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Visiting your friends and family is one of the best joys of the holiday season. If you and your family plan to travel away from home this year, be sure that you know how to protect your house while you are away.

Hold Your Mail

If you are taking an extended vacation for the holiday season, you will want to avoid announcing that to any nefarious individuals by allowing your mail to pile up. Instead, as a kind neighbor to check your mail on your behalf, or contact your post office to ask them to hold your mail for a time.

Prepare for a Freeze

Prevent old pipes from freezing while you are gone by unhooking hoses and covering spigots. If you know that your pipes are prone to freezing, or that the weather will call for winterizing precautions, leave the water dripping in case of a freeze so you don’t come home to a burst pipe.

Leave an Emergency Contact List

It can be useful to give a few vendor numbers to your house sitter or check-in person in case of an emergency. If there is a sudden and emergent plumbing issue or an electrical concern, knowing that you have a trusted contractor to address the issue while you’re away is key.

Remove Your Hidden Key

Thieves will be on the hunt for a spare key, so don’t give them an easy job by leaving one under your doormat or another easily accessible spot. Instead, use your spare key wisely by giving it to a house sitter, a helpful neighbor, or a local friend who can then access your home when needed.

Keeping your house protected while you are out for the holidays is key. Just a little additional planning before you leave can be all it takes to keep your home in top condition when you arrive back home. So, go ahead, have a second helping of mashed potatoes and join in the festivities without worry.