There are few things more exciting than packing up and getting ready to go on an extended vacation. Whether you're trying to escape the cold of winter or just need a break from your nine-to-five, a little rest and relaxation ensures that you can return home rejuvenated and happy. However, these feelings of bliss can quickly be quashed if you come back to your apartment and find that it's been ransacked or in a state of messiness. Here are five things to do before leaving on vacation to help ensure that you come home to a clean and untouched apartment:

1. Tell your neighbors
If you have neighbors that you're rather close to, consider asking them to watch over your apartment while you're on vacation. A friendly neighbor will be able to keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior, such as someone trying to get into your apartment while you're away. Neighbors are also a great resource for picking up your mail and looking after pets. If you ask your neighbor to shoulder a significant amount of work, such as taking care of your cat or dog, make sure to offer compensation and give him or her a thoughtful thank you note.

2. Turn off your main water supply
A leaky supply line can quickly become a major problem and cause a significant amount of water damage. Moreover, drippy faucets can cause a build up of stagnant water that looks and smells unpleasant. To avoid coming home to a flooded apartment, make sure to turn off your main water supply if possible. If you're not sure how to do this or don't have access to your water supply, contact your landlord and ask for him or her to take care of this matter for you.

3. Clean out your fridge
Odds are you don't want to come back from vacation and find a refrigerator full of rotting food. A week or so before you leave on vacation, start using up all of your perishable food items that will go bad by the time you return. Ideally, you'll be able to finish all of your fruits, vegetables and other perishables before you hit the road. If you still have a few items remaining, consider offering them to your neighbors so that you're not just throwing away useable food.

4. Adjust your thermostat
Your gut reaction may be to turn your thermostat off entirely, but don't be too hasty in making this decision. If you go on vacation in the wintertime, make sure instead to adjust your thermostat to a level where it will stay warm enough so that your pipes don't freeze. Not only can this potentially cause water damage in your apartment, but it can affect your entire building, which will leave you with some pretty unhappy neighbors. If you go on vacation in the summer, leaving your thermostat on allows air to circulate, so that condensation doesn't build up, preventing your wood furniture and flooring from being damaged.

5. Check your doors, windows and locks
Though you may be convinced your apartment is secure, it never hurts to double check all of your doors and windows before leaving for an extended period of time. Make sure that all of your windows are closed and bolted and ensure that the locks on your doors work properly. If you keep a spare key hidden in a relatively accessible area, consider leaving it with a trusted neighbor rather than leaving it out in the open.