When heading out of town for a trip, it’s easy to get wrapped up in where you’re going and forget about what you’re leaving behind. Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country roadtrip or a week-long business trip, it’s essential to make sure that everything at home is squared away before you go. 

A recent study on burglary rates by states found that the threat of burglary is present, to one degree or another, in every part of the U.S. - giving you all the more reason to think about how to best secure your home before heading out of town. Here are 5 tips that you can implement in preparation for your departure.

1. Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail

Your mail might just be the last thing you’re thinking about as you’re preparing to leave. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that even if you’re not thinking about your mailbox, home intruders might be. For burglars, an overflowing mailbox is a clear indication that a homeowner is away. So, if you have plans to head out of town, be sure to ask a close friend, trusted neighbor or house-sitter to pick up your mail for you while you’re gone. Or, if you’d rather, you can take advantage of USPS’s Hold Mail Service.

2. Don’t leave a key out

Despite all the times your spare key has saved you from getting locked out, hiding an extra key simply isn’t worth the risk when you’re out of town. A survey found that some of the most common places to leave keys are under a plant pot, rock or stone, bin, and doormat. But no matter how good you think your hiding spot is, do not leave town without moving your key. Burglars will likely know all the spots to check, so it’s best to leave your spare key with a trusted friend, neighbor or house sitter before you head out. 

3. Lock your doors and check your windows

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re caught up in all the busyness of last minute trip preparations, it can be easy to forget to check all your doors. You might’ve locked the front door, but what about the back door and the basement door? You should also confirm that all your blinds are closed, so that valuables are out of sight and hopefully out of mind for potential burglars. 

4. Consider hiring a house-sitter: 

While some assume that house-sitters are only beneficial for travelers with plants and pets, hiring a house sitter is  a great way for any homeowner to ensure someone they trust is keeping an eye on their home. But if you were thinking of just hiring a house-sitter to sleep over at night, this may not be enough.  Research has shown that the majority of burglaries occur in broad daylight. For this reason, it might be smart to have your house sitter come around once or twice a day. This will give off the illusion that someone is home, just in case burglars are watching. 

5. Install Home Security

If you are a frequent traveler, whether it be for work or play, installing a smart home security system should be at the top of your to-do list. And given the correlation between burglary decline and the increase in smart home security searches since 2012 cited in the same study on burglary rates, it appears that many people may be catching on to the benefits of Home Security systems. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing that your home is being monitored by security professionals while you’re away. What’s more, smart security cameras allow you to monitor your home even when you can’t be there in person, which is sure to put you at ease while traveling.  

When it comes to the security of your home, you can never take too many precautions. Hopefully these pointers allow you to embark on your next trip with greater peace of mind.