Leaving home can be stressful. Even when you’re leaving for a well-deserved vacation, making sure your home is secure while you’re gone (and worrying about it during your trip) can cause a lot of strife. Nothing can make your home 100 percent secure, but taking a few precautions can definitely help.

1) Find the Right Home Monitoring System: This one may seem obvious, but the trick isn’t just relying on an out-of-the-box alarm system as much as finding the right kind of monitoring system for you. Some people want the protection of having sensors on every window and door while others are happy with an in-home camera with full view of the main entrances to your home. Others also will alert you in the case of emergencies like fire or flood. Putting out a sign or putting a sticker on the window advertising your security system isn’t a bad idea either.

2) Have a Friend or Neighbor Stop By: Even if you don’t have animals that need checked on, it’s helpful to leave a key with a neighbor or family member. Having flyers or notices stuck to your front door can be a red flag that you’re not home. If someone is checking in every day or two, they can snag those flyers, water your plants and give you the peace of mind that everything is fine at home. Whatever you do though, do NOT leave out a hide-a-key. They are easier to find than you think.

3) Skip Social Media: It’s tempting to tell everyone you know about that awesome two week trip to a faraway place – and then to post photos while you’re gone – but are you totally sure that everyone who can see your posts can be trusted? Odds are good that your friends list includes people you haven’t talked to in 10 years, so it’s better to share those photos when you get back. If you are desperate to share those photos of your kid at the beach with your family, think about creating a more private Facebook group.

4) Maintain Your Home: A well-maintained home is less likely to look like an easy target, especially for people who leave frequently or for extended periods of time. It’s helpful to hire a lawn care company or gardener to make sure things don’t start to look unkempt. Your local TruBlue can help with lawn care and other repairs, as needed, while you’re gone (or any time): https://www.trubluehousecare.com/.

5) Make the House Look Lived In: Having a smart home lighting system (or even smart plugs on a few lights in your main floor) can help you program lights to come on and go off. Although your close neighbors might know you’re not actually home, chances are that potential thieves won’t want to chance it. Also, don’t to cancel deliveries and have your mail held.

6) Turn Off and Unplug: Turning off electronics, turning down the water heater, putting the thermostat on vacation mode and even shutting off the water main can help you avoid the kinds of catastrophes that don’t start with break-ins. While you’re going through this routine, go ahead and also unplug the garage door. Garage door openers can easily be hacked and, once out of public view, it’s much easier to pull the car in, break into the interior door out of public view, load the car with valuables and leave. Disconnecting the garage door makes that option less easy.