So you’ve double checked your packing list and have your suitcases full of everything you need for your travels. But have you prepared your house for your absence? It’s not enough to simply pack your bags and walk away; you need to take care of a few things at home so you can have peace of mind on your trip and come home to a comfortable, cared-for home. If you’re wondering how to protect your home while you’re gone, here are ten simple ways you can prepare your home before a vacation.


1. Take care of the greenery

Before leaving on your trip, mow your lawn (depending on the time of year) and water your plants. You don’t want to come home to an overgrown yard and dead or droopy plants. If you will be gone for an extended period, make arrangements for someone to water and mow while you’re away.


2. Don’t leave perishables behind

A week or so before you leave, take an inventory of what food is in your house. Use everything that’s in your fridge, pantry, and fruit bowls. Use up everything perishable before you leave or give it away to friends or neighbors. You may be able to freeze some things, too. The last thing you want is to come home to expired milk and rotten fruit, so plan ahead.


3. Clean up

Packing for the trip can be time-consuming, but leave yourself a few hours to clean the house. This will make it less attractive to any pests and head off any strange smells or growths. Plus, there’s nothing like coming home to a clean house after a long trip—and nothing as discouraging as returning to a cluttered mess.


4. Plan for mail collection

Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail, newspaper, and packages while you’re away. Avoid ordering anything online that might arrive while you are gone. This is an important part of how to protect your home—nothing announces your absence quite like piles of mail.


5. Find pet sitters

Make arrangements for your pets during your absence, even small pets like fish or gerbils. You can leave them with a friend or pay a neighbor to come by every day to feed and play with your dog or cat and make sure they are fed.


6. Turn off lights and appliances

Don’t run up your electricity bill when you’re not even in the house—turn off all the lights, appliances, and unnecessary electronics such as computers and chargers before you leave. This will protect against power surges. To make this easier, install the Smart Outlet Module so you can turn off lamps and appliances remotely. You can also use the module to turn them on in the evenings if you want it to appear that you are home.


7. Ask a Neighbor to keep an eye out

Let one or two of your neighbor friends know you’ll be out of town and ask them to occasionally monitor the outside of your home for you. It will put your mind at ease to know someone is thinking of your home and can contact you if anything major were to occur.


8. Set thermostat to away mode

You don’t want to heat or cool your house for no reason, nor do you want your fridge to work too hard or your pipes to freeze. If your thermostat has an away mode, set it to that. Otherwise, keep it between 50 and 60 degrees in the winter, and to 85 degrees in the summer.


9. Double check your locks

Before leaving, make sure all your doors and windows are closed and locked. Walk around the outside of the house to make sure everything is locked and secure, and use the deadbolts.


10. Use home automation

If you love to travel and are away often, you can make preparing your home for your departure easier by investing in home automation. It can take care of prep including outlets, plugs, cameras, thermostats, locks, and more. This way you can check in remotely, have peace of mind while you’re gone, and prepare your home for your return.


Getting away is great—and vacations are even better if you can leave with your mind at ease that all is well at home. Taking these extra measures for how to protect your home will make for a carefree vacation and a welcome return.