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11 Things to Do at Home Before Leaving on a Trip

January 4, 2023


There’s lots to do at home when preparing for a vacation or out-of-town assignment. You not only have to clear your schedule, pack clothes and make reservations, there are also things to do at home before leaving on a trip. Here are tips on how to make sure your home is safe while you’re away.

Tidy Up

You don’t want to return to a dirty home, with piles of laundry and dishes in the sink, so plan ahead to tidy up your house a few days before you leave.

Ask Someone to Monitor Mail and Package Delivery

A sure sign that you are away on a trip is a build-up of mail, packages, flyers and papers at your door. If you don’t have an available neighbor, a professional Home Watch company is a great choice!

Check the Washer and Dryer

Lots of times people forget they have that last load of clothes in the laundry, and who wants to come home to a sour smell. Take a moment to check inside the washer and dryer before leaving on a trip.

Put Lights and a Radio on Timers

To give the impression that someone is at home, create virtual scenarios with lighting and sound where people normally would be present in the home. Light the living room or family room in the evening, and the bedrooms around your normal bedtime. Put a radio on a timer downstairs too that shuts off when the bedroom lights come on. Don’t forget outside lighting as well. Timed or motion-sensored lighting can deter a potential criminal.

Clean out the Refrigerator

If you’ll be gone for more than a week, toss out perishable items from your refrigerator, or if they can be frozen, wrap them tightly and place them in the freezer. Perishables left behind will break down and develop mold.

Empty the Trash

One of the last things to do is empty all the trash cans. Leaving trash behind—especially with items tossed from your refrigerator—will attract pests, not to mention a horrible smell when you return.


Before leaving on a trip, go around the house and unplug all the electronics you won’t be using. You’ll not only save on energy bills, you can prevent damage from electrical storms or outages, and avert the risk of an electrical fire.

Set the Thermostat

Don’t turn off your HVAC system. Instead, set your thermostat to 55 degrees in the winter or 80 degrees in the summer. Do this to maintain a constant temperature in your home and avoid moisture buildup.

Related: How to Use the Thermostat to Save Money this Winter

Turn off Water Valves

To avoid a sudden leak, turn off the water valves to your sinks, dishwasher and washing machine. Set your hot water heater to “vacation mode” if possible.

Lock Up

A forgotten lock is an invitation for crime. As one of the last things to do before leaving on a trip, check every window and door in your home, garage and outbuildings to ensure they are closed and locked. Lock and double-check the front door and garage door as you leave.

Hire a Home Watch Company

The best way to ensure a safe and healthy home on your return is to hire a professional Home Watch company, like Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge. We will check all of the above-listed items, along with our normal checklist of items, to alleviate any worries you might have about leaving on a trip.

Golden Rule Home Watch Protects Northern Virginia Homes

At Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge, we offer a number of services designed to protect your Northern Virginia home and vehicles. Through Home Watch, we inspect your home and provide you a full report after each visit. With Car Watch, we attend to your car’s needs, ranging from a battery tender to arranging for vehicle maintenance. If you just need a secure place to hold your keys in case of emergency or package management, we offer a Key Watch service as well.

Through our Concierge Services, we can even prepare your home for your return with things like stocking the refrigerator and setting the temperature.

Golden Rule Home Watch is licensed, bonded and insured for your protection. Alleviate worries with these 11 things to do at home before leaving on a trip, and give Golden Rule a call to see how we can help. Contact us at 855-928-2424.