It’s that time of year again. The holidays are over and you are looking forward to taking a well deserved vacation, maybe somewhere you can escape the rainy winter weather of our beloved Pacific Northwest.

As you prepare yourself for travel, make sure you prepare your home as well. By following these tips, you can keep your property and belongings safe while you’re gone, and keep yourself worry-free while on the road.

Hire a Sitter – The best way to make sure your house is safe while you’re gone is to have someone you trust still living in it. If you don’t know anyone locally whom you would trust to look after your house, you can always contact local services. Some options for Tacoma residents include The Sitters and House Cares.

Hold Your Mail – When you’re leaving for more than a couple of days, call your local post office to stop mail delivery until you get back. They can hold mail from three to 30 days. This is a free feature courtesy of the United States Postal Service.and it goes a long way to prevent mail theft.

Stop Newspaper Delivery – Having the local news pile up on your front porch is a dead giveaway that you’re not home and is an invitation for burglars to stop by.

Keep the Landscape Trimmed – If you are the kind of person who mows their lawn every week like clockwork, then your overgrown landscaping will make it obvious that you are out of town. Hiring someone to keep up appearances will help keep your home looking lived in.

– It may seem obvious, but many people still forget to double check the locks in their home before heading out on vacation. It only takes one unlocked door or window for a thief to gain access to your home!

Keep it to Yourself – In an age defined by social media, it can seem silly not to post about your upcoming vacation. However, the posts that share your travel information with friends and loved ones can easily be mishandled, and lead thieves right to your door.

Let Go of the Spare Key – The first thing thieves check for when breaking into a house is the spare key, so it is best not to have one. Instead, meet with the people who will be checking on your house beforehand to give them a key, and make sure you get it back when you return!

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