Whenever I travel, I get a little nervous about leaving my home for several weeks at a time. That’s why I spend a little extra time prepping my house before I leave to ensure it looks lived in and is secure from threat.

1. Use Light Timers

I use these anyway because I’m incredibly lazy about turning off lights, but I swear by timers! I have them set up to turn lamps on throughout the house at different hours so it seems more like a human is turning them off when she’s ready to go to bed. I was gone overnight a few weeks ago, and a friend said she saw the lights on and thought I was home. Success! I like this timer on Amazon because it has two outlets, which is convenient in spaces where I have more lamps than plugs.

2. Lock Your Windows

2016-08-06 14.32.58

It seems a no-brainer, but when you have as many old windows as I do, you sometimes leave them unlocked (again, out of laziness). Before a trip, make sure each window is securely locked. Also check that the screens on the outside are in place to make it harder for a burgler to get in.

3. Have Someone Check In

I have cats, so while I was in Italy, I had a cat sitter check on them. The bonus was that she kept an eye on things and would let me know if anything looked out of place or if anyone tried to break in. If you don’t have pets, give a friend a key and ask them to pop in once a week. At the very least, let your neighbors know you’ll be gone and to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Give them your contact info as well as that of a good friend who can act on your behalf should anything come up.

4. Transition Your Curtains

A surefire sign that your home is empty is when your curtains stay closed. But you also don’t want them wide open all night. My compromise is that I leave them half open. And in the days before my trip, I do just that so that it’s not sudden that my curtains have new placement. I also ask the cat sitter to move the curtains around so that it looks like someone is home.

5. Have Someone Start Your Car

After a long trip years ago, I came home to find my car battery dead. It seems that not starting your car for weeks isn’t good for it! So now I ask a friend to come start it for 5 minutes once a week. I’ve had no issues since.

With this little routine, I feel better about leaving my house, and I don’t worry about it while I’m experiencing adventures around the globe!