Preparing to go away on holidays is one of the busiest times most people experience in the modern world, particularly if you’re traveling with children. There’s so much to organize and look over before you leave, lists to write, packing to double-check, that it’s very easy to overlook important jobs and not realize until you’re miles away. Home security when you’re off on vacation is essential, but it’s something that can easily get forgotten about in the bustle and preparations. Along with the basics, such as locking all doors and windows, setting your alarm, and positioning the curtains, there are a few other things to cover.

One of the first things you should do before you go away is to notify your security company that you will be absent from the house. You can provide them with contact numbers for yourself and trusted friends, and ensure they check up on any alerts which your security equipment might give. You could also consider informing the police so they can keep an eye on any suspicious behavior.

Another obvious port of call is neighbors, especially any who overlook your property; neighbors who know you’ve gone away will be quick to alert the authorities if they notice anything amiss, and this could save you a break-in. You may also want to ask a neighbor to pop in and open/close curtains, turn lights on and collect any newspapers or deliveries which have been left outside. A stack of newspapers is a very telltale sign that a house has been empty for some time, so make sure you either stop the delivery or have someone collecting them.

If you haven’t got a neighbor coming in, leave a light on in the house. A house which stays dark all evening and night is obviously empty, which makes it positively an invitation, whereas a light suggests that there might be somebody home. You should also make sure the grass is cut before you leave, and somebody pays attention to it if you will be away for a while; an unkempt lawn also invites burglars to investigate, especially if it is usually kept tidy.

Furthermore, you could consider asking a neighbor to park on your drive at night if you have taken your vehicle; this will increase the impression that somebody is in the house and will reduce the chance of a thief investigating further.

Make sure valuables are moved away from the windows and put out of sight, to reduce the temptation if someone does walk past. Many burglars are opportunists who will be more likely to break in if they can see something worth stealing. Having to hunt for your valuables makes your home a less tempting target.

Finally, do not update social media to say you are going away, or while on your vacation. Tempting though it is, this is an invitation to everyone who sees the posts and can undo all your hard work in making your house look occupied. By covering these simple steps, you should be able to increase your household security and give yourself peace of mind while away on holidays.