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With all the work that goes into planning a vacation, it’s sometimes easy for homeowners to forget to make arrangements for their homes while they’re away. When people leave home for an extended period of time, whether it’s for week or a month, it can fall victim to theft, power surges, and a number of other things if the right steps aren’t taken. To help you keep your home and your belongings safe, we’ve come up with a few tips so you can have a worry-free vacation.

Consider a house sitter

Having someone watch your home not only helps keep your pets and plants alive while you’re away, it also prevents burglars from targeting your house for their next break-in. Burglars target empty houses, so when someone is consistently coming around to maintain your home, it makes it seem lived in. Another reason you should consider a house sitter while you’re on vacation is that, if something goes wrong with your home while you’re gone, that person can let you know so you don’t come home to a nasty surprise.

Put a hold on deliveries

When they’re looking for homes to break into, criminals look for ones that seem empty or neglected. A couple of the things they look for are a full mailbox and a pile of unread newspapers on your front porch because they’re clear signs showing that no one is home. To prevent mail and newspaper buildup, either call your post office and newspaper to have them place a hold (you can also place your mail on hold online on the USPS website), or ask someone to stop by every day to take care of your mail and newspaper.

Lock windows and doors

This may seem like common sense, but plenty of people still forget to lock up before they leave town for vacation. Before you go, make sure all doors and windows are locked, all sliding doors are locked and have some sort of stick or dowel holding the door in place, and, if you have a spare key hidden outside your home, bring it inside to keep burglars from getting easy access into your home.

Don’t announce your plans on social media

As tempting as it is to share the excitement of an upcoming vacation with your friends and followers, it’s best not to notify the internet about when you’re going on vacation. Because when do, it’s basically  extending an open invitation to criminals to break into your home. Either don’t say anything at all or wait to share the details of your vacation after you’ve returned. But, if you feel the need to share pictures and posts while you’re on vacation, make sure your privacy settings are set so that only your friends can see what you’re up to. That way, you’re not tipping off people you don’t trust.

Unplug your electronics

Unplugging your electronics and small appliances will not only save energy, which will save you money on your next electric bill, but it will also protect your home from power surges and reduce the risk of fire.

Keep landscape trimmed

If you’re planning on being gone for a while, ask your house sitter or a friendly neighbor to mow your grass and weed your lawn to keep your home from looking abandoned and to keep burglars at bay.

We hope these tips help to keep your home safe and give you peace of mind while you travel. If something should happen to your home while you’re on vacation, talk to your home insurance agent to see what your current plan covers.