20 Steps to Prep Your Home for a Vacation

If you’re escaping to a tropical climate for the holidays, we can’t say we blame you. However, it’s crucial that your home is prepared for the time you’ll be away. Check out this list to make sure you do everything you can to prepare for your vacation.

Get rid of hidden spare keys.

If you have any pairs of spare keys hidden outside of your house make sure that you remove them and store them safely in your home. If anything, give the set of spare keys to a neighbor you trust to look after your home.


Keep things as they normally are.

In this case, you want it to still look like your home is being lived in. Don’t close all the blinds in every room; don’t make it clear that your home will be empty for the next week. Over-prepping for your absence can make it that much easier for a burglar to recognize no one’s home.


Stop the mail and newspaper delivery.

This one is simple. A bunch of newspapers piled up at the end of your driveway is a clear indicator that you’re gone. If you forget to stop mail and newspaper delivery ask your trusted neighbor to pick these things up for you every day.


Use home automation and timers to make it look like your house is still being lived in.

Setting some of your lights on timers is a great way to make it look like your home is still occupied. Just seeing lights on in a home is a huge deterrent for burglars looking for an empty home.


Unplug high-energy appliances that don’t need to stay plugged in.

Your 70” flat screen does not need to be plugged in while you are away on vacation. Make sure that any high-energy appliances are unplugged to mitigate unnecessary energy costs. Unplugging these appliances can also protect them from a power surge that could occur while you’re away.


Call your neighbor and let them know you’ll be out of town.

It’s been hinted at throughout the post, but notifying a trustworthy neighbor of your vacation is an important step in securing your home. Your neighbor can check on your home and make sure everything is good as well as potentially take care of anything that needs maintenance while you’re gone.


Notify your alarm company of your travel plans.

This is another crucial step in securing your home. Make sure you set your alarm before you go and also make sure that your trusted neighbor has the code in case they need to get in. This way if the alarm goes off for any reason the alarm company knows that something suspect may be going on.


Notify your credit card company to let them know purchases may be made out of state/country.

If going out of state or out of the country, make sure that your credit card company knows. This is crucial if you plan on using your cards in a foreign location. This will save you from those pesky calls as your card is getting declined while you try to buy souvenirs.


Make copies of all crucial information.

Make copies of your birth certificate, drug and eyeglass prescriptions, health insurance, passport, visas, packing lists, and credit cards/traveler’s checks numbers and tickets. Do not pack these lists; keep them with you.


Clean out your fridge.

Before you leave, be sure to clean out your fridge and remove anything that will expire while you’re away.


Make sure all appliances are turned off.

Building off the earlier suggestion of making sure your high-energy items are unplugged, make sure that all of your appliances are turned off. You won’t be using them, so there’s no need for them to stay on.


Share your itinerary and any pertinent info with friends and neighbors.

Provide friends and neighbors with itinerary and relevant phone/fax numbers and the names of those who have keys, etc. to enter your home. This can go a long way in case of any emergencies.


Ask your neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally.

If you’re having a neighbor watch over your home, ask them to occasionally park in your driveway. This is another way in making it look like your home is still being lived in.


Put your water heater on vacation mode.

Before you leave, make sure to turn down the temperature on your water heater. This is another tactic that can also help you save money on your energy bill.


Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine, and all sinks.

Doing this can help you avoid extremely costly flooding problems that could arise.


Set your thermostat to the appropriate level.

Set the temperature closer to outside temps (warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter) but which still protects your plants, pets, and furniture.


Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.

This one is a given, but make sure that everything is working properly before you leave.


Leave your emergency contact info with a neighbor.

Doing this is crucial to make sure that your neighbor is prepared to help in case of an emergency.


Get the laundry done before you go.

Nobody wants to return from a great vacation to a bunch of dirty laundry that needs to be done. You also don’t want dirty laundry sitting around the whole time you’re gone.


Run your garbage disposal with a half-cup of vinegar and some water.

This tip helps make sure that your disposal is clean and there’s nothing built up.

Written by @properties
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate is Chicagoland’s #1 brokerage. Through our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate, our network spans nearly 50 countries. No matter your real estate needs, we’ve got you covered.