Just saying the word “vacation” helps you to relax and to smile. However, here’s what you need to ask yourself and your family before your vacation:
- Is it a good idea to post on your social media outlets that you are not going to be home for a week or two?
- Do you want your vacation plans to be common knowledge for a burglar to find out?
- Did you know that many people are making it very easy for burglars by posting their whereabouts on social media?
In fact, one recent survey says that the 41% of homeowners between the ages 18-34 year old post vacation pictures and locations on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare etc.
Here’s a cold, hard truth: burglars and thieves are going social too.
They view Facebook as their best tool for picking an easy target. In fact, one resource says that 78% of burglars use social media to choose the next location to break into. So what can you do to protect yourself? Easy! You need to learn from the common mistakes that other people make!
Frequent social media mistakes made before summer vacation
1. Don’t post to everyone that “I’m going on vacation!”
- You tell them when you are going.
- You post the day when you are leaving.
- You tell them when you will be home.
- You make it very easy for the burglars to make their schedule for that week.
Does everyone really need to know that you’re going on vacation. Sure, you should tell your family and maybe your friends so that they know where you are, but do you really need to announce to everyone (ie. that guy in your 3rd grade class, those people you met at the work luncheon, the girl you met at the gym, etc.) your intentions?
2. Be sure that your location-based settings are DISABLED.
Did you know that your smartphones, tablets and laptops identify you via GPS or Wi-Fi hot spots? In fact, many of these are DEFAULT settings. If left enabled, everyone knows where you are, whether you tell them or not! Whether you use and iOS, Android or other smartphone, turning off your location settings are typically as easing as flipping a switch by toggling your location from on to off.
Whatever you do, make sure your location is not seen by potential thieves.
3. Double check your Facebook tagging settings
Did you know that people you are with on vacation can “tag” you by name in a picture?
This tells the world that you are away from home. Many people do not know that Facebook’s privacy settings allow you to manage the posts and photos you’re tagged in. In other words, you can setup your Facebook account so that you get alerted and must approve posts and summer vacation pictures where your account has been tagged. Smart people approve these for publishing once they get home.
In order to enable the review of Facebook tags before they’re posted, simply follow these steps:
- Login to your Facebook account and click the down toggle in the top right corner of your Facebook home screen. Select Settings.
- From the new menu on the left, select Privacy.
- Now, in Privacy Settings and Tools under the section Who can see my stuff?, select Use Activity Log in the section titled, “Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.”
- This will load a new page, called Timeline Review.
- To the right of the “Timeline Review” title and “Notifications”, select the grey cog. This will bring up an overlay.
- Review the information and then toggle the dropdown from Disabled to Enabled to turn on timeline review.
Enabling Facebook’s Timeline Review doesn’t stop a picture or comment from posting. They will still show up when someone searches or in the news feed, but it does control what’s posted to your own timeline. If you’d also like to be able to review tags from others before they appear on your own posts, check out this FAQ from Facebook for a great step-by-step process.
Common social media mistakes made during summer vacation
4. Resist the urge to CHECK-IN when on vacation
Did you know that your favorite social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare allow you to CHECK-IN and alert people where you are posting from? Be sure to resist the urge to check-in at the restaurants you are eating in or the hotel you are staying in so as not to alert everyone that you are out of town.
PRO TIP: You can always go back and tag locations and family/friends in the images you post on Facebook after they’re posted. Simply edit the post and update the setting to include more information.
5. Don’t post while on summer vacation. Enjoy your trip and be in the moment!
- Put down the phone and pick up a digital camera. Sure, you don’t have your filters, but the quality of your pictures will be far better and you’ll have a better backup for the future.
- Take that awesome picture of the sunset and then actually enjoy the sunset. There’s no need to post them immediately.
- You took a selfie to show off your bikini tan? Awesome. Now go get in the pool. Post it later.
Your friends and family love pictures – they’ll love them just as much after you get back. Take photos and jot down the posts & messages you’d normally say about the experience to post later. Consider using a social media management tool, like Hootsuite, to write posts and tweets, then schedule them to post after you return home.
6. If you have a blog or website, capture the moments of your summer vacation there.
Write your posts and upload your pictures and simply save them as a draft that you can publish after you get home. Use the time while you site in your lounge chair or ride a train across the countryside somewhere to really think about your trip and how to relate it to those back home.
Even if you don’t have a blog or website, you can still keep a journal of your travels to look back on later. Keeping a small notebook or journal handy throughout your trip will allow your to write down the moments as they happen or look back on them later in the day. This is a priceless way to reflect back on your travels without having to search through all your social media profiles from years in the past.
Go over these social media mistakes and tips with your family
There’s no doubt that social media is fun. It’s actually an amazing tool that connects us with virtually anyone, anywhere. But do you and your family need that connection while on summer vacation? Really consider this and these social media mistakes before you head out on vacation this summer.
Consider enjoying a technology-free summer vacation this year. You’ll not only enjoy your trip more by being in the moment, but you’ll also be sure to avoid these many social media mistakes when going on summer vacation.
We hope these tips on how to protect your home from burglars helpful. Your friends here at InsuranceHub are serious about educating you on ways to protect what is important to you. If you have any questions on your homeowners policy, please reach out to us today at (877) 341-5728 or get started on our online form by clicking the image below.