19 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation This Summer

How to prep your home before going on vacation

Summer is synonymous with vacation time! Are you planning a big trip this year? Maybe it's a road trip across the country, or maybe it's a cruise. Perhaps an outdoor camping getaway or you're headed to a cabin by the lake. What ever the reason, if you're leaving your home unattended for a few days or even weeks. While your house can't actually get lonely without you, it will miss your maintenance. A few things need to happen inside and out so you can rest easy while you're gone. Here are 19 things you should do before going on vacation:            

Black and white modern kitchen

19 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation

1. Set your water heater to vacation mode

No need to heat up water that you won't be using while you're away! Set your hot water heater to VAC (or vacation) mode. This will keep your water at a lower temperature until you switch it back, or until it's programed to resume normal heating.

2. Test smoke detectors

Make sure your smoke detectors are up to snuff before you leave. In case of a fire, hopefully the sound of the alarm will alert your next-door neighbors quickly.

3. Unplug what you can

Even if an electronic is off, it still sucks a little bit of power from the grid. Save some dough and unplug everything that you can (this means yes to the TV, no to the refrigerator).

4. Clean out the fridge

Speaking of the refrigerator, before going on vacation, sort through your refrigerator and freezer, and consume or toss anything that will spoil while you are away. That means your vegetable drawers should pretty much be empty, but you can keep that case of beer.

5. Hold your mail

Did you know you can put a temporary hold on your mail? Unless you've hired a house-sitter, putting your mail on hold is a good way to ensure no burglars catch on that you're out of town.


6. Water the plants

Because it's a serious bummer to come home from a nice trip to find a house full of dead plants. 

7. Pay all of your bills (and any that will occur while you're gone)

What could be worse than to be laying on the beach, and then to suddenly remember you forgot to pay the utilities for the month? Take care of any and all bills before you go out of town!

8. Set your thermostat

Before you head out the door, make sure that your thermostat is set properly. For summer trips, set your thermostat to no higher than 85º. In the winter, make sure it is set to at least 50º to prevent your pipes from bursting.

9. Strip your bed

An extended stay away is a great time to air out your mattress. Before going on vacation, strip all the bedding, and sprinkle a little baking soda on the surface of the mattress to remove odor. When you return, simply vacuum up the baking soda, and enjoy a fresh night's sleep.

Minimal bathroom

10. Sprinkle baking soda in your toilets

A sitting bowl of water is just asking for trouble. Keep your toilets sanitary by sprinkling a little baking soda in the bowl on your way out the door.

11. Do all the laundry

Not only is it nicer to pack when you have every outfit at your disposal, but all those outfits are going right in the dirty hamper the moment you get home.

12. Notify your alarm company

If you use an alarm company, make sure you alert them that you'll be traveling. 

13. Mow your grass

Nothing says, "I'm not home, come break in!" quite like an unkept yard. Mow your grass before going on vacation.

Lemons on a cutting board

14. Clean and lemon all drains

Drains are nasty places that can smell and attract fruit flies. Before going on vacation, make sure your drains are clean and food traps emptied. Once clean, squeeze one half of a lemon down each drain to remove odors.

15. Check your windows

Are they open? Shut 'em! Are they locked? Good! 

16. Form a plan for pets

Leaving an animal at home while you're away? Make sure you secure room for them at a boarding facility, or hire a pet-stitter. Make an extra key, write detailed care instructions, and remember to pull out your pet carrier and vet contact information in case of emergency.

17. Empty all trash, add baking soda to cans

Don't forget to take the trash out on your way out the door, and sprinkle a little baking soda in the trash cans to remove any lingering odor.

Clean dishes

18. Wash every dish

Don't forget to check the dishwasher!

19. Leave your emergency contact with a trusted neighbor

Because you care about your home, and want to make sure someone's looking after her.

Before going on vacation this summer, do these 19 things in your home first!
Share this list on Pinterest!

 Any tips we missed? Leave us a comment, and have a great vacation!

Not sure you can afford to travel this summer? Here's how to have a great vacation, even on a tight budget.

Tips for vacationing on a budget

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MEGray on Jun 18, 2018:

@Jeanne As a cat owner, this is in my top 10 fears. GOOD POINT! :D

Jeanne on Jun 18, 2018:

Oh yeah, one more thing: If you have cats, check your luggage AGAIN before zipping it up. Cats have been known to snuggle under clothes, fall asleep, and fly hundreds of miles away! Truth.

MEGray on Jun 18, 2018:

@Jeanne Minnich Yes - all fantastic ideas! There are so many things to take care of in a home before leaving it for a vacation.

Jeanne Minnich on Jun 17, 2018:

All good ideas. Add stop the newspaper and have a neighbor or friend collect expected packages and water the plants if necessary. You also might want to get a timer for your lights.

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