Published June 19th, 2024

Things to do before going out of town

Written by Level Home Staff

Pre-vacation home checklist: Preparing your home for a stress-free vacation

Preparing your home before leaving for vacation ensures you can relax with peace of mind while you're away. A well-prepared home reduces the risk of potential issues, such as burglaries or water leaks, offering reassurance that your belongings are secure. Use our comprehensive checklist to prepare your home before going out of town, so you can enjoy worry-free time away from home.

19 Things to do before leaving for vacation

1. Put lights on timers

Installing timers on your lights is an effective way to deter potential intruders by giving the appearance that someone is home. It’s best to place timers strategically in key areas like the living room, bedroom, and porch to create a lived-in appearance throughout the evening. For optimal security, use programmable timers that can randomize the on and off times of your lights, making it more difficult for burglars to predict your absence.

2. Unplug electronics

Unplugging electronics before leaving not only prevents electrical fires but also saves energy. Common items to unplug include TVs, computers, kitchen appliances, extension cords, and chargers. It’s a good idea to unplug even your surge protectors and power strips while you’re gone.

3. Clean the fridge

Before leaving, clean out perishable items from your fridge to prevent mold, odors, and having to clean immediately when you’re back from vacation. Dispose of any expired or soon-to-expire foods and consider donating unopened items. To keep your fridge fresh, place an open box of baking soda inside to absorb any lingering odors while you're away.

4. Adjust thermostat

Set your thermostat to save energy depending on the season: raise it in summer to reduce cooling costs and lower it in winter to save on heating. A programmable or smart thermostat allows you to schedule adjustments, ensuring comfortable temperatures upon your return and reducing energy consumption while you're away.

5. Secure doors and windows

Ensure all entry points are locked and secure before leaving. Use deadbolts on doors and window locks on all accessible windows. For added security, consider installing motion-sensor lights or a security system to further deter intruders. If you’ve hired someone to look after your plants or pets, consider installing a smart lock that allows you to remotely monitor the lock's usage for added protection.

6. Remove all trash

Emptying trash bins before leaving is essential to prevent unpleasant smells and avoid attracting pests. Dispose of trash properly according to local regulations and consider rinsing out bins to prevent lingering odors.

7. Check functioning smoke detectors

Having working smoke detectors is crucial for home safety. Test each detector and replace batteries if needed. If any detectors are malfunctioning, replace them promptly to ensure continuous protection.

8. Hold mail and newspapers

Request a mail hold from the postal service to prevent mail from piling up and indicating your absence. Alternatively, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to collect your mail and any newspapers or packages that may be delivered during your absence.

9. Clean your home

Returning to an already clean home reduces stress and allows you to settle back in more comfortably. Pretend you’re spring cleaning and focus on key areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and floors. Consider hiring professional cleaners for a thorough pre-vacation clean if needed.

10. Water your plants

Keep your plants hydrated by watering them thoroughly before leaving. For extended trips, consider low-maintenance houseplants or using self-watering systems. Smart watering systems can be particularly useful for automating this task and ensuring your plants receive the right amount of water. Alternatively, you can hire someone or ask a trusted friend to look after the plants while you’re away.

11. Notify your neighbors

Inform trusted neighbors about your trip so they can keep an eye on your home. Provide them with emergency contact information and let them know if anyone will be checking on your property while you're away.

12. Safeguard your valuables

Protect valuable items by storing them in a safe or a bank safety deposit box. Depending on what valuables you have in your home, it might be worth ensuring your safe is securely bolted to the floor or wall. Consider storing important documents and irreplaceable items in a fireproof safe for added protection.

13. Turn off water supply

If possible, turn off the main water supply to prevent potential leaks or water damage while you're away. In colder climates, consider additional steps such as draining pipes and setting the thermostat to prevent freezing.

14. Clean the garbage disposal

Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal before leaving to prevent odors from developing. Tip: Use ice cubes and citrus peels to clean the disposal and maintain freshness.

15. Adjust window blinds

Set blinds to maintain privacy and control sunlight exposure. Automated blinds can be programmed to open and close, creating the appearance that you’re home and enhancing security by limiting visibility into your home.

16. Install smart home technology

Smart home devices like security cameras, doorbell cameras, and smart locks can monitor and secure your home remotely. Smart locks can also provide easy access for trusted individuals, such as house sitters or pet care providers, during your absence.

17. Alert the alarm company

If you have a professionally monitored security system, notify the company of your travel plans and ensure your alarm system is functioning correctly. Provide them with emergency contact information and update any special instructions for monitoring your home while you're away.

18. Arrange for pet care

Arrange pet care options such as boarding, pet sitters, or asking trusted neighbors to help with feeding and walking. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; smart locks can simplify access for pet sitters and ensure your pets are cared for properly in your absence.

19. Leave keys with a trustworthy person

If you don’t have a smart lock, remember to leave a set of keys with a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member who can access your home in case of an emergency.


Preparing your home before leaving for vacation is essential for ensuring peace of mind while you're away. By following this checklist you can rest assured that your home is safe and well-maintained. Safe travels!