According to AAA, record numbers of travelers will be taking to the roads and skies this winter to get to and from their holiday season destinations. With travel comes opportunity to catch up with loved ones and get away from daily responsibility for a bit, but it also comes with the chance of more risk to your home's security while you are away. You can help mitigate a loss by taking steps before you pack your suitcase to protect your home while it is vacant for the holidays.

Let your neighbors know. If you are lucky enough to live in a close knit community, your neighbors who may not be traveling for the holidays can lend a hand by keeping any eye out for suspicious behavior at your property while you are away. If your neighbors are feeling especially generous, maybe one of them can even bring in your mail for you to avoid pesky "porch thieves". Stolen mail can result in identify theft claims and worse - lost presents! Otherwise, you can put a temporary stop on your mail with USPS for any time period up to 30 days. Be sure to give your helpful neighbor your vacation contact information, just in case of emergency, and instruct them to address anything that may make your home appear vacant - such as packages left on the steps or a faulty sprinkler system. You can also notify your local police department that you will be away. 

Use electronic switches to set your interior home lights to go on and off in a random pattern to deter would-be robbers. If you can make it more difficult for potential thieves to discern a pattern in your day to day activities, they are less likely to risk breaking and entering your home. Unless you normally leave your curtains drawn, leave them at least half way open or as you usually leave them when you are in the house, except in areas where it would make it obvious that the home is empty. 

Arm your home with a personal security alarm system - the best systems use a multi-tiered approach to protect your home including motion and glass sensors, cameras, door contacts and a PIN pad. You may also qualify for a discount on your home insurance policy if you have a certified alarm system in place. 

Store valuables such as family heirlooms and jewelry in a fireproof safe and avoid leaving loose cash in your home while you are away. Additional coverage for jewelry and other valuables can be purchased as an add-on to your home insurance policy. Call you agent today for more information on what might not be covered under your standard insurance policy. 

If your social media accounts are public, avoid posting about your vacation until after you have arrived home to avoid alerting potential thieves of your itinerary. A jet setting airport takeoff photo may seem like a good idea at the time, but it's basically an open invitation to any would-be invaders.  

Last but certainly not least: Lock all your doors and windows - this one may seem obvious, but it's always good to double check!