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Planning for a Trip: Preparing Your Home for a Vacation

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This post provides a checklist for preparing your home ahead of a vacation.

For those interested in long-term travel preparation, refer to our guide: Travel Planning: Part Two — The Logistics of Long-Term Travel; What You Need to Do Prior to Departure


  • Dispose of perishable refrigerated items
  • Put odor absorber (baking soda) in fridge
  • Unload dish washer
  • Tidy kitchen counters
  • Pull garbage bins in
  • (Deep) water plants
  • Put all items back in the places where they live
  • Check mailbox
  • Set thermostat
  • [Seasonal] turn off the water to avoid flooding from frozen pipes bursting
  • Empty trash bins & cover trash bin lids
  • Turn off lights


  • Prepare laundry area for return home: make sure laundry detergent in stocked, laundry baskets are emptied, and hangers are ready
  • Wash sheets
  • Change bedding
  • Put away laundry not going on trip


  • Remove house keys external to your home
  • Program external lights for morning/evening
  • Program motion activated outdoor lights
  • Sync video cameras to mobile devices
  • Remove hide any house keys near your door
  • Draw window curtains and blinds
  • Remove valuables from out of sight
  • Set house alarm
  • Lock external doors, windows, and the garage.


  • Tidy yard to make home look cared for


  • Portion food
  • Gather leashes
  • Gather waste cleaning supplies
  • Clean litter box
  • Pick up animal waste
  • Friend pet sitting: leave feeding notes, emergency vet information in a visible location (also text or email this information)
  • Stay at kennel: confirm drop-off + pick-up instructions


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