With visiting holiday guests on the horizon, or the possibility of your vacation home being a destination to holiday travelers, it’s important to have a plan to educate these visitors on the home security you have in place, while ensuring your home remains safe – just like you intended.
Between trying to cook the perfect meal and making sure you get this season’s hottest gift, the last thing you need to worry about this holiday season is your home’s safety. Take away the stress of holiday guests by creating a guest home security plan based around these tips and recommendations.
1. Educate Guests About Your Home’s Security System
When your guests first arrive, it is important that you educate them about your smart home devices and security system. Explain the features you have available, such as what types of cameras are around (motion detection, doorbell cameras, cameras that are always on, etc.), smart locks, and any smart home systems that control lights or temperature. Doing so will ensure that your guests feel comfortable and safe during their stay.
2. Set a Temporary Security Alarm Code
Provide your guests with your alarm code and instructions on how to use your security system. If you can, walk through the steps with them so they are confident with how everything works. After they leave, use their departure as a reminder to change the code. Updating your security alarm code regularly is important to help keep your home more secure.
3. Allow Guests Access to Smart Door Locks
If you plan to have guests who will be coming and going without you, it might be worth it to invest in smart locks for your doors. Smart locks are great because they use a code rather than having to share keys that can be lost or copied. With these locks, you can set a specific code for your visitors to use so that your master code will not be compromised as well as set a time limit their code is valid for, ensuring that after their stay, your home remains secure. If you’re looking for a new locking system, here are some door locks we recommend that will help to help improve your home security.
4. Point Out Security Camera Locations
While there isn’t currently a uniform nation-wide law on disclosing the use of personal security cameras, suffice it to say if you are infringing on people’s privacy without their knowledge, you are likely toeing the line of what may be deemed “ok.” Even if your cameras are pointed out from your house, it’s polite to let visitors know what is being recorded. Some states do have laws that require you to disclose your security camera locations, so check your state laws for intricacies.
Additionally, rental platforms like Airbnb often have their own rules and regulations about recording devices that you’ll need to abide by if you’re listing your home on these channels.
5. Lock Away Valuables in Safes
Between holiday parties with friends bringing plus ones, to vacation renters, and even extended family coming to stay, there is a good chance you will have acquaintances or people who you do not know well in your home over the holiday season. Make sure to put away your valuables whenever you plan to have guests. Hide your larger items in areas that are “off-limits” to guests and use safes for your most precious valuables, such as expensive jewelry or anything that can be easily picked up. Even if you know your guests, locking your valuables is a good habit to form.
6. Inform Your Guests Which Areas Are “Off-Limits”
Possibly more relevant to when you are opening a home to vacation renters, make sure your guests clearly understand which areas of your home you’d like to keep private or “off-limits.” If you’re worried about visitors forgetting or being a little nosey, one easy way to be sure your guests are respecting your rules is to add entry sensors for any “off limits” areas you’d rather visitors or renters to stay out of. These sensors will alert you if someone opens a prohibited door, cabinet, or other space you don’t want them going into so you are aware of the situation.
7. Create an Emergency Plan for Guests
Finally, it is important to remember that your home is new and unfamiliar to your guests. While the hope is there will not be an emergency, make sure your guests are prepared just in case there is. Provide your guests with a manual for emergencies that includes where the panic button is on an alarm system, the best fire escape routes, and local emergency responder numbers. Within this manual, you can also include all the codes, instructions, and rules guests must follow. To keep all this information in one place and have something that can be easily updated when new guests come to visit, download our “Guest Resource Guide” printable template.