With summer almost here, many families will be going away on vacation. Going on vacation is a great chance to have some fun, relax, and spend time with the whole family. But one thing that can totally ruin a vacation is coming home only to find that someone broke into your house while you were gone. Ensuring your home is protected is one of the most important things you should do before leaving for vacation. So we’ve compiled a list of a few ways you can keep your home safe while you’re away.

One of the easiest ways to keep your home safe while you’re gone is to ask someone to house sit for you. Having a house sitter can help maintain the appearance that someone is still at home. Whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, or a nanny, having someone stay at your house, or at least check in daily, can help ensure your home will remain secure. They can take out the garbage, turn on the lights, check the mail, and do everything else you would normally do when you’re home. Overall, having a house sitter is an easy way to keep your home occupied and secure while you’re on vacation.

Another easy way to keep your home protected is to install a security system. Did you know homes that don’t have security systems are up to 300% more likely to be targeted by burglars? Having a security system can not only catch burglars in the act, but can actually help prevent them in the first place. When someone sees a house with security cameras, they’re more likely to not try to break in. So even if it’s a simple system, having a security system can keep your home protected.

While you may think it’s best to leave your lights on the whole time you’re gone, this can actually do more harm than good. Not only does it look strange when a house has lights on all the time, but it can cause your energy bills to skyrocket. So instead, consider purchasing a timer system for your lights and have them turn on when it gets dark. This lights up your home and will give the illusion someone is home to turn the lights on and off.

If you’re one of the two-thirds of homeowners who are planning on renovating, you may want to try to get renovations done before going on vacation. Old windows and doors can be much easier to break into than modern models. So if you have renovation projects planned, they can help make your home more secure too. For example, not only can a basement remodel have up to a 70% ROI, but replacing old basement windows and reconstructing walls can make it much harder for burglars to slip in through a basement window. So while you may be planning on renovating for aesthetic purposes, remodeling can make your home more secure, too.

And lastly, always make sure you remove any spare keys hidden outside. While it’s fine to give a spare key to a neighbor or friend, don’t leave any unattended outside. Burglars know common places keys are hidden and could be able to easily find them if they’re left out.

Worrying about the security of your home and belongings is the last thing you want to do while on vacation. But by following these simple tips, you can enjoy your vacation knowing that your house is securely waiting for your return.