Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation

If you are like me, there are a million things running through you mind before you head out for vacation. Between packing and preparing while trying to keep up with our day-to-day, it is easy to forget things. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to me to have a checklist to remember all the things to do before leaving for vacation.

Fortunately, in the world of technology, smart devices have made it relatively easy to monitor things while you are out of your home. It can give you that peace of mind to double check the things you might have forgotten in the hastiness to leave the house.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation:

Pack Early

Packing is is an obvious thing to do before leaving for vacation, but I recommend starting to pack one week before leaving. This ensures you have enough time to make sure that you have everything you need.

Explore More: Check out my ultimate packing list to make sure you don’t miss a thing! FREE download included.

Ultimate Packing List

Clean your space

Cleaning my house prior to leaving for vacation is an absolute must for me. I don’t mean doing a deep clean, but definitely making the beds and making sure the dishwasher has been ran.

Returning home to a clean house after being away makes your home feel so much more inviting. It is also one less thing for you to worry about upon your return.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation: Clean your space

Explore More: Hate cleaning your house? Try my easy house cleaning plan to make it a breeze.

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Make arrangements for your pets

Confirm arrangements for someone to take care of your pets well in advance of your vacation. This always seems to be the thing that slips my mind the most and then I’m scrambling to find someone to feed our bunny a few days before we leave.

If you have a dog, consider sending them to a doggy daycare and boarding center. This allows them to still socialize with other dogs and get out to run around.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation: Make arrangements for pets

Cats and other smaller pets are easier because generally they can stay in your house. Hire a pet sitter to come feed and check on your pets. You can find pet sitters through a neighborhood Facebook page or using professional service like Rover or Wag.

Hot Tip: Make sure you leave information for your pet’s vet in the event an emergency.

Inform someone of your plans

Always let someone know of your travel plans! This can be a neighbor, friend, or family member.

If going away for more than a few days, I always give a designated person a key to our house. I just want them to be able to check and make sure there aren’t any leaks or any other issues while we are away.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation: Inform someone of your plans

Also, make certain to share all travel logistics including your flight information and where you plan to stay. My parents tend to always track my flight to make sure I make it to my final destination safely.

Adjust thermostat

It doesn’t make sense to pay for heating and cooling while you are away. Save money by setting your thermostat slightly higher than you normally would if you were home. This will ensure that the heat and cooling won’t kick on as frequently, which results in you saving money.

I recommend investing in a smart thermostat, like the Nest, so you can monitor the temperature from a distance.

smart thermostat

Turn off water

Minimize the chances of a major water leak by turning off the main valve to your water. As someone who has experienced a major pipe burst, it is not something you want to come home to after being away.

Definitely turn off your water if you are traveling during colder months when your pipes might be more likely to freeze.

Hold mail

Be sure to pause your mail delivery before you leave. You can schedule this in advance online through the postal service.

Mail can be put on hold for up to 30 days and then can then be delivered in bulk upon your return. You don’t want to have an abundance of mail piling up in your mailbox, which is a clear sign to thieves that you are not home.


Prepare meals for your return

When you come back from vacation, you likely won’t have much food in your fridge. If you are like me, the last thing you want to do after traveling is go grocery shopping and cook.

Help yourself out by making a few freezer meals before you leave. Having these make ahead meals on hand allows you to take a few days to adjust being back home before you need to head to the grocery store.

Explore More: Check out my 10 make ahead freezer meals for easy-to-make recipes.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation: Freezer Meals

Water plants

If you have someone house sitting, you can remind them to water your plants. Alternatively, you can buy some self watering bulbs to keep your plants happy while you are away.

watering bulbs

Empty fridge of perishables

The last thing you want to do after a vacation is come home to some stinky old milk that was left in the fridge. Be sure to clear out any items that might go bad while you’re away, mainly dairy and produce.

Set lights on timers

Make your home look like someone is living there as a way to deter any potential theft. Do this by setting your lights on a timer so they come on each night.

These are super easy to set up. You can program them to come on at the same time every day and then automatically shut off at a designated time. Alternatively, you can also invest in a smart plug that you can control while away.

light timers

Take out the trash

Avoid returning to unpleasant smells by remembering to take out the trash before you leave. If your trash pick-up is going to happen while you are away, ask a neighbor if they can take your trash can to the curb.

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Turn on alarms

If you are leaving for an extended period of time, consider investing in a security camera system. This will keep an eye out so you don’t have any unexpected visitors while you are away.

Arlo or Blink cameras are some good affordable options. We bought our Arlo cameras at Costco in a bulk kit. What I like about these cameras is that you don’t have to pay extra for any plan unless you want to store the recordings long term.

security camera system

Lock the doors

Lastly, don’t forget to lock your doors! If you haven’t already, install a smart lock which notifies your phone any time the door opens.

Smart locks can also help give you some peace of mind if you walk out the door and can’t remember if you locked it. While you’re at it, get yourself a smart garage opener just in case!

smart lock

Just to recap, here is your checklist of all the things to do before leaving for vacation:

  • Pack early
  • Clean your space
  • Make arrangements for pets
  • Inform someone of your plans
  • Adjust thermostat
  • Turn off water
  • Hold mail
  • Empty fridge of perishables
  • Set lights on timers
  • Take out the trash
  • Turn on alarms
  • Lock the doors

Last thing to do is to just relax and enjoy your vacation!

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