The best place to hide your valuables at home when going away on holiday (2023)

Cereal boxes, packets of pasta and toy boxes are the best places to hide valuables in your home, a panel of former burglars have revealed.

Sharing tips on how to keep your home safe and prevent burglary when on holiday, ex-offenders say Brits unsuccessfully try to hide their valuables in living room drawers and dressers, pots and pans and locked safes, which are not secured to the floor or wall.

Instead, they advised homeowners to hide anything of value in children’s bedrooms – which many burglars rule a no-go area – and under sofas.

The research was carried out by John Lewis Home Insurance via surveys and interviews with the help of St Giles Trust, which put the insurer in touch with six reformed former offenders with convictions for burglary.

A third of those questioned said during a break-in they would target identity documents including passports, driving licences, credit card and bank statements because of 'the value associated with them'.

The research revealed that burglars can spend up to two months watching a house before burgling it – but would spend as little as five minutes inside before fleeing.

One former burglar said he targeted homes between 4pm to 5pm during the ‘school run’ when many houses were empty. Others chose night time, with one saying he’s prime time was 3am when most people were asleep.

The best place to hide your valuables at home when going away on holiday (1)

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Dr Claire Nee, Director of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology at Portsmouth University, has interviewed hundreds of burglars to analyse patterns in offending. ‘Identity documents are very valuable at the minute due to identity theft for fraud and people trafficking,’ she says. ‘We also know from both our research and criminal statistics that burglars are going for small, valuable items –jewellery, electronics and cash.’

Household thefts can leave people emotionally affected, feeling vulnerable, and living with fear and with depression. Hopefully, by taking a few small steps, homeowners can reduce the chance of falling victim and have peace of mind.

How to keep home secure when going away

Hiding valuables

Lock up your valuables using a secure well-hidden safe, ensuring it is secured to the wall or floor. One former offender told John Lewis Home Insurance: ‘Most people have got a “bits and bobs” cupboard in their kitchen where they often keep their keys. Instead, I would hide my car and house keys in the food cupboards if I was going away – rice packets, cereal boxes. They are not going to go through all your food packets. DVD cases is another good place to hide valuables because they are harder to find.’

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Parcel deliveries left on doorsteps are one of the biggest clues that someone is on holiday, the study found. Letters and leaflets sticking out of letterboxes and on doormats are also big giveaways that someone was away – even more so than leaving the lights on, having the curtains closed, or having no car on the driveway. Ask a friend or neighbour to move your post or use the Royal Mail Keepsafe service.

One burglar said: ‘The increase of online shopping has made it easier – if you’re walking down the road and see a parcel on a doorstep there is a good chance someone is not in.

‘I would suggest not ordering parcels if you won’t be around when they arrive and getting neighbours to check for parcel deliveries regularly while you’re away.’

Lights and curtains

When going away, keep curtains and blinds open but move expensive items out of view. The best room in the house to leave lights on is the hallway, half of those questioned revealed. But timer switches are deemed the best option because it creates a better illusion that someone is at home.

The best place to hide your valuables at home when going away on holiday (3)

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The best deterrent

Using security cameras, including Smart doorbells with cameras controlled from your phone, is viewed as the best deterrent, even beating burglar alarms. Still, inform your neighbours that you are going away so they can keep an eye on your property.

Motion lights

Motion-detection security lights around the exterior of your house will turn on as soon as they sense movement. ‘Install these higher up on walls so criminals can’t reach up and break them,’ says Mike McGrail, Senior Product Manager at Swinton Insurance.

Bear in mind

‘Believe it or not, doggy doors and cat flaps can be used as an entry point for burglars. They’re seen as a weak point in the door and larger models can even be crawled through,’ says Izzy Schulman, Director at Keys4U. ‘Although CCTV is a proven deterrent, burglars will likely be scouting out your home for a while, looking for patterns of behaviour and potential hiding places like bushes or dark areas.’

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Join a Neighbourhood Watch

Watch schemes are an effective way of encouraging neighbours to look out for each other and keep the community safe, says Izzy Schulman. 'Being part of it will help you to get to know the people in your local community and you can work with police to ensure that your area is protected against crime,' adds Mike McGrail.


