This year, holiday travel promises to look far different than in years past. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a tremendous effect on our country’s travel plans this year. However, we will still see an increase in travel, even if it takes different forms than usual. In fact, this USA Today article explains that many families plan to use the holidays as an opportunity to see family members for the first time all year! Many of these trips will include extra precautions, such as staying in campers rather than family member’s homes. Regardless of the differences this year compared to most, you can anticipate seeing an uptick in travel in the coming months. In this post, we share some tips to help ensure holiday travel security!

We will begin with an eye on social media. These fairly new security tips deserve extra attention during any extended absence. From there, we will look at how you can involve your neighbors in your security plan. We will also look at how you can stay security-conscious with smart mail-related precautions. From there, we will look at how smart home appliances can increase home security. Finally, we will examine the role of monitored fire and environmental security during holiday travels. Now, let’s begin our holiday travel security primer with some tips for safe social media use!

2 girls taking a picture of themselves on the beach.

While taking and posting vacation pictures may be tempting, we recommend waiting until your return to share them on social media.

Social Media Security “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

The role of social media in keeping up with friends and family has increased greatly over the past several years. Additionally, the ability to quickly share photos and memories of vacations has increased as well. However, sharing these memories before returning home often represents a security foul! Remember, the likelihood that people outside of your close circle of trusted people can see these pictures is often quite high. We all fall out of touch with some of our social media peers. Additionally, “friends of friends” may see these photos as your friends comment on them.

We strongly recommend limiting the amount of social media contacts that can view your posted content. Just as importantly, we recommend waiting until your return to share photos of your travels. Doing so will help you avoid advertising the fact that you have an empty home! While your home is empty, we also always recommend customers ask their trusted neighbors to keep an eye out. Now, let’s look at how doing so can increase your holiday travel security.

Ask Trusted Neighbors for Security Assistance

Sometimes, the best security comes from those who can keep an eye on your vacant home. Telling your trusted neighbors about your travel plans allows them to stay extra vigilant in watching your home for you. Additionally, consider asking neighbors to occasionally park a car in your driveway. Doing so will give the house less of an “abandoned” look during an extended absence. Furthermore, ask anyone you’d trust with a key to occasionally stop inside the house as well. This adds both security and valuable peace mind during your travels! If you have someone checking in on the house, you can rest assured that “no news means good news.” Next, let’s look at how you can get proactive with mail delivery during holiday vacations.

Get Proactive with Mail-Related Security Threats

More than anything else, burglars want to get in and out of their victims’ homes without any confrontation. This minimizes the chances of getting caught and even hurt or killed by someone inside. Additionally, physical confrontations with residents can add additional criminal charges to the initial burglary. Therefore, burglars often look for signs of an empty home before committing a crime. An increasing pile of mail outside a home represents a popular telltale sign of a vacant home. Therefore, we encourage travelers to take a couple steps to prevent this from occurring.

An doorbell camera showing a smartphone user an image of a visitor

Installing an video doorbell allows you to monitor your home’s entrances even during your holiday travels!

For starters, travelers should ask the post office to hold their mail during their trips. Doing so will prevent holiday greeting cards and other mail from piling up and advertising the fact that you are away. Furthermore, we recommend, again, using your neighbors to help with this process. Non-USPS deliveries, such as Amazon and UPS packages, may still arrive. Having neighbors grab these for you can help keep your home from appearing empty. Of course, it also lowers the temptation for people to steal your packages! At this point, it’s worth taking a look at some smart home products that can help thwart exactly this type of activity.

Use Smart Home Appliances to Your Advantage

For the past several years, we’ve championed adding smart home devices to enhance home security. In particular, our doorbell camera comes in handy this time of year. This camera sends a live video clip to your phone when it detects motion. This means that the arrival of packages — or both invited and uninvited guests — will prompt this live video feed. Furthermore, you can talk and listen through the doorbell camera as well. This allows you to give instructions to those delivering mail. Of course, it also lets you convince anyone who might take your packages that you are inside and don’t need their assistance!

We offer additional security-related smart home appliances as well. For example, smart locks allow you to grant entry to house sitters without the use of a key. Smart lights provide the ability to make it look like you’re at home by having lights turn on using either consistent or randomized schedules. Smart cameras even allow you to efficiently monitor the interior and exterior of your property. For more ideas on adding smart home security, check out our 7 Important Security Add-Ons for Your Smart Home. Last but certainly not least, let’s now see how adding monitored fire and environmental detection adds a profoundly important dose of holiday travel security.

An Interlogix wireless freeze/flood sensor.

Environmental sensors, such as this combination freeze and flood sensor by Interlogix, can alert you to both frozen pipes or water in your basement.

Install Monitored Fire and Environmental Detection

At Northeast Security Solutions, we consider monitored security against smoke, heat, carbon monoxide, and environmental emergencies among the most important security that money can buy. We regularly install smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide (or “CO”) detectors when we install an alarm system. Ideally, we install this security during a home’s construction. This allows us to create a complete hardwired system in all of a home’s required locations for this equipment. You may remember our post sharing Residential Smoke Alarm Requirements in Massachusetts. In that post, we shared the legal requirements for smoke, heat, and CO detection in homes in this state. If we can install this equipment before you put your walls up, it provides the easiest access for us to create a full system comprised of monitored detectors. However, we can still install wireless devices after your home’s construction as well.

Additionally, we can install devices to monitor against weather-related emergencies. These sensors, called “environmental sensors,” detect events such as floods and extreme temperatures due to frozen pipes or malfunctioning HVAC equipment. The ability to detect these events before they turn in to a disaster can greatly enhance your holiday travel security. Additionally, we often surprise customers withe how easily we can add this security. For example, the pictured wireless sensor detects both water and¬†extreme temperatures! The simplicity of adding this security, as well as the huge potential savings of cost and effort that they create if they do catch an event before it turns into a disaster, make these sensors a popular addition to any alarm panel.

Create a Plan for Holiday Travel Security for Years to Come

We hope that this post has shared some information to offer you as much holiday travel security as possible. If you have any questions about this post or about security in general, we encourage you to contact us. The holidays provide unique security threats due to the increased giving of valuable electronic gifts, the frequent presence of tempting packages on our doorsteps, and, of course, the travel plans that many of us make during this time of year. We provide free site surveys for both new and existing customers alike. During our visit, we can address any security concerns you may have. Furthermore, we can make suggestions of our own based on what we see while onsite. We would love to help you create a security plan for the holidays that also keeps you as safe and secure as possible all year round!