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Taking Care Of Your Home While You're Away On Vacation

I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.

Pack Some Peace of Mind When You Travel

I don't want to spend one moment worrying about things at home while I'm on vacation -- not about the house, my dog, my plants, whether I left an appliance turned on that I shouldn't have, or if a bill will be late if not paid before I get back.

I've been away on trips often enough and for long enough that I've learned a few things the hard way, so I wanted to write this article about how to take care of home while you're away on vacation as a reminder -- a checklist of sorts -- both for me and for others. Many of these suggestions may be no-brainers, but sometimes, in the rush to get out the door or in our excitement about the trip, we can neglect to take care of them.

So take a few minutes before you close the door behind you to review and make sure you've done -- or at least considered doing -- the following to safeguard your house, your pets and plants, and your belongings....

Protecting your home while on vacation

Protecting your home while on vacation

Take Care Of Your Mail And Newspapers While You're Away on Vacation

Don't let them accumulate.

Nothing screams, "We're not home!" more than a bunch of mail stuffed in your box and a pile of newspapers on the stoop, so this is a must-do if you plan to be away for more than just a long weekend.

One option is to ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and newspapers while you're on vacation, or you can put both your mail delivery and newspaper subscription on hold till you return.

As for the newspaper, simply call the office and let them know. They can hold your newspapers for you.

For mail, you can request a hold for up to 30 days, either by filling out an Authorization to Hold Mail form and returning it to your local Post Office or completing your request to hold mail online. You can indicate the date you want redelivery to begin, including all of your held mail, or call 1-800-ASK-USPS when you get back and ask for redelivery.

Please note: If you go into your local Post Office to pick up your held mail, the carrier who's been holding it might be on the route and not available to locate it. It's more efficient to wait for your carrier to deliver all of your accumulated mail when you return than trying to go get it.

Take care of your plants while you're on vacation

Take care of your plants while you're on vacation

Take Care Of Your Plants While You're on Vacation

Don't lose what's taken so long to grow.

Chances are, if you're away for just a week or two, most houseplants would survive if watered well right before you leave. They may be limp and wilted upon your return, but a good watering would probably revive them.

But why put your treasured plants under such stress? There are plenty of things you can do to keep their thirst quenched and needs satisfied while you're gone.

One possibility, of course, is to ask a friend, neighbor, family-member, house-sitter or pet-sitter to tend to them, especially if that person will already be stopping by for mail and newspaper pick-up, pet care, lