There's nothing more awful than coming back from a well-deserved vacation just to find out that you had some unwanted visitors during your absence. An empty house is an open invitation for any thief so make sure your house won't look uninhabited while you're away. Follow these simple instructions to make sure you'll find your home just the way you left it when you come back.

The lack of any movement is the most obvious sign that there's nobody home. The easiest way to counter this is to give a relative or a close friend a key to your house and have them come in as often as possible. Ask them water your flowers, feed your cat, bring in the mail - whatever you can think of, as long as they'll be there. They might not be able to come around daily but insist that they come at least every two days.

The next-door neighbor might also be able to help you maintain the illusion that the house is populated. Ask him to park his car on your alley, mow the lawn or even stay for a beer on the deck in the evenings. Having a person seen around doing household activities will give the impression that he is the owner, thus scaring any burglars away. This practice is not unusual between neighbors; your neighbor will eventually want to take a vacation as well and he'll need somebody to return the favor.

A simple yet effective trick to stage presence in the house is by having the lights and the TV or radio connected on timers which turns them on and off at certain intervals. Make sure not to overdue it, though, as a TV that continuously keeps turning on and off will definitely attract some attention. You can use timers or have someone leave the TV on for an entire night once every few days. Try to come up with a random pattern.

Prepare for your vacation in advance. Check the locks on all your windows and doors and fix or replace them if necessary. Run an alarm system check to make sure it is functioning properly and don't forget to arm it when you leave. Don't forget to leave the access codes to the person that will be taking care of the house and remind them to arm the system every time they leave. The alarm system is an important factor when it comes to house security.

Combine all the instructions above and you'll end up with the perfect recipe for a care-free holiday. Your house is safe so all that's left for you to do is to go out and enjoy your holiday.

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