On the road…
Chances are you’ll be packing up the car and heading off on a lengthy trip at some point in the summer, whether it’s a day-trip to the seaside or a full-blown staycation.
Maybe you’ll venture across the Channel for the Euros, or just to head deep into France for your annual break.
Whatever the reason for the road trip, run through this checklist before you set off.
Burglars know that more homes are empty in the summer as people go on holiday, so it’s important to think about security before you leave your house vacant.
It goes without saying that you should check that all of your home’s points of entry are locked, and that there’s nothing in your gardens that could be used to break in – tools, ladders or otherwise.
Timers on your lights can give the impression you’re still home, or you could offer your neighbours use of your drive if you’re taking your car away.
Get a friend or family to check in on the place if you’re going away for a week or more and ask them to pick up the post from the doormat or remove flyers and leaftlets from your letterbox – a dead giveaway that the house is empty.
France is in the midst of uncompromising industrial action, including blockades at oil refineries and distribution centres that have left many petrol stations completely dry, and others with lengthy queues.
Best to fill your tank before you leave the UK and keep a close eye on the fuel gauge.
Don’t be tempted to load your car with jerry-cans full of spare fuel – there are per-car limits on Eurotunnel (30 litres) and on cross-Channel ferries (usually 5 litres). And you’ll fall foul of French law if you have over 10 litres of spare fuel in your vehicle.
Always use a bona-fide jerry-can (look for ‘ADR approved’, or similar), and don’t put petrol in old milk containers or other unsuitable vessels.
One tactic might be to top up your tank at every opportunity when you’re driving through France, even if it’s still three-quarters full. And once you get to your destination, avoid fuel-burning day-trips until you’re confident there is a reliable local supply that’s going to get you home again.
Be social media savvy…
Don’t broadcast your absence by posting details of where and when you’re on holiday on social websites.
Either give yourself a break from messaging, or ramp up your security so casual surfers can’t see that you’re on a beach in Marbella.
If you’re going away and leaving older teenage children in the home, ask them not to have a party. They probably will anyway, so INSIST that they’d don’t inadvertently advertise the event to strangers via Snapchat or the like.
Every summer brings a crop of stories about parents who return home from holiday to find their property trashed and/or stolen by people who gatecrashed a party at their house.
You don’t want that – or the strife with trying to claim back the cost of the damage on your home insurance.