12 Things to Do at Home Before Going on Vacation

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Heading out of town for a family vacation? Everyone loves a vacation, but during the rush to plan the actual trip, people forget to do some basic things to prepare their home for an extended absence. How many times have you made it halfway down the street before turning around to do something you forgot?

Making sure your home is ready for when you’re away is just as important as planning the perfect vacation.

That’s why we’ve created this helpful list of things you can do to keep your home safe and ready to welcome you back after a long day of travel!

Clean and Organize Your House

Clean your home beforehand so you don’t have to do any work after a long day of travel.

Nothing beats coming home to a clean house after a long time away, especially if you have kids and pets. Before you head out the door, consider doing the following tasks:

  • Laundry – We don’t tend to come back from vacation with heaps of clean clothes. So when you come back to the house, it’s nice to have something to wear. Doing your laundry before leaving also lightens the inevitable loads of vacation laundry.
  • Clean sheets – Who doesn’t love sleeping in their own bed after a long vacation? As wonderful as it is, coming back to dirty sheets puts a damper on that experience. Clean your sheets beforehand to set yourself up for an amazing night of sleep after a long day of travel.
  • Clean bathrooms – Clean a dirty bathroom before heading out the door. Any mildew, mold, or dirt left behind will worsen when left alone. This is especially true when you go on a summer vacation and leave your house warmer than usual.
  • Clean kitchen – No one wants to come home from vacation and do dishes. Tidy your kitchen, wash your dishes, and put them away before you travel. Leaving dishes unattended can even lead to mold growth that puts your health at risk.

Complete Lingering Yard Work

Completing yard work and setting up services will keep your landscape tidy.

If you plan to be gone for a long time, your yard can get pretty unruly. Mow your lawn beforehand and set your sprinklers to the appropriate setting to ensure that nothing dies or grows too out of control. If you live in a particularly verdant area, hiring a lawn maintenance crew may be necessary. Conversely, if you travel during the winter, consider hiring someone who can help with snow and ice management.

Make Plans for Your Mail and Package Deliveries

Set up plans for mail and packages to prevent theft and other hassles.

Coming home to an overstuffed mailbox can be overwhelming, especially if you will be out of town for a long time. To combat this, you can pause mail delivery or have a friend, neighbor, or house sitter gather any packages and letters that accumulate while you’re away.

Board Your Pets or Hire a House Sitter

Make arrangements for your pets before you travel.

If you have pets, you need to have someone care for them while you’re away. Set them up at a boarding location, like a local kennel, or hire someone to watch them at your home. You can also have a friend or neighbor invite them into their home, provided the neighbor and your pet are willing.

Clear Out the Fridge

Clear the fridge of perishable goods so they don’t go bad when you’re gone.

This one is easy to forget but important to do. For all the perishable items in your fridge, either use them or toss them out. Remember that some items can be moved to the freezer for long-term storage. Ideally, you can set up a meal plan that will use most of the perishable ingredients before you have to leave.

Take Out the Trash

Keep your house smelling nice by emptying the trash before you leave.

Remember to take out the trash before you leave town! Leaving your trash cans full invites pests and foul odors into your home. Don’t forget to empty the bathroom trash cans and any infrequently used trash cans too. We also recommend wiping down your trash cans to further inhibit bacteria and mold growth.

Unplug Your Electronics

Unplug electronics before traveling to save on your power bill and protect your devices.

Even when they’re turned off, electronics draw power. Save yourself some money by unplugging all non-essential devices and appliances when you’re out of the home. It also helps prevent your electronics from being damaged if there’s a power surge or an outage while you’re away.

This is also a great time to get an electrical safety inspection. It will be much harder to mitigate damage if there are any issues with your wiring while you’re gone.

Put Your Water Heater in Vacation Mode

Set your water heater to vacation mode to lower power and water bill expenses.

Before leaving, place your water heater in vacation mode, or the lowest temperature setting. If your vacation happens in summer, you can turn off the heater entirely. Just make sure you fill the heater before leaving. Not being submerged can damage the heating elements.

Don’t turn off the water heater entirely if you are traveling during winter. Doing so can lead to frozen pipes and other potentially damaging issues.

Turn Off the Main Water Supply

Shut off your water supply to prevent leaks while you’re on vacation.

Closing the main water supply using the shut-off valve prevents leaks and leaves the sprinklers working. If you have a house sitter or plan to hire yard services that need access to your spigot, skip this tip.

Set Your Thermostat

Set your thermostat to an appropriate temperature to protect your home and lower your power bill.

Set your thermostat to an appropriate temperature (85 degrees Fahrenheit in summer or between 50 and 60 degrees during winter). Keep in mind that the appropriate temperature depends on the weather where you live. Just make sure you don’t turn the thermostat off. While the cost savings from not running your air or heat are tempting, excessive temperatures in either direction can damage electronics, freeze pipes, and harm your home.

Close Blinds and Lock All Home Entry Points

Lock all entry points to your home to increase security.

When you’re about ready to go, you have to lock up your house. Close your blinds to increase security and reduce temperature fluctuations that activate your central air and heating. Don’t forget to double-check window locks.

Set Alarms and Put Your Lights on a Timer

Setting an alarm and putting your lights on a timer increases home security.

When you’re locking up the house, set your alarm and put the lights on a timer so that it appears as if someone is home. Remember to let your house sitter know about the alarm codes so they don’t trip it accidentally.

Prepare for Your Next Vacation with Help from Neighborly

Do you feel unprepared for your next vacation? The Neighborly® network of home service providers can help you install the necessary hardware and security technology to make you feel safe while you’re out of the house.

Call (855) 217-8437 to schedule a service today!

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