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I'm going to do something that I shouldn't.
You know that holiday that you have been looking forward to for days, weeks, perhaps even months? The one that you saved up for, are endlessly excited about and have already warned your Instagram followers to expect spam for?
I'm going to ruin it.
Now I'm not doing this for kicks. I'm not doing it because I'm jealous, though of course, I presume your holiday is going to be amazing. Or it was until I went and ruined it, anyway. No, I'm going to do it for your own good. Yes, the very statement that your parents used when you were a teenager - the one you abhor. For your own good. Except it never quite feels like that, does it? It feels like you're being preached to.
You're going to get preached to here. Sorry, but it's going to have to happen. I am eventually going to offer some fixes for the whole holiday ruining thing, but for the moment, here goes.
When you go on vacation, your home is as vulnerable as it can be. While you're sunning yourself, taking photos and dipping your toes in the sea, your home is waiting for someone to take advantage. You've vacated the hen house, and there're foxes waiting to pounce at the first given opportunity. And you're not going to give them just one opportunity, but a whole week, ten days, fortnight - however long you're going away for. Your home is a standing target for all of this time.
So why do I feel the need to do this? Your home is your castle, but this is your holiday! You work hard; you need the break! Unfortunately, it's something that has to be said because people are stupid. People do stupid things and then reap the consequences of it. Personally, I don't feel like people should be punished just for being stupid. But unfortunately, the world doesn't agree. Bad things happen to good people and to stupid people; there is no exclusion.
Now you - you, you're not a stupid person. I'm going to presume that because you're here. No, you're a clever person, and you want to just... double-check that you're not stupid. Like a true pioneer, you want to learn from the stupid people and the things they do when they go on holiday. You want to know the mistakes they make, the vulnerability they expose their home to. Because if you know these things, you won't do them, and thus you remain one of the clever ones, don't you?
So what do stupid people do when they go on holiday? Dear reader, let us consider the ways...
They Broadcast Their Whereabouts On Social Media
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Maybe you don't use social media enough. Maybe you still think Twitter is an endless stream of people Tweeting what they had for breakfast, rather than the bonafide news source it is. Maybe Facebook is that thing you get notifications from and then immediately delete.
If the above describes you, then you definitely won't fall into this trap. But if you do use social networks a few times a day, then you're vulnerable.
When you're going away, you broadcast it to the world. Here's a photo of me at the airport! Here's a photo of me on the beach!
And to the less awesome in the human populace, they don't think: "ooh, that looks like fun!". They think: "ooh, empty house, I'm going to go and steal things". You might think that is pretty worthless information, but for people in the know, it's easy to find out where someone lives nowadays.
I'm not saying you can't mention you're going on holiday on social media, so those of you breaking out in a cold sweat can relax. However, be smart about how you're doing it. Keep it vague. #Latergram exists for a reason. Don't say how long you'll be gone, but do make many mentions of the massive bodybuilder who's housesitting for you.
Stupid People Don't Protect Their Homes
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Your home should be a fortress when you leave for a holiday. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this tends to involve a few timers to switch lights on and the alarm set. It does for stupid people. But as we've already covered that, we know you're not one of those.
No, you understand that a few lights going on at vague times won't fool a determined burglar. If someone decides to scout a location, they will quickly see lights going on and off - but no one coming or going. These protections are now so well established that they're anything but.
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You can't hide the fact that your house is unoccupied, so instead, lock it down. And you do it literally. You lock gates, windows, doors and anything that can be used to gain entrance.
Glass is an obvious weak point of any house, so you've got that sorted to. You've installed temporary bars on the inside, so you don't have to come home and immediately be looking to find window replacement at short notice. You've got security screens and have put thorny bushes in the way of easy access routes, so it becomes painful to try and enter the house.
Stupid People Don't Ask A Friend To Check On Their Home
Even with all of the above measures, it's not certain that you can protect your home from invaders. The most determined of burglars will scout a location out and use the cover of darkness to get in.
That's why you, as a clever person, have asked a friend or family member to check in on your home while you're away. If you don't have anyone available, then you have hired a reputable security firm to do it for you. At the very least, you're set to be alerted should the alarm be triggered, so you can call in reinforcements if required.
Stupid people don't do that. So they go away, think all is fine and are then shocked to come home to carnage.
Stupid People Don't Lock Their Valuables Away
These people don't understand the need to remove important things from their home before people travel. They don't realize that if you can't afford to lose something - either for sentimental or financial reasons - it needs to be removed.
It's surprisingly really, given how easy it is to arrange for temporary storage for your most valuable goods. If only they knew the reassurance that would come with knowing the most important things were protected. Then, if the worst came the worst, nothing that was irreplaceable would be lost.
Stupid People Forget The Basics
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It's strange how most of us have somewhere outside our home where we store the keys. It can be under the bin, hidden in a bush or even a custom-designed pebble. (Sidenote: don't buy those. They're basically an advertisement screaming where you've left your key.) We all do it because being locked out is no fun and locksmiths are expensive.
Of course, most of us realize that this measure needs to be removed before we go on holiday. It's the first place a burglar will look when trying to gain access. Sure, they can break a window if they wish, but it's far easier to just walk right in as if invited.
Your alarm should prevent this being possible, but that's another downfall of the less intelligent in society. They have their alarm code as something easily identifiable. They need to remember it, so they pick something they can remember! They were born on May 21st, so they just the code 2105. There's no way they're going to forget that, no matter how daft they are!
Except, back on social media, everyone else knows their birthday too. It's a good first guess for what they might have used for an alarm code. Ditto their wedding anniversary or any other significant date. If it's easy for the stupid people to remember, it's easier for the nefarious to figure out as well.
But of course, you've got this down. Your alarm code - just like your PIN number and all your passwords - is four random digits that you have memorized. You wouldn't do something like using a date that is easily traceable to you. So even if you do forget to retrieve your key from its hiding place - which you won't, genius! - then there's still an alarm to tussle with.
Looking through those things, it's remarkable that some people ever go on holiday. The risks are so great; it might almost seem worthless. But of course, I've ruined your holiday for a reason. You've got a lot to think about, and you're tired, so I figured it's only fair to show you just how silly mistakes can impact your holiday. Now you can revel in the fact you would never do any of these things, and go on holiday with the full knowledge your home is safe and secure. Holiday blues are hard enough by themselves; don't make them worse by coming back to property missing.