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Protect Your Home During the Holidays

Money, cashEditor’s Note: The holidays are fast approaching and many of us are planning to travel to see family and friends. Thieves are aware of that fact too. Here’s a few tips from our friends at Next Advisor, a service review site, to keep your home, vehicle, and valuables safe this season. –BH

Burglary can happen at any time or anywhere, but the number of thefts always seems to increase during peak vacation times like the holidays. Whether you’re planning to be away for a long vacation, or just for an evening out with loved ones, here are some safety tips to follow to make sure you don’t fall victim to a home invasion.

1. Secure Your Valuables
If you’re leaving a car parked on the street or driveway while you’re away, make sure you remove all valuables from plain sight. This includes any clothing, electronics, bags, etc. Even if you leave your car in the garage, you should also be sure to remove all valuables to make sure they remain safe in the event that someone breaks into your garage. It’s also wise to place any important documents and jewelry in a safe inside of your home, a safe deposit box or a hidden secure location.

Secure the locks on windows and doors and consider adding and using extra locks like this sliding glass door lock.

Secure the locks on windows and doors and consider adding and using extra locks like this sliding glass door lock.

2. Don’t Post Your Travel Plans Online
Yes, you’re excited about your vacation plans and want to share them with friends, but this could be an invitation to thieves. This is especially true if you do not have strict privacy settings on your accounts because it means that you may be sharing with people you don’t know. That’s why it’s important to always be aware whenever you’re posting your travel plans and location online. Learn more about this and other ways to protect your privacy on social media here.

Light Timer

Leaving lights on timers can make it look like the house is occupied.

3. Have a Family Member, Friend or Neighbor Check In
Tell someone you trust — such as a family member, neighbor or friend — that you will be gone, so they can be on alert for any suspicious activity. Give them a spare key so they can go by the house daily to make sure everything is OK and bring any mail or packages inside. Mail piling up is a dead give away to thieves that no one is home.

4. Hold Mail and Deliveries
If you can’t have someone you trust stop by your home to check the mail every day, call the postal service and request a hold on your mail until you’re back home. You should also consider holding any deliveries or regular subscription services you receive at home, like newspapers and magazines.

5. Make It Look like Someone is Always Home
Keep all blinds and curtains closed when you’re not home. Have your lights set on a timer or solar switch while you’re away, to make it appear as if someone is always there. This could help to ward off any would-be invaders.

6. Lock All Doors and Windows

Mail hold

Mail piling up is a sure sign to thieves that you’re not home.

This one is a given, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure all your doors and windows have working locks, and remember to remove all spare keys to your house or any keys sitting in locks throughout your home. This is important because someone could get into your house, steal these keys without you knowing, and then use the keys to gain access to your house again in the future. In addition, it’s also important to remember to not run any extension cords through windows for your outdoor holiday lights. This prevents the window from closing properly, and burglars will see this as an easy entry point.

7. Consider Installing a Home Security System
Whether you’re home or away, a home security system can give you the peace of mind in knowing your home and valuables are secure. Not sure which system is best for you? There are a number of top home security options that also offer special perks to new customers. For example, Front Point Security offers a 30-day, risk-free trial with a 100% money back guarantee, and ADT offers a free consultation and has a limited-time offer that allows you to get a free security system with the purchase of an alarm monitoring service and a $99 customer installation charge. Visit our home security system reviews to see which service will best fit your security needs. by Jessa Barron, contributor for NextAdvisor

A version of this article originally appeared on NextAdvisor here

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at