Top Five Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation

Preparing and Securing Your Home for Travel: A Quick Checklist Before You Leave for Vacation

Vacation preparation - ready to go?

Before I leave for vacations, I have a routine that we've always followed that's worked well. If you're headed out for a week or more, there are a few things you might want to consider to make your home not stand out as empty. Making your home look occupied and normal will help deter thieves and keep it safe. These solutions are simple, and can give you peace of mind before traveling so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Have just a few minutes before your trip? Good, because that's all you'll need to prepare your home. Also, you can find an easy checklist on what to do before you leave for vacation at the bottom of the page!

Keep Your Home Well Lit While You're Gone

Use light timers to schedule on-off times for lights

House at night

A dark home at 8PM screams "we're not home," and that's the last thing that you want. Simple light timers will do the trick. If you have large bay windows or sliders, close them with a curtain. A stick in the slider track also is a good deterrent. Lights on all day and night is almost as bad as leaving the lights off. Who leaves their lights on all night long? If you have overhead lighting, drag a lamp or two into some of your rooms and attach the light timer to go on and off when you normally turn them on and off.

Stop the Mail

Maintain the illusion that someone is home

Remember to stop the mail to avoid packages sitting on your doorstep.

Stopping your mail is essential for your trip. A package on your doorstep or a full mailbox is a dead giveaway that you are on vacation and the coast is clear to sneak on in. Have someone pick up your mail for you, or put a stop on your mail at the post office. Also, stop your newspaper delivery or have your neighbors pick it up. A car in the driveway is also a good deterrent.

The Key to Keeping Your Front Door Attached

Leave a key with a trusted family member or friend before you leave in case problems arise at your home while you're gone. The last thing you want to come home to is a busted down door from the Fire Department because your smoke detectors were going off.

Get a Housesitter - Maintain Activity at Your Home

Give the appearance of a still active house while you're away


Nothing turns off thieves like people traffic. If possible, have a housesitter come to your home just to check on things. Let your nephew stop by and watch TV there, or let your sister have the run of the house. It all gives the illusion that you are still home!

Another Must Have For Your Trip

TSA Approved Luggage Locks - good to have

When you're about to leave, the last thing you want to do is have something in your luggage missing between the dropoff and arrival point. Anything can happen, so having a luggage lock can help to curb some of that theft that may happen at airports. These TSA approved locks are okay to use since they can be opened by TSA officers if they need to. Having other types of locks on your bags might be a red flag, so be sure to stick with one that says it is TSA approved.

Master Lock 4683Q TSA-Approved Nickel Keyed Alike Luggage/Baggage Lock, 4-Pack, colors may vary
Master Lock $11.79

A pretty good price on this set - you can put one lock on each valuables compartment. 

Turn Off the Water

Save that extra money for your trip!

Avoid water waste

Why waste the water while you're away? Turning off your hot water heater (in the warmer months) and turning off your water pipes will save you some cash while you're away. While you're at it, try turning off the air conditioning or turn down the heat. Don't turn them down too much - enough to keep the pipes from freezing and cool enough to save electronics, appliances, and food.

Checklist of Things to Do Before You Leave for Vacation:

Vacation checklist
  • Close and lock all windows
  • Cancel/stop mail and newspapers
  • Set up light timers
  • Turn off water and hot water
  • Fill bird feeders
  • Water plants
  • Lock cars if in the driveway
  • Prepay bills
  • Put TV or radio on timers
  • Close shades on windows that allow people to see in
  • Leave all valuables out of plain sight
  • Have someone else check on the house
  • Try to use up old food in the fridge one week before you leave
  • Pet sitting
  • Lock the doors and leave!

Programmable Light Timers

You'll need a bunch of these to keep your home well lit while you're away

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What Things Do You Do Before You Leave for Vacation?

Checklists, last minute ideas, and preparing - your thoughts?


Anonymous on said:
An apartment or a house that presents itself as unoccupied is far more likely to be targeted by burglars than one which is properly secured. Absence of noise will attract burglars. While you cannot be home all of the time you can use a home security solution that works for you around the clock. It is easy to use Anti-Theft Burglar Deterrent CD with recorded interior, random household sounds that fills in your home with activity noises and instantly alarms burglar that someone is in! The interior activity noises will confuse and demoralize burglar who expects a home to be unoccupied and quiet. It is one of the best things you can do to make your home unattractive to burglars!
Anonymous on said:
In addition to light timers a burglar deterrent CD is also a good addition.
52 leaves
1158 forum posts
Shutting off your water before you leave on your vacation is excellent advise. Some insurance companies will not pay for a water damage claim while you are away on vacation if you did not put preventive measures in place before you left.
2 leaves
23 forum posts
I always contact my bank to let them know the dates I will be gone, and where I will be visiting. There are 2 good reasons for this: 1) If I need cash or credit on my trip (especially foreign destinations) the bank will be more apt to approve the transaction. 2) If someone tries to use my identity in the wrong location/destination, the bank will shut them down!

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