Before going on holiday, check your insurance policy to confirm what you’re covered for, especially if you’re away for more than 60 days, advise John Lewis Home Insurance.


You should label your luggage but it’s advisable not to put your landline phone number or address on it, say John Lewis Home Insurance.

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Your holiday

Don't advertise your departure on social media, your voicemail message or out-of-office email. ‘Finally, be careful about your conversation on the way to the airport. Talk loudly about your house sitter for instance, not about how you are looking forward to your fortnight away,’ says Dr Claire Nee.


Claims against home insurance policies soar in the darker months of the year, and the festive period is sadly a time when burglars are increasingly likely to strike, with many people going to visit friends and family and leaving their home and cars unattended.

New research by security retailer specialist revealed over 25% of Brits don’t take extra care protecting their homes during the Christmas season.

The best place to hide your valuables at home when going away on holiday (6)
(Video) 6 Tips to Hiding Valuables on Vacation

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Brits are unwillingly enticing burglars into their homes with 35% admitting they put their Christmas presents under the tree placed in front of their window. And while it sounds obvious, locking windows and doors at all times is essential as police figures reveal that an open door is one of the top ways for burglars to gain entry.

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How do you hide valuables while traveling? ›

Other discreet and clever hiding places for valuables and cash in your clothing and on your body include:
  1. Money belts that look like real belts. These belts have zippered pockets for cash (although nothing larger).
  2. Money socks. ...
  3. Money-hiding shoes. ...
  4. Stash underwear. ...
  5. Money bra. ...
  6. A hair roller.

Where is the safest place to hide valuables? ›

Hide a Safe in the Wall or Floor

Install a wall hidden safe or cylinder floor safe by bolting it to the floor. (Most hidden safes have holes inside for just that purpose). Hide it in the corner of a closet or other inconspicuous area. Or mount the wall safe inside a wall and cover it with a picture.

Where do burglars not look? ›

Your attic is not likely to be visited by a burglar because they are usually hard to find and access. So, it is always a good idea to store valuables in attic storage containers. As an extra safety precaution make sure to mark them with labels like “winter clothes” or “old shoes” to throw a burglar off of your scent.

What is the hardest home safe to break into? ›

Biometric safes are the most secure type of safe. They are considered “high security” safes and demand a steep price. However, due to their quality, it is incredibly difficult to break into a biometric safe.

What kind of valuables do burglars usually want to steal? ›

Burglars are after anything valuable you have at home, like electronics, designer clothing, firearms and even furniture. If these items are easily accessible, it's possible a thief could steal them. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your personal items from being stolen in a break-in.

Where should I put my jewelry when traveling? ›

If you don't have a jewelry case or roll, and have small items like rings or earrings, use a pill organizer to store them. Jewelry pouches or small plastic bags are also good for storing jewelry separately while traveling.

Where do old people hide valuables? ›

The Most Common Places To Find Gold and Other Hidden Valuables in Old Homes
  • Behind Loose Bricks. ...
  • Under Floorboards. ...
  • Toilet Tanks. ...
  • Basement Walls. ...
  • Cabinet Walls. ...
  • Inside Hollow Beds. ...
  • Behind Wallpaper. ...
  • Buried in Flower Gardens.
Mar 31, 2022

Where can I hide my safe in my house? ›

Areas like attics, basements, or crawl spaces are strong contenders for hiding a safe because they are slightly more difficult to get to and are often packed with other objects. Many attics require pull-down ladders to access them. A door to a crawl space may be easily covered or disguised with furniture or design.

Where is the best place to put a safe in your house? ›

Choosing the best place to install your safe may mean compromising convenience for protecting your safe and its contents from damage. You should choose an area without a lot of humidity, heat, or traffic: a closet, home office, or a bedroom other than the master bedroom may be your best bet.

How do you store valuables at home? ›

And if a thief does break into your house, they won't be able to find what they're looking for.
  1. Hide Valuables in Your Kids' Rooms. ...
  2. Make a DIY Mason Jar Hiding Spot. ...
  3. Create a Book Safe. ...
  4. Store Documents in the Freezer. ...
  5. Hide Valuables in the Toilet Tank. ...
  6. Open Up a Wall Clock. ...
  7. Stash Your Belongings in the Doghouse.
Dec 29, 2021

What kind of houses get robbed the most? ›

Which homes do burglars target?
  • Single-family detached homes in the middle of the neighborhood (as opposed to corner units, which are less likely to be burglarized).
  • Homes next to empty lots or without nearby neighbors.
  • High privacy hedges, bushes, and walls around the property.

