A well-deserved Christmas vacation is always something to look forward to every year but don’t get too wrapped up with the excitement that you neglect to prepare for the possible risks of leaving your property unguarded for a long period of time. Go forward and plan your beach holiday or travel schedule, but make sure you complete your home safety checklist before you take off. Ensuring your property is safe while you’re away can save you time worrying while you’re supposed to be having fun.

Follow the tips below for a worry-free holiday:

#1 Update Your Alarm Company

Notify your alarm company that you will be going away for a while. Leave your contact number for them to reach you whenever necessary as well as the phone number of the person in charge of checking up on your home.

#2 Stay-in Caretaker

Consider yourself lucky if you have a relative or a friend willing to move in your home temporarily and take charge of feeding the pets, watering the plants and safeguarding the place. For those who aren’t as lucky, look for house-sitting and pet-sitting services you can hire. It might cost you a bit more but it’s one of the best ways to make sure your house and belongings are safe while you are away.

#3 Hold Your Mail

If you will be gone for more than 3 days, call your local post office to have your mail and newspaper deliveries kept on hold. Most post offices can hold mail from three to 30 days.

#4 Lock All Entryways

Some houses have more than two entrances. Make sure all the locks for these doors work. The same goes for all the windows. See to it that they are securely locked and that all cracks are fixed. If your garage opens by remote,  reset the pin lock. Install bars on sliding doors to prevent them from being opened forcefully.

#5 Hide Your Valuables

You just can never be too careful. No matter how you secure your house, it still pays to take extra precaution with your valuables. Keep them out of sight and never keep spare keys in obvious places like under the doormat or inside garden pots. Put a lock on your steering wheel and hide valuable items inside the car so thieves won’t see anything from the outside.

#6 Motion Detectors

Ensure that your motion detectors are in tip top shape. Examine the sensors to make sure they will not be set off by pets or curtains.

#7 Create a Lived-in Illusion

Mow your lawn right before you leave so it looks newly groomed. If your house is decorated for the holidays, use automatic light timers to make it look like there is someone home.