automate your retreat
Criminals love getting into a house that they know is empty. In many popular vacation spots, they have plenty of pickings. So making it look like someone is home, or even putting a shadow of a doubt into a burglar’s mind, can go a long way toward making sure your home stays safe.
While we love smart home devices like lightbulbs and plugs for securing your main home, those devices often rely on Wi-Fi connections to work at their best. Instead, go old-school with some plug-in timers on your lamps and maybe even on a fan to create some motion. Add in a motion-activated outdoor light and you’re sure to scare off some criminals.
If you rent out your second home, you may also want to consider a connected door lock. While these require a bit of setup and some form of connectivity, they allow you to control access to the house when you can’t be there to hand over the keys. They also make it easier to let someone in if something goes wrong.
Know thy neighbors
Nothing beats an extra set of eyes on your property. If your vacation home is near other people, get to know the neighbors and you’ll have a real live human to help you spot suspicious activity. Depending on how close you are with them, you can let them know when you’ll be up there or if friends are getting there first to avoid confusion.
You can also let your local authorities know that your house is often vacant. They can pay special attention to it during patrols and know who to alert if something goes wrong.
Accept the possibilities
If you’re really out in the wilderness or still aren’t sure your house will be secure, you may want to make your second home less lucrative for thieves. The first step could be upgrading locks, strike plates and other hardware to make the physical process of breaking in harder, but you may have to accept the fate that dedicated burglars may get in anyway.
Instead, minimize your potential losses. Keep an old TV with a VCR and your old VHS tapes there instead of a fancy Blu-ray player and big screen TV. Take bedding and cookware with you at the end of the vacation season. Depending on your vacation home and preferences, keeping just the bare minimum in your little getaway could even make your vacations more relaxing.