What house is most likely to be burgled? ›

There are simply too many potential ways to be seen. But townhomes, houses in the middle of the block, or houses in a cul-de-sac are much better targets (with these home security systems, you can stay safe.) This is especially true if your property backs up to a forest, open lot, or another unguarded area.

How do I keep my house secure when on holiday? ›

How to keep your home safe while you're on holiday
  1. Make your house look occupied. An empty home can be an open invitation to burglars. ...
  2. Lock up! ...
  3. Hide your valuables. ...
  4. Get an alarm system. ...
  5. Secure your doors. ...
  6. Don't advertise your absence. ...
  7. Get the support of your community. ...
  8. Turn the water off.
Nov 22, 2021

What do burglars avoid? ›

Best Deterrent Methods
  • Use Deadbolt Locks. ...
  • Use Motion Lights. ...
  • Get A Loud Dog. ...
  • Leave The TV On. ...
  • Have Neighbors Check On Home. ...
  • Put Break Proof Laminate On Your Windows. ...
  • Use Keyed Window Locks. ...
  • Put Your Indoor Lights On Timers.
Apr 1, 2016

What is the safest room in a house? ›

  • "The safest place in a home is the interior part of a basement," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. ...
  • If you don't have a safe space in a basement, the next best spot is “an interior room without windows on the lowest floor of the house," the CDC says.

What rooms do burglars target? ›

In speaking with our customers and security consultants, it's clear that most burglars head straight to a bedroom when they enter a home. If they can identify the primary bedroom, it will be their first target.

What is the best item to steal? ›

“The most popular items that burglars are looking to steal are typically cash, jewelry, and electronics.

What are the two most stolen items in the world? ›

Jeans: the switch to more casual forms of dress, even amongst office workers, made jeans ever more popular in all age groups from ageing baby-boomers to millennials. Often stolen in batches they are easy to sell on. Perfume and fragrance: costly products that are relatively easy to steal.

What are the best items to shoplift? ›

Top 10 stolen items
  1. Electronics accessories. Whether it's the latest earbuds, chargers, or a phone case, electronics accessories are frequently targeted due to their small size and appeal as a Christmas present. ...
  2. Leather clothing. ...
  3. Electronics. ...
  4. Accessories. ...
  5. Winter clothing. ...
  6. Meat and seafood. ...
  7. Liquor. ...
  8. Perfume and cologne.
Oct 16, 2020

When should you not wear jewelry? ›

You don't want to wear your jewelry when you're putting on lotion, doing your makeup or styling your hair. Lotion, perfume and hair spray could end up on your jewelry and harm it. You also don't want to put your jewelry before you get dressed.

What is the safest way to travel with jewelry? ›

If you're flying, pack jewelry in your carry-on bag, never in checked baggage where it will be a shiny temptation for security screeners. Or, wear the jewelry on your travel day, as long as it's not bulky metals that could set off security screening equipment.

Where is the safest place to keep your jewelry? ›

Purchasing a safe or lock box can help ensure that your valuables are secure. Keep the safe hidden and have a combination lock to further lower the risk of it being opened. While they are a convenient place to organize your collection, jewelry boxes are the first location an intruder will look to find prized pieces.

Where did people keep their money before banks? ›

Religious temples became the earliest banks because they were seen as a safe place to store money. Before long, temples also got into the business of lending money, much like modern banks.

Where are good hiding places? ›

Read on for 11 wow-worthy stash spots and get some inspiration for updating your own around-the-home hiding place.
  • Old Vacuum Cleaner. 1/12. ...
  • Bottle Rock. 2/12. ...
  • Air Vent. 3/12. ...
  • Electrical Outlet. 4/12. ...
  • Bathroom Tile. 5/12. ...
  • Inside a Water Bottle. 6/12. ...
  • In a Clock. 7/12. ...
  • False Bottomed Drawer. 8/12.

Where can I hide money in my bedroom? ›

Use lots of hiding places. You could keep cash between pages in books, tape an envelope behind your headboard or put cash behind the false panel in your dishwasher.

Where is the best place in the house for a fireproof safe? ›

For fire protection, we recommend installing your safe on the inside corner of two exterior walls. These walls will stay the coolest in the event of a fire. You should also keep your safe on the first floor for two big reasons. Heat rises, so if your safe is on the top floor it will be exposed to higher temperatures.

What does a safe room in a house look like? ›

What Exactly is a Safe Room? Safe rooms are simply fortified spaces in, outside or under a home. They can range from a reinforced closet to a converted bedroom or underground bunker upon which the house sits. The type of safe room you select depends on your ultimate goal.

What Cannot be put in a safe deposit box? ›

Worst Things to Store in a Safe Deposit Box
  • COVID-19 vaccination card.
  • Emergency cash.
  • Letter of instruction (including funeral instructions)
  • Living will.
  • Original last will and testament.
  • Passport.
  • Power of attorney (financial and health)
  • Uninsured valuables.
Jan 5, 2022

How can I keep my gold and silver safe at home? ›

Gold should be stored in an area that is protected against high humidity and fluctuating temperatures. A lock-enabled jewelry box or a safe are both great investments for storing and protecting jewelry and other small gold valuables. Safety deposit boxes are also a popular option for storing metals like gold.

How do you store silver bars and coins at home? ›

Your silver coin storage must be in a cool and dry spot with minimum exposure to air. Avoid damp locations, so your coins don't tarnish. Avoid storing silver alongside gold to keep the soft metal from scratching and oxidizing. You can store coins in coin capsules to reduce the risk of damage.

What material will block a metal detector? ›

Metal detectors have a tough time detecting metals like stainless steel, which have very poor electrical conductivity. Stainless steel has low magnetic permeability, which means it does not produce a signal strong enough to be detected. Other items that metal detectors won't be able to locate include: Gemstones.

How do you tell if your house is being marked? ›

7 Signs Your House is Being Watched
  1. Ads, Stickers, and Flyers. ...
  2. Strange Markings. ...
  3. Unfamiliar People and Cars on the Street. ...
  4. Request for Emergency Assistance. ...
  5. Unlocked Doors and Windows. ...
  6. Broken Outdoor Lights. ...
  7. Increased Door-to-Door Activities. ...
  8. Record the observations.
Oct 24, 2022

Where do you hang a secret door? ›

Inside or behind closets: Another location that is ideal for a secret room might include behind a closet or even inside of a closet. Build a door or secret entranceway at the back of your closet. Especially if it attaches to another room that is not accessible from the main area or hallway of your home.

How do you make a simple secret room? ›

Dividing a room in half with a new wall containing a hidden door can create a secret space. Wall off unfinished space to create a hidden hiding place behind the wall.
Draw plans for your doorway.
  1. Consider how to conceal the hinge of the door. ...
  2. The latch must be secure to keep the door from opening accidentally.

Where can I hide valuable items around my house? ›

Where to hide valuables in your home
  • Pot plants. Indoor plants are all the rage, so chances are you have a few. ...
  • Pantry items. Cereal boxes, empty cans or old jars can be a great hiding spot. ...
  • Hollowed-out books. ...
  • Freezer. ...
  • Dog food bag. ...
  • Kid's room. ...
  • Kitchen bin. ...
  • Laundry basket.
Mar 2, 2020

Where did people hide valuables in old houses? ›

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the most common places to check for treasure in your old home.
  • Behind Loose Bricks. ...
  • Under Floorboards. ...
  • Toilet Tanks. ...
  • Basement Walls. ...
  • Cabinet Walls. ...
  • Inside Hollow Beds. ...
  • Behind Wallpaper. ...
  • Buried in Flower Gardens.
Mar 31, 2022

What burglars want most from your home? ›

Burglars are after anything valuable you have at home, like electronics, designer clothing, firearms and even furniture. If these items are easily accessible, it's possible a thief could steal them. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your personal items from being stolen in a break-in.

Where can I hide valuable items? ›

Cereal boxes, packets of pasta and toy boxes are the best places to hide valuables in your home, a panel of former burglars have revealed.


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