Embarking on a holiday with family is an exhilarating experience, filled with the promise of adventure and relaxation. However, ensuring that your home remains safe and secure while you’re away is equally important. Taking some proactive steps to protect your Portugal vacation home during your absence can provide you with peace of mind, allowing you to fully savor your well-deserved holidays. 

In this guide, we’ll explore 10 effective ways to safeguard your vacation home in Portugal, ensuring that your time away is worry-free and truly enjoyable. From advanced security systems to simple yet impactful measures, these strategies will help you create a fortress for your home, leaving you free to create cherished memories with your loved ones.

Protecting Your Vacation Home in Portugal

1. Get a monitored security system

A monitored security system is a robust defense mechanism for your vacation home. While the visual deterrent effect of surveillance cameras is valuable, its real strength lies in professional oversight. 

When you’re away, this system can be your eyes and ears, watching over your property 24/7. In the event of any suspicious activity, it promptly triggers alarms and immediately alerts security services. This rapid response can make all the difference in preventing potential threats and ensuring the safety of your home.

2. Request a friend for home surveillance

Having a trusted individual, such as a friend, neighbor, or dedicated house sitter, to keep an eye on your vacation home is invaluable. They play a pivotal role in maintaining the illusion of an occupied residence. 

In addition to checking for any visible signs of trouble, they can help collect mail, newspapers, or packages, which can pile up and signal your absence. Furthermore, they can adjust lighting schedules to create the appearance of someone being home, adding an extra layer of security through their presence and vigilance.

3. Maintain your yard

Regular lawn care and landscaping services do more than just keep your yard looking beautiful; they play a crucial role in the security of your property. An unkempt lawn with overgrown grass and neglected landscaping can be a clear indication that a home is vacant. 

By scheduling consistent maintenance, you ensure that your yard maintains the appearance of an occupied and well-cared-for property. This simple step can deter potential intruders, as they are less likely to target a home that appears lived-in and actively maintained.

house with a green yard

4. Park your vehicle in the driveway

Maximizing the utility of your driveway can go a long way in creating the illusion of an occupied home. When you leave your car parked in the driveway, it sends a clear message that someone is present, which can effectively deter potential intruders.

Even if you’re not at home, the mere presence of your vehicle can make outsiders think twice about attempting any unauthorized entry. This straightforward yet impactful measure can contribute significantly to your home’s security.

5. Avoid sharing travel plans on social media

In today’s digital age, it’s crucial to exercise caution when sharing personal information, especially your vacation plans, on social media platforms. Broadcasting your absence to a wide audience can inadvertently make your property an attractive target for burglars. 

By refraining from posting about your trips until you’ve returned, you minimize the risk of alerting potential criminals to your vacant home. It’s a simple step that can help safeguard your property and belongings during your absence.

6. Safeguard your belongings

To protect your most valuable items, important documents, and irreplaceable belongings, consider securing them in a designated safe or locked cabinet within your home. These secure storage options not only keep your valuables out of sight but also provide an additional layer of protection against theft or unauthorized access. 

Whether it’s jewelry, important papers, or cherished heirlooms, having a secure storage solution ensures that your most prized possessions remain safeguarded even when you’re away.

7. Pay attention to your window coverings

Maintaining privacy is essential to prevent outsiders from peeking inside your vacation home. Closing curtains or blinds accomplishes this while also keeping your belongings out of sight. 

This not only deters potential intruders but also safeguards your personal space, ensuring that your property isn’t an open book to passersby.

windows opened

8. Inform your nearby residents

Establishing a friendly rapport with a reliable neighbor is more than just being a good neighbor—it’s a smart security measure. Inform your trusted neighbor about your travel plans and expected absence. 

They can be an extra set of vigilant eyes on your property, watching for any unusual activity. Additionally, they can serve as an emergency contact in case any issues arise during your absence.

9. Review your home insurance policy

Take the time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy thoroughly. Ensure that it provides sufficient coverage during your absence, including protection against theft, vandalism, and property damage. 

Understanding your insurance coverage and making any necessary adjustments can provide peace of mind while you’re away, knowing that your property is adequately protected.

10. Set up motion-sensing lights

Installing motion-activated sensor lights around your property’s exterior is a proactive security measure. These lights startle intruders by illuminating dark areas when motion is detected. 

They not only discourage unauthorized access but also provide enhanced visibility for security cameras, making it an effective part of your overall security strategy.

motion sensor detector

What to do after a burglary at your Portugal vacation home?

If you experience a burglary at your vacation home in Portugal, you should follow similar steps as you would in many other countries, but with some specific considerations for the local context. Here are the steps you should take:

1. Contact the police: As in most countries, your first step should be to contact the local police Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) or Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR). Provide them with all the necessary details about the burglary.

2. Do not touch anything: Avoid touching or disturbing anything in your home, as the police will need to collect evidence. This is a crucial step to ensure a proper investigation.

3. Document stolen or damaged items: Make a list of the stolen items and any damage caused during the burglary. Take photos and videos to document the scene and the extent of the damage.

4. Contact your insurance company: If you have homeowner’s insurance, contact your insurance company to report the burglary. They will guide you through the claims process and may require the documentation you collected in the previous step.

5. Inform your bank: If any personal identification or financial documents were stolen, contact your bank immediately. Report any stolen credit cards or check for unauthorized transactions. Your bank can guide you on how to protect your finances.

6. Inform your mobile phone provider: If your mobile phone was stolen, contact your mobile phone provider to report the theft. They can help you suspend or deactivate the phone to prevent unauthorized use.

Frequently asked questions about Protecting Your Vacation Home in Portugal

How do you protect your Portugal Vacation home?

Tips to protect your home:

  1. Get a monitored security system
  2. Request a friend for home surveillance
  3. Maintain your yard
  4. Park your vehicle in the driveway
  5. Avoid sharing travel plans on social media
  6. Safeguard your belongings
  7. Pay attention to your window coverings
  8. Inform your nearby residents
  9. Review your home insurance policy
  10. Set up motion-sensing lights

How can I make my home look occupied while I'm away?

  • Use timers for lights and TV sets.
  • Have someone collect your mail and newspapers.
  • Keep your lawn maintained.
  • Don’t let packages pile up outside your home.

Is Portugal a safe country?

Portugal is generally considered a safe country for travelers and residents alike. It has a relatively low crime rate compared to many other European countries. However, like any destination, it’s essential to exercise standard safety precautions to ensure a trouble-free experience.

Are guns legal in Portugal?

In Portugal, citizens have the privilege of possessing firearms for purposes such as hunting, target shooting, pest management, and collecting. It’s important to note that owning a firearm for self-defense is not considered a legitimate legal justification.

Is Portugal safer than USA?

Portugal is widely regarded as a safer country than the United States in nearly every aspect. Portugal boasts a lower overall crime rate, especially when it comes to violent crimes, and has minimal incidents of gun-related crime. Its cities are renowned for their safety and tranquility.

Why is crime so low in Portugal?

One of the primary factors contributing to this is the country’s long-standing political stability. Furthermore, Portugal boasts some of the lowest crime rates among European nations.

Are taxis safe in Portugal?

Every taxi driver in the area is registered, and their registration card, complete with a photograph, is visibly displayed inside the vehicle. Therefore, safety concerns are virtually non-existent. The only potential concern is encountering a driver who engages in dishonest practices by overcharging passengers, which tends to be more prevalent during airport trips. However, it’s worth noting that this issue don’t exist with services like Uber.