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11 Things to Do at Home Before Going on vacation

Going on vacation offers an unparalleled sense of excitement and relaxation, a professional break from the monotony of daily life. Yet, this anticipation can swiftly morph into anxiety if your home isn’t properly prepared for your absence. Ensuring a serene and worry-free holiday means taking proactive steps towards securing and maintaining your household before departure.

This guide illuminates 11 crucial tasks to complete at home, safeguarding your space and guaranteeing a harmonious return. From bolstering security measures to managing household duties, these tips are designed to offer peace of mind, allowing you to fully immerse in the joys of your journey. Dive into our comprehensive list to make your next vacation not just a getaway, but a smooth transition to a welcoming home upon your return.

Pre-Vacation Home Checklist

Secure Your Home

Your home’s security should be at the top of your pre-vacation checklist. Check all windows and doors to ensure they are locked. Consider investing in timer-based lights or smart home systems that simulate presence at home, deterring potential intruders.

Before going on vacation, one of the most critical steps you can take to ensure peace of mind during your trip is to secure your home. This involves more than just locking the doors; it’s about making your home appear lived-in and impenetrable to potential intruders. Start by double-checking that all windows and doors are securely locked. If you have a security system, ensure it’s activated and working correctly. Consider investing in timer switches for your lights or a smart home system that allows you to control lighting, and possibly even blinds, remotely.

This gives the impression that someone is still at home, significantly reducing the risk of a break-in. Additionally, make sure that any spare keys are removed from outside hiding spots, as experienced burglars know all the common locations. Taking these steps before going on vacation can deter potential burglars and help keep your home safe and secure in your absence, allowing you to enjoy your time away without unnecessary worry.

Manage Your Mail and Deliveries

An overflowing mailbox or packages at your doorstep is a clear sign that nobody’s home. Arrange for a trusted neighbor to collect your mail, or place a hold on deliveries until your return.

Before going on vacation, managing your mail and deliveries is essential to maintaining the security and integrity of your home while you’re away. An overflowing mailbox or packages left on the doorstep are clear indicators that the house is unattended, making it an attractive target for thieves. To prevent this, consider putting your mail on hold through your postal service, which is a simple process that can often be done online.

For your deliveries, either reschedule them for after your return or arrange for a neighbor or friend to pick them up. Some people also choose to use a package locker service or an Amazon Locker, if available, to secure their deliveries until they’re back. Taking these steps before going on vacation not only secures your parcels and correspondence but also helps in keeping your home looking lived-in, deterring any unwelcome attention.

Prepare Your Plants and Pets

If you have houseplants, ensure they have enough water to last until you’re back, or arrange for someone to come over and water them. For pet owners, securing a pet sitter or boarding service is crucial for your furry friend’s well-being.

Before going on vacation, ensuring the well-being of your plants and pets is a vital step that should not be overlooked. For your green friends, assess the watering needs of each plant and consider setting up a self-watering system or asking a friend or neighbor to come by and water them at regular intervals. This will keep your plants thriving and prevent them from wilting in your absence. For pets, the situation requires more detailed planning.

While it might be tempting to leave pets with enough food and water, this is rarely the best option for their health and happiness. Instead, look into pet-sitting services or ask a trusted friend or family member to care for them. Some pet owners prefer boarding facilities that offer more comprehensive care, including socialization and even medical attention if needed. Making these arrangements before going on vacation ensures that your beloved pets are in safe hands and your plants remain healthy, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your time away fully.

Essential Preparations

Adjust Your Thermostat

To save energy and reduce utility bills, adjust your thermostat to a more moderate temperature. If you’re vacationing in winter, ensure it’s warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing.

Before going on vacation, adjusting your thermostat is a crucial step in the essential preparations to ensure your home remains safe and energy-efficient while you’re away. Depending on the season, you’ll want to set your thermostat to a level that prevents pipes from freezing in the winter or avoids excessive heat that could damage sensitive equipment or increase your cooling bills in the summer. A programmable thermostat can be a great asset, allowing you to set higher temperatures during the summer or lower temperatures in the winter, but still at a safe level to protect your home.

For example, setting your thermostat to around 55°F (about 13°C) in colder months will help prevent freezing, while setting it to around 78°F (about 26°C) in warmer months can keep humidity levels in check without overworking your air conditioning. This simple adjustment before going on vacation can lead to significant savings on your energy bills and keep your home in optimal condition in your absence.

Unplug Electrical Devices

Unplug all non-essential electrical devices to protect them from power surges and reduce energy consumption. This includes TVs, computers, and kitchen appliances.

Before going on vacation, a critical step in your essential preparations should include unplugging electrical devices throughout your home. This precaution not only helps in reducing the risk of electrical fires but also cuts down on energy consumption, as many devices continue to draw power even when turned off, known as “phantom loads.”

