Are you planning a trip this upcoming holiday season? Holidays are a time for relaxation and spending quality time with loved ones, the last thing you want to be worrying about is the safety of your home.

Here are 4 ways to secure your home before you leave on your next vacation:

Get Someone to Check In

Do you have a close neighbour or friend that could keep an eye on your home while you are away?

One of the best ways to ensure your home is protected is to have someone check in periodically. Remember to ask them to collect your mail and newspapers. Newspapers piled up outside your door are a sign of absence. Anyone who walks or drives by can see that no one is home. Remember to let your closest neighbours know that you will be away.

If you are leaving for an extended period of time, leave a key with a trustworthy neighbour and ask them to water any plants, and ensure nothing has happened inside your home. It may be a good idea to leave them a key to your car in case it has to be moved.

Keep Your Trip Private

Many of us like to share our whereabouts on social media. This is okay, but if you are planning a trip do not publicly share your plans. Any details you provide can potentially get in the wrong hands. A better idea is to privately let friends and family know that you will be going away. Wait until you return from your trip to post any vacation photos. A picture of you on a beach with a piña colada in your hand will be a dead giveaway that you are not home. Also be conscious of your voicemail/answering machine message – do not update your message saying you are on vacation because you do not know who could be calling.

Leave Things Unchanged

There is often debate about whether you should close all your blinds and curtains or keep them open. A good idea is to leave things as you normally would to not cause any suspicion. If you decide to keep your curtains slightly open, it might be best to move any precious or expensive items out of sight. There is no need to cause temptation by having a brand new TV on display in front of an exposed window all month. If you normally keep your car in the driveway – leave it there.

If you are leaving for an extended period of time, consider scheduling landscaping services. A few days of heavy snowfall could mean that your entire driveway (and car) are completely covered in snow – a definite sign that no one is there.

Turn Lights Off

It might be tempting to leave your lights on – making it seem like someone is home, but having lights on all night and day might do more harm than good. Not only will your electricity bill be through the roof, but you will actually attract attention to your home. It is not normal for house lights to be on the entire night. Instead, you can purchase a light switch timer that turn your lights on and off automatically according to a schedule you program. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice the changing lights and assume someone is home.

Remember to unplug electrical devices and test your alarms and other security features before you leave. Put your mind at ease and plan ahead so you can enjoy a stress-free vacation.