Your bags are packed, boarding passes in hand, family pets are taken care of and you are ready to leave it all behind for a great two-week vacation. Not so fast. Have you taken care of everything you need to before you leave? After all, your home will be empty and vulnerable to a break-in. Better take a look at this pre-vacation checklist:

Stop the Mail and Newspaper
Notify your local post office to put your mail on hold while you are gone. USPS actually allows you to do this online. If you have a newspaper delivered, advise them that you will be gone as well.

Tell the Neighbors or Friends
If you have a neighbor you trust or a friend nearby, ask them to keep an eye on your house. Provide them with a way to contact you and let them know when you are leaving and returning. If you have someone that will be house-sitting, it’s a good idea advise neighbors that there will be a car in your driveway they may not recognize.

Turn Off Automatic Irrigation
If you have an automatic irrigation system, you may just want to shut it down while you are on vacation. Busted irrigation pipes are a hard thing to deal with from afar.

Forward Your Home Phone
If you have a land line at your home, forward the number to your cell phone if possible. Never leave a voice message that you will be out of town.

Invest in Light Timers or Home Automation
Making your home look lived in while you’re away can help keep it safe. Invest in light timers that come on at night for at least two rooms. For a little more money, you could always have a home automation system installed to allow you to control lights from anywhere you go with your smart phone or tablet.

DON’T Post on Social Media
While you’ll be tempted to share all the great things about your vacation to the social media world, you never know who’s hand that information will land in. More and more, burglars scan social media networks to look for easy targets. Keep your photo’s to yourself while you are away, the post away when you get home!

Lock Up and Set the Alarm
Make sure all doors and windows are locked and secure, especially the door to your garage. If your automatic garage door has a lock feature, use that as well. There are additional steps you can take to keep your garage door safe as well. If you have a security system installed, notify the alarm company that you will be away and give them a local contact in case something happens.

Vacations are for resting and relaxing. By taking these few simple steps, you can have piece of mind your home is safe and secure while you are away.