When you're excited to get away, you may want to shout it from the rooftops. But letting strangers know your house will be empty sets up an easy target for burglars.
Since piles of mail and uncollected newspapers is a sure sign that nobody's home, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick them up for you.
If a burglar activates a light, he'll assume somebody saw him and is calling the police. This can increase your home-safety factor up to 50 percent.
Laminate a card with this information and have your kids carry it in their pockets or backpacks, along with a whistle and a family photo, at all times.
Make sure you take your car in at least a week before you plan to leave so you have enough time for any unexpected fixes.
Make sure to include a first-aid kit, flashlight with fresh batteries, tire gauge, flare and lighter, tire inflation product, self-enclosed battery charger, flag to let people know if you need help, water and a cell phone.
Stay at least 100 feet from water so nothing from your campsite pollutes the water source, and do not drink directly from a stream or lake—filter or boil the water, or use tablets.
Before going to bed, double check that your fire is completely out and that you haven't left any food out in the open—nothing ruins a peaceful night under the stars like a visit from a bear!