Travel and Social Media: Tips for Protecting Your Home While On Vacation
Vacation is supposed to be relaxing, a time to rest up and enjoy yourself. It's also a great time to let your friends know just how much fun you are having and, you know, rub it in their faces. In the past, that took the form of post cards, the occasional phone call and the dreaded post-vacation slideshow. But, with technology, we can all instantly share our travel joy with our friends. Unfortunately, that sharing can extend beyond the boundaries of friends to those you probably don't want knowing you are out of town.
The last thing anyone wants while away is to worry, especially when it comes to the safety and security of your home, and social media presents a unique set of challenges in that regard. But, there are ways to mitigate your concern.
Don't discuss your vacation plans and dates online.
It's difficult to know who sees what you post online at all times, so when in doubt, don't post anything. An unplugged vacation might be just what you need to help you get into the spirit of your trip. It can also keep anyone trying to exploit your absence from knowing what you are doing and when.
Limit posts about your trip to friends only.
Facebook does offer its users the ability to limit the information you share to specific groups of people. If you absolutely can't live without FB even for a few days, this is your best option. Create a friend group and share your photos and updates only with that group. That will insure that only people you know and trust get sensitive information about your plans.
Wait until you return to unload.
One thing everyone loves about social media is its immediacy. Being able to share a moment in real time has its advantages, but when traveling, it offers a signal to would-be criminals that you aren't at home. Save your photos and updates until after the trip and then post it all in bulk. Not only is it safer, but it will provide a recap of your entire trip to your friends in a single entry.
Enlist the aid of IRL friends.
One of the great things about having friends and neighbors is they can help look out for you. Ask your friend in real life to avoid talking about your vacation online -- they are the ones most likely to know you are leaving -- and, for a taste of old school home protection, check up on your place while you are gone. After all, what are (non-Facebook) friends for?