The “Before I Leave On Vacation” To Do List. When you are going on a vacation, there are many tasks to do to before you can actually relax and start having fun. You will relax more if you know your house is secure and all of your belongings will still be there when you return. This To Do list will help you to prepare for your vacation, so that your homecoming makes you feel good too. 


You do not want to alert anyone who happens to be walking down your street that you are not home and have not been home for several days. Either request the post office to hold your mail until you return for a small fee, or ask a trusted neighbour or friend to empty your mailbox.  Do not forget to cancel the newspaper delivery too. 

You may also consider sending an automatic reply to your emails and turning off your answering machine on your phone. If you leave the answering machine on, people will know you are not at home if they keep ringing back because the beeps get shorter. Turn it off and the phone just rings out, which could mean you are actually home, but busy and unable to reach the phone. 


Make sure you have catered for any pets you have. There are several options to get your beloved pet looked after while you are relaxing on your holiday. A housesitter can come and stay in your house, you can ask a trusted friend or neighbour to come over daily to care for your pet (and to pick up the mail, water the plants and turn the lights on and off at the same time), or you can board your pet at a kennel or cattery. 


Coming home to a house full of dead plants is not the sort of homecoming you will be imagining. If you have plants that you love and that need some regular TLC, getting a housesitter is worth considering.  If your plants are hardier types, you may just like to give your plants have a good drink before you go, so the soil does not dry out while you are away.  

Take any cut flowers out of vases and throw them (and the water) away or you will come home to a stench you will never forget. 


A dark house with no lights on indicates that no-one is home. If this situation continues for several nights, you will increase the chance of burglars taking advantage of your absence.  If you have arranged for a friend or neighbour to collect the mail, and take care of any pets or plants, ask them to also turn some lights on and off at different times, so that the house looks lived in. 

Alternatively, you can invest in a timing switch that automatically turns the lights on and off at certain times of the day or night. If neither of these options is available, leave at least a lamp on. The soft glow of the lamp is not visible during the day, but will shine through the windows at night, leaving possible burglars thinking that someone could be home.  


Leaving a radio on will encourage people to think that someone could be home. It can also provide some company for your pet who is probably used to having people around more often. If you use a clock radio alarm, set the alarm for different times during the day, so that people may think someone is home if the radio suddenly starts up. 


Ensuring your home is protected by video and alarm surveillance could be the most important step to keeping your home secure while on vacation. A home security system makes your home less likely to be targeted by intruders and robbers. 


Make sure you clean out your fridge and give away any vegetables or food products you will not eat before you leave and that will go off before your return. There is nothing worse than coming home and opening the fridge to see (and smell) rotting food. The same goes for any fruits in a fruit bowl, or any other food products in your house anywhere. 

Electrical Appliances 

Turn off and unplug the electrical appliances in your home before a vacation. Firstly, this can save electricity because even on standby power appliances will use electricity. Why pay bills for appliances you have not even used?  Secondly, this can prevent the appliances blowing up or breaking if an electrical storm creates a discharge. Thirdly, a quick check in each room will make sure you do not leave anything on that could cause problems like the oven or an iron. 


Leave your house as clean as possible. You will not want to have a lot of housework when you return from a vacation.  Wash your clothes and leave fresh sheets on your bed, so that you can return to a house that is spick and span and feels nice. Remember you will most likely be bringing more washing home after the vacation too. 


You should always tell at least one neighbour, family member, or trusted friend where you are going and how to contact you in case of emergency.  If your house burnt down, you would want to know straight away. Your neighbour may also keep a watchful eye on your house, which increases your security. 

Now that you have taken care of everything, you can relax and thoroughly enjoy your vacation. You will return to a secure, clean house that will make you feel almost as good as your vacation did!