Many homeowners will be taking to the open road, the open air and even the open sea to travel this summer. If you’re going on vacation, especially a longer one, there are some things you will need to do to prepare your home for while you are away. Preparing for vacation, preparing your home for vacation, should mean more than making sure the neighbor picks up your mail. Unless you hire a house sitter, you’ll want to be sure to do many of the following tasks to ensure you don’t come home to a flooded or otherwise stinky home.

Stop Newspaper – You can easily call your carrier and ask them to refrain from delivering the paper while you are away. You can also have a neighbor or friend stop by and bring in the papers but sometimes the task gets forgotten and the papers pile up anyway. Nothing alerts would-be burglars to an empty home quite as fast as a stoop full of newspapers.

Stop Mail – The same goes for the mail. If you have an exterior mailbox be sure to call the post office and have them hold your mail until you return.

Turn off Water – Most homeowners don’t think to turn off the water until they go away and come back to a disaster. Be proactive and turn your water off while you’re gone. Water damage is the #1 cause of damage to homes while homeowners are away. It’s easily preventable so turn off the water and have a stress free vacation.

Take Pictures – If you’re the kind of person who wonders if you really turned off the water, the stove or the coffee maker, then do yourself a huge favor and take a few pictures of the appliances you’re likely to obsess over. When you’re lying on the beach wondering if you shut off the stove, you can scroll through the photos on your phone and be assured that all is well.

Repair Faucets – If you’re not going to turn off your water main while away, at least be sure to check and repair any leaky faucets. A small drip in the bathroom sink won’t do much damage – it may stain the porcelain depending on your water source – but it can increase your water bill if left untreated. Fix leaky faucets before leaving for vacation.

Clean Garbage Disposal – Flush your garbage disposal with 1/2 cup distilled vinegar before you go on vacation.

Leave a Light On – If you’ve got a smart house you’re way ahead of the game and can control the lights from your phone while you’re away. If your home isn’t that high tech you can leave a light or two on so it appears as though someone is home.

Clean out the Fridge – Clean out the fridge before you go on vacation. Check dates on products like milk, cream and other dairy that can spoil quickly. Depending on the length of your vacation, produce probably won’t last more than a week. If you’re going to be gone longer than a week toss the produce or offer it to a neighbor to use up.