Spring Break is next week for many schools around the country and that means many families are taking off for warm vacation destinations or other trips away from home.

Before you pack that swimsuit and sunscreen, make sure protecting your home is also at the top of your to-do list.

Take these steps to protect your home while you’re on vacation:

1. Keep the lawn mowed or driveway shoveled, and trim overgrown bushes before you leave.

2. Have a trusted neighbor take the trash to the end of your driveway on trash day while you’re gone.

3. Have the Post Office hold your mail or ask a trusted neighbor to collect it daily for you. Also cancel any regular deliveries, such as the newspaper, unless you have a trusted neighbor or friend who will take in any newspapers or packages daily while you’re away.

4. Keep one lamp inside your home on a timer. Don’t leave outside lights own the whole time you are gone – burglars see that as a sure sign that no one is home.

5. Open all curtains and blinds. Drawn curtains or blinds during the day scream that a home is unoccupied.

6. Unplug appliances and electronics to reduce the chance of fire.

7. Set your thermostat accordingly. Keep it at 50 to avoid freezing pipes if the weather is forecast to be cold at home or put it higher if it’s supposed to be warm to save on electric bills while you’re away.

8. Purge your fridge and pantry of perishable foods.

9. Remove that spare key from under the mat or other hiding place. Burglars know where to look for spare keys!

10. Make sure all doors and windows to your home are locked and secured before you leave.

11. If you don’t have an alarm system on your home, post a “Beware of Dog” sign (even if you don’t have a dog or even if the dog will be boarded) — burglars are less likely to break in if they think there’s a dog in the house. If you do have an alarm system, make sure it’s set properly and your sign is displayed where it can be seen easily.

12. Don’t broadcast your trip or whereabouts on any social media until you return. Make sure all social media account privacy settings are locked down to just your friends if you cannot resist posting.

There are so many new developments in technology in keep your home safe now. Consider investing in Smart Things that will allow you to lock doors and turn on and off lights from your Smarphone. Also, having a security camera that you can check from your phone will give you peace of mind so you can relax and enjoy your vacation.

Safe travels!