At this time of year, many people travel for graduations, weddings, reunions or vacations. There is so much to remember and organize, it is easy to forget some really important things to do before we go. In this instance, “Murphy’s Law” says that if something will go wrong, it will do so just when you start to relax or visit with friends and family.

To make your home less of a target while you are away, here is a “to do” list that will help give you peace of mind and get you started on a stress-free trip:

  1. Notify your home security monitoring center that you will be out of town. This information is extremely valuable if they get an alarm signal from your home while you are away. Of course, arm the burglar alarm before you go.
  1. Don’t advertise on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites of your upcoming trip. Posting your travel plans lets potential burglars know when it is safe to visit your home!
  1. Go to the post office in person or online and have your mail held until you get back – this way your overflowing mailbox doesn’t let everyone know you are away.
  1. Automate your lighting so it looks like someone is at home. There are easy ways to do this with timers or through your home security system (if it has home automation services installed).
  1. Lock and secure the garage. Disengage the garage door opener by pulling the cord next to the opener. Also lock the door that goes from your garage into your home.
  1. Hide and lock away valuables – this includes unused checkbooks, passports, birth certificates and jewelry.
  1. Mow your lawn and make sure landscaping is up to date. Unkempt lawn and landscaping are signals to burglars that no one is home to deter their activity.