Whether you're lying on a beach in the Caribbean for a week, touring the country on a road trip or spending the holidays back home, the last thing you want to worry about is coming back to a ransacked apartment.
But with a few simple tips, you can boost your rental security and worry less if you're hitting the road by keeping your place safe in your absence.
1. Check the Locks
A few weeks before you leave, inspect the locks on all of your windows and doors. Make sure deadbolts slide into place, window locks aren't easy to pry open and sliding glass doors have a security bar in place.
If anything is missing or doesn't work, contact your landlord. By law, your landlord has to make repairs to keep your place safe.
2. Stop Your Mail
As soon as you know when you'll be traveling, fill out the United States Postal Service's online form to stop your mail. Even if you live in a secure building, a thief might slip into the lobby, spot your overflowing mailbox and take it as a surefire sign you're away from home.
3. Don't Stand Out
While closing your curtains may seem like the obvious choice, it can backfire. A burglar casing your rental might notice the change and realize you're away from home. Instead, leave a curtain or two open like you normally would -- and move your stuff out of view.
And if you're traveling during the holidays, don't leave presents under the tree in plain sight. Ask a neighbor to pick up any packages left at your door.
4. Make It Look Like You're Home
Affordable automatic timers can make it seem like someone is home while you're away. Add timers to lamps in different rooms and stagger the on/off times.
Hooking timers up to a television or radio can also make it seem like someone's home.
5. Keep Your Landlord in the Loop
Let your landlord know your travel plans, including your departure and arrival times. A landlord might be happy to come by and scope out the place while you're away, which will go a long way to keeping your home safe.
6. Hire a House Sitter
Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to visit your apartment while you're away to collect delivery menus from the front door and check on the space.
If a thief watching your rental sees people going in and out, he'll think someone is home and move on to an easier target.
7. Beef Up Security
If you don't have an alarm installed -- and your landlord doesn't want to pay to install a system -- there are some cheaper, temporary alternatives you can use while you're on vacation. Wireless alarms and sensors can be attached to doors and windows. If a door or window is opened, an alarm will sound.
If you want an even cheaper option, buy a set of window decals and yard signs from an alarm company. Even if you don't actually have an alarm, thieves might not bother to test it.