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Leaving home behind

AAA offers the following tips about what to do before you go on vacation:

• Mail – Arrange for the post office to hold on to your mail for the duration of your journey (30 days max). You can choose to pick it up or have it delivered upon your return.

• Newspapers – Piles of unclaimed newspapers can tip off would-be burglars that your home is vacant. Call to suspend delivery, or have your newspapers donated to local schools.

• Bills – If they’re due during your vacation time, pay bills in advance to avoid late fees.

• Pets – Enlist a friend or family member to walk, feed and clean up after your pets (maybe even water the plants, too). Or ask your vet about boarding options or a recommendation for a reputable pet sitter.

• Valuables – Put them in a safe-deposit box or hide them in a safe location.

• Lights – Purchase an automatic timer so your home will appear occupied.

• Doors and windows – Lock them all.

• Appliances – Turn your water heater to its lowest level. In fall, turn the heater off. In very hot weather, turn air conditioning on to protect electronics and keep stay-at-home pets comfortable. Pets will also need the heat on in winter.

• Reservations – Prior to departure, confirm flights, car rental, hotel rooms, etc.

• Credit cards – For your own protection, companies may cancel your cards if they note activity in unusual locales and can’t get in touch with you. Let your card companies know where you’ll be going and when.