TIPS: What to do BEFORE your vacation

So, your dream vacation's coming up? You'll probably want to do what you can to prevent any shocking surprises when you return.

Here are some steps to keep your home secure while away.

1. Have your mail stopped
2. Let your neighbors know you'll be away
3. Leave a light or two on
4. Ask police for a few extra drive-bys

"If you can do something face-to-face with local law enforcement, that's ideal. But I think even just a phone call, letting them know the dates you'll be gone and your address will help quite a bit," said Sam McBride, of SafeMart Home Security.

And to prevent any surprises after you get where you're going, travel experts say ‘Do your research,' especially when staying at a privately-owned vacation rental.

"There's nothing better you can do to make sure that the property is what it says it is than to read the reviews," Jen Gold of said. is the rental giant that hooks up thousands of vacationers with property owners every day.

"If they're claiming to be a block off the beach and they're really three miles off the beach, the reviews are gonna reflect that negative experience," said Gold 

She says if you want to see more online of what the owner is offering, ask them to post more photos.

Finally, for financial transactions, stay traditional. 

"We tell travelers and owners never to accept or send by wire transfer or really any way, any other platform that's off the flipkey payments platform," Gold said.