By unplugging items such as televisions, computers, kitchen appliances, and chargers, you not only safeguard your home but also contribute to energy savings. Furthermore, this act serves as an effective measure against potential power surges that could occur in your absence, protecting your electronics from damage. Taking a few moments to disconnect these devices before leaving on vacation can provide both peace of mind and financial benefits, ensuring you return to a safe, efficient home.

Clean Your Home

Returning to a clean home is one of the best post-vacation feelings. Take the time to tidy up, do the dishes, and take out the trash to avoid unpleasant surprises upon your return.

Before going on vacation, taking the time to clean your home is an essential step that should not be overlooked. A tidy house not only welcomes you back pleasantly but also prevents any unpleasant surprises or the need for immediate cleaning upon your return. Doing dishes, taking out the trash, and ensuring perishable food items are properly stored or disposed of can help avoid attracting pests and bad odors.

Vacuuming, dusting, and a general tidy-up can maintain a sense of order and cleanliness, making your return as stress-free as possible. Additionally, a clean home can dissuade potential burglars by presenting the appearance of occupancy. This preparatory step, done before going on vacation, ensures that you can fully relax and enjoy your time away, knowing that your return will be to a clean and welcoming environment.

Financial Precautions

Notify Your Bank

To prevent your bank from flagging your overseas transactions as fraudulent, notify them of your travel plans. This will ensure your cards remain active while you’re away.

Before going on vacation, it’s crucial to notify your bank of your travel plans as part of your financial precautions. This step is essential to ensure that your debit and credit cards remain active while you are abroad. Banks and financial institutions often monitor accounts for unusual activity, including transactions from unfamiliar locations, as a measure to prevent fraud. If they detect what seems to be suspicious activity without prior notice, they might freeze your accounts to protect you, potentially leaving you without access to your funds when you need them most.

Informing your bank before going on vacation can help avoid these inconveniences, ensuring smooth financial transactions during your trip. Additionally, this gives you an opportunity to inquire about any travel advisories for your destination, fees for international transactions, or to set up travel alerts yourself through online banking platforms, providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind while you’re away.

Pay Upcoming Bills

Avoid late fees and service interruptions by paying any bills that will come due during your vacation. Alternatively, set up automatic payments for peace of mind.

Before going on vacation, addressing your upcoming bills is a critical financial precaution that ensures you return to a stress-free home environment. Ensuring that all your bills are paid up before you leave can prevent the accrual of late fees, interruptions in services, or the unpleasant surprise of disconnection notices upon your return. This includes utilities, credit card payments, mortgages, loans, and any other recurring obligations.

With most companies offering online payment options or automatic payment setups, managing these expenses has never been easier. Taking the time to either schedule payments in advance or set up auto-pay for the duration of your trip can give you peace of mind, allowing you to fully immerse in the relaxation and enjoyment of your vacation, knowing that your financial responsibilities are taken care of. This simple yet effective step, taken before going on vacation, is crucial in ensuring a smooth transition back to daily life upon your return.

Safety Measures

Double-Check Locks and Alarms

Re-check all locks and ensure your home alarm system is activated. If you have security video doorbell camera, verify they’re working and can be monitored remotely.

Before going on vacation, it’s imperative to double-check the locks on all doors and windows and ensure your alarm system is fully operational as part of your home safety measures. This step is crucial in fortifying your home against potential intruders, providing a strong first line of defense while you’re away. A thorough check includes making sure that all entry points are securely locked and that any vulnerabilities are addressed.

If you have a home security system, verify that it is set correctly and that all sensors are functioning as they should. Additionally, inform your security company that you will be away, so they can be extra vigilant about any alerts from your property. Ensuring that your home is securely locked and your alarm system is armed before going on vacation can significantly decrease the risk of break-ins, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your time off without worrying about the safety of your home.

Leave a Key with a Neighbor

Leaving a key with a trusted neighbor or friend can be invaluable. They can check on your home, perform any unexpected tasks, or grant access in case of emergency.

Before going on vacation, leaving a key with a trusted neighbor or friend is a wise safety measure that can add an extra layer of security to your home. This simple act allows someone you trust to access your home in case of emergencies, whether it’s to check on the property, water plants, or even to provide entry to emergency personnel if needed. Additionally, having someone periodically check your home can make it appear occupied, further deterring potential intruders.

Make sure the person you choose is reliable and understands any instructions you may have for them, including how to arm and disarm any home security systems, care for pets, or handle mail and deliveries. This preparation step, taken before going on vacation, not only helps protect your home but also provides you with the reassurance that someone is looking out for your property, allowing you to relax and enjoy your time away with greater peace of mind.

The Final Walkthrough

Checklist Verification

Before you head out, conduct a final walkthrough of your home. Verify that all tasks on your checklist have been completed and that your home is secure.

Before going on vacation, conducting a final walkthrough of your home to verify that all items on your pre-vacation checklist have been completed is an essential step. This last review ensures that nothing has been overlooked in your preparations. During this walkthrough, check that all windows and doors are securely locked, electrical appliances are unplugged, your thermostat is set appropriately, and all security measures, including alarms, are activated.

It’s also the perfect time to double-check that you’ve arranged for mail collection, pet care, and plant watering, if necessary. This meticulous verification process before leaving ensures that your home remains safe, secure, and energy-efficient in your absence. Completing this final check gives you the ultimate peace of mind, allowing you to embark on your vacation with confidence, knowing your home is as prepared as you are for the time away.

Last-Minute Items

Ensure all last-minute items are packed, and important documents like passports and tickets are in your carry-on. Double-check flight times and travel arrangements.

Before going on vacation, paying attention to last-minute items during your final walkthrough is crucial for a worry-free departure. This includes ensuring all necessary travel documents, such as passports, tickets, and itineraries, are in your carry-on bag and easily accessible. Check that all electronics you’re taking with you are charged, and don’t forget chargers and power adapters compatible with your destination.

Additionally, take a moment to adjust your thermostat, confirm that all lights are off or set to timers, and double-check that windows and doors are locked securely. Verifying these last-minute items ensures that you’ve covered all bases, leaving your home safe and your mind at ease. By completing this final step before going on vacation, you can embark on your journey confident that you’ve left your home in the best possible state, allowing you to fully enjoy your time away.


Taking these 11 steps before going on vacation can make the difference between a relaxing trip and one filled with worry about your home’s security and maintenance. By preparing your home for your absence, you can enjoy your time away fully, knowing that everything is taken care of. So, pack your bags, complete. Best Places to Visit in 2024.

Before going on vacation, taking the time to meticulously prepare your home can make all the difference in ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable trip. From securing your home against potential threats, managing mail and deliveries, to caring for pets and plants, each step plays a crucial role in safeguarding your space in your absence.

Adjusting your thermostat, unplugging electrical devices, and ensuring your home is clean and organized are essential tasks that not only save energy but also welcome you back to a serene environment. Financial precautions and safety measures further ensure that your assets are protected, and any emergencies can be promptly addressed. How to Program Thermostat with Your Heater

The final walkthrough, with its checklist verification and attention to last-minute items, is the capstone of your pre-vacation preparations, ensuring nothing is overlooked. By following these steps before going on vacation, you can leave your home with peace of mind, ready to fully immerse yourself in the adventures ahead, knowing you’ll return to a safe and well-maintained home.

FAQ Before Going on Vacation

Question 1: Why is it important to secure my home before going on vacation?

Answer 1: Securing your home before you leave is crucial to prevent break-ins, theft, and damage while you’re away. This involves locking all doors and windows, setting up timers for lights, and possibly investing in a home security system to deter potential intruders and give you peace of mind.

Question 2: What should I do with my mail and packages while I’m away?

Answer 2: Consider putting a hold on your mail and package deliveries through your local postal service or asking a trusted neighbor to collect them for you. This prevents a buildup of mail, which can be a clear sign that the house is empty, and also protects your packages from theft.

Question 3: How can I ensure my plants and pets are taken care of?

Answer 3: For plants, either set up a self-watering system or ask someone to water them regularly. For pets, arrange for a pet sitter to stay at your home or board them at a reputable kennel. This ensures they receive the care and attention they need in your absence.

Question 4: Should I adjust my thermostat before I leave?

Answer 4: Yes, adjusting your thermostat can help save energy and reduce utility bills. In warmer months, set it higher than usual, and in colder months, set it low enough to prevent pipes from freezing but high enough to save energy.

Question 5: Is it necessary to unplug electrical devices?

Answer 5: Unplugging electrical devices can prevent potential hazards and save on energy costs. Devices left plugged in can be susceptible to power surges and may consume energy even when not in use.

Question 6: How do I handle my upcoming bills when I’m on vacation?

Answer 6: To avoid late fees or service interruptions, pay any bills due during your trip in advance or set up automatic payments. This ensures all your financial obligations are met without any hassle.

Question 7: What safety measures should I take?

Answer 7: Double-check that all locks are secure and your alarm system is activated. Informing a trusted neighbor or friend and leaving a spare key with them can also be helpful for emergency access or to check on your home.

Question 8: How can I manage my home’s appearance to deter burglars?

Answer 8: Use timers on lights to make it appear as though someone is home. You might also consider hiring a service to maintain your lawn or shovel snow to keep up the appearance of an occupied home.

Question 9: What final walkthrough checks should I perform?

Answer 9: Ensure all windows and doors are locked, alarms are set, faucets are off, appliances are unplugged, and that you haven’t left anything that could pose a risk or waste energy.

Question 10: How can I keep my home clean while I’m away?

Answer 10: Do a thorough cleaning before you leave, take out the trash, and ensure there are no food items left out that could spoil or attract pests. This ensures you return to a clean, welcoming home.

These FAQs aim to cover the essential preparations needed to secure and maintain your home before a vacation, allowing for a stress-free and enjoyable trip.

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