A vacation home can provide a welcome escape, whether you want a short getaway or a warmer location to wait out the winter. But leaving your second home may not be as simple as just locking the door when it’s time to head back home. You may want to take some extra steps to help protect your vacation home while you’re away.

From prepping your home for the winter to implementing security measures, here are some things to consider:

Prevent Damage

Arrange to have someone periodically check on your house while you’re gone, suggests HomeAdvisor. They may help detect problems and potentially prevent you from facing hefty repair bills when you return.

It’s also a good idea to unplug appliances and electronics, says This Old House. That way, if lightning strikes your house, they won’t be damaged in a power surge.

Take Safety Precautions

In addition to locking the doors behind you, be sure to secure the windows and entrances to other structures on your property, such as your shed and garage, This Old House says.

Letting mail or newspapers pile up while you’re away could send a message to potential burglars that your home is vacant. Ask a trusted friend to collect your mail, or contact your post office to put a hold on your mail, suggests U.S. News and World Report.

You can also help give the impression that your house is occupied by putting some lights on timers, says HomeAdvisor. Lighting up parts of your home that face the street may help deter potential burglars.