Your gifts are wrapped, bags are packed, car is gassed up, and you’re all set to hit the road for your annual holiday vacation. Not so fast! There are still a few steps that need to be checked off your to-do list in order to keep your home safe and sound while you’re away.

Lock Up

Maybe this task seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to lock everything up. Just like Santa makes his list and checks it twice, give the locks in your house a second look. Make sure all doors, window, and fences are properly shut and securely locked. Perhaps consider putting a deadbolt on your door while you are out of town to give you that extra peace of mind. This might seem like overkill, but unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for burglaries due to so many homes being vacant. It’s better to be safe to ensure you have a merry little Christmas!

Lay Low

Traveling is always a tempting time to overshare on social media. After all, you want your followers to see you basking in the Caribbean sun while they are stuck in the cold winter weather! However, by posting everything on Facebook or Instagram (even if it’s just a picture of your dessert) can be dangerous. You never know who might be looking at your page, and posting a photo of you out of town gives clarity that a stranger needs to break into your home. Lay low and share all of your amazing photos when you get home from vacation!

Stay Lit

A dark home screams, “I’m out of town! Come on in!” There are ways to keep your house lit up without your electricity bill sky rocketing while you’re out of town. If you have holiday lights up at your house, set them on an automatic timer that is scheduled to go on and off at specific times. You can also use this method for the lamps inside your home. When a stranger drives by and sees a house that seems like people are currently in, then they will most likely continue to drive away.

Keep it Normal

In order to further make it look like your home is currently being lived in, keep other aspects normal as well. For instance, if you typically leave your curtains slightly open, then leave them that way. If you usually leave a car in your driveway, maybe lock it up and keep it in the driveway. Pull your trashcans inside, so it doesn’t look as if they have been abandoned. Think about the normal routines of your everyday life and keep living them out, even when you’re not there!

Ask a Neighbor

Now is the time to ask that friendly neighbor of yours for a favor. Before heading out of town, leave a key with a trusted neighbor and instructions for things you’d like them to help you with while you’re gone. Before your mailbox overflows, have them check your mail every day. Maybe ask them to take the extra step of bringing your mail (and newspapers) inside your house and ensuring that everything still looks normal. Have them double check your light timers while they’re at it!

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, and we don’t want you stressing about the safety of your house while you’re gone. Follow these tips and you will be all set to have a merry little Christmas this year!