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If You Want a Safe Vacation, Do These 10 Things at Home First!

Here are some important things to do before vacation!

Getting ready for a holiday? Whether it’s an extended vacation or a weekend vacation, you’re making sure you’ve packed up everything you’ll need. You most likely have a list of the things you should have with you on vacation, and that’s great.

But what most people tend to forget is that they should also have a list of things to do around the house so they can rest easily while they’re away. From packing to purchases, your to-do list may be so long that it’s easy to skip steps when securing your house before you walk out the door.

Ensuring your affairs are in order is an essential part of pre-departure planning, and we’re here to help you do that! Here are some things to do before vacation for a stress-free time off.

things to do before vacation
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1. Empty the trash cans

Full trash cans are unpleasant welcome-home gifts. There’s no need to explain why no one would like to return to a smelly house. This being said, one of the things to do before vacation is take out all the trash before leaving.

If you depart on a day that doesn’t coincide with trash pickup, ask a neighbor to help take your full bins curbside. Also, to avoid fines or theft, ask them to take the emptied bins to a secure location.

If there’s no one who could assist you in doing that, drop off the trash in county or city rubbish dumps before you depart.

2. Do the dishes

Next on the list of things to do before vacation is something most of us forget to do: the dishes. We’ve all been there; we’re not here to judge, but to remind you that a sink full of dirty dishes attracts odors and pests.

Even if you’re gone just for the weekend, you can be sure that if you’re not in the mood for washing dishes before you walk out the door, you’ll be in even less of a mood for doing that after you come back. The solution? Tackle the dishes before you go. Hand wash or run the dishwasher cycle, so your kitchenware doesn’t develop bacteria or stenches.

3. Freeze, eat, or donate perishable foods

Similar to No. 1, there’s nothing worse than coming home from a relaxing vacation and asking, “What’s that smell?” You go to the kitchen, and you see rotten food on the countertop. Or in the fridge. Again, it probably happened to you in the past.

So, next on the list of things to do before vacation is to make sure there’s nothing in your kitchen that can rot or expire. Go through your pantry as well. Freeze fruits and veggies, plan meals, and donate goods to family, friends, or neighbors. Canned or jarred foods set to expire can be donated to a local food pantry.

unplug electronics
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4. Unplug electronics

Another tick box to add to your list of things to do before vacation is unplug electronics that don’t need to run. Even when they are plugged in but aren’t in use, electronics use some standby power.

Not only can this help you reduce electricity bills, but it also protects your appliances against unexpected power surges. Sure, the fridge needs to stay plugged in, but you don’t plan on using your TV while you’re gone, right?

Prime candidates for unplugging include toasters, alarm clocks, coffee machines, lamps, electronic toothbrushes, and phone charges. To reduce the risk of electrical hazards, plug anything else into a surge protector or GFCI socket (here’s a very affordable one from Amazon).

Read on to discover other things to do before vacation!

5. Hold packages, mail, and papers

Leaving important packages or mail on the doorstep for long periods of time is risky. That’s why one of the things to do before vacation is to re-route any orders scheduled to arrive while you’re gone, put on hold on any deliveries, or ask a trusted neighbor to pick up mail or packages left on your stoop.

Another option would be to ask specialty delivery stores to place things on a side or back porch, where they’re more likely to be kept safe. Alternatively, you can ask the delivery service company to hold your mail or boxes so you can pick them up when you’re back.

Don’t forget to take particular care if you’re expecting important packages or mail during a season prone to rain or inclement weather.

6. Adjust the temperature

Setting the thermostat to a cash-saving temperature is also among the things to do before vacation. During the summer, set it to a higher temperature, and during the winter, set it to a cooler temperature.

According to experts, you should turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees during the summer months and between 50 and 60 during the winter months. Setting your thermostat too low or turning off your furnace completely can cause your pipes to freeze, and you don’t want that.

Do this task right before leaving the house and use any SMART setting to have the thermostat automatically adjust the temperature while you’re away. Also, one of the things to do before vacation is to turn off any window air conditioners or space heaters to not leave them running while you’re gone.

cut the grass
Photo by Sashko from Shutterstock

7. Arrange for grass cutting and garden watering

Cut your grass the day before you go away and water it right afterwards so it stays hydrated. If you’re going to be gone for a few days, you shouldn’t worry about your grass. However, if your vacation is going to be longer than a week, cut your grass a bit shorter than usual and then give it a deep watering.

If you have a sprinkler system, set it to water for an hour once every two or three days, if your city allows it. During the summer, one of the things to do before vacation is to check the drought conditions and water restrictions in your neighborhood before doing this, because breaking rules can result in a fine.

As far as your plants concern, arrange for your plants to be watered, either by a friend, neighbor, or professional gardener. Of course, if they’re indoors, you may want to look for someone you trust.

8. Lock all windows and doors

You most likely won’t forget to lock your front door when leaving, but make sure you also check the back door and the windows. So, next on the list of things to do before vacation is to make a final walkthrough of your house and check to have every door locked and windows latched shut. It will give you peace of mind as you leave and while you’re on vacation.

It may seem hard to believe that cat burglars are still a thing, but thefts on higher floors can also occur. Cover your bases by securing any access points, including fire escapes, garage door windows, and crawl spaces. Enable any security systems to activate the alarm upon window access or motion detection in vulnerable areas.

Don’t forget to close your curtains so potential burglars can’t see in.

If you liked our article on things to do before vacation, you may also want to read Garage Organizing: 7 Easy Ways to Free Up a Parking Lot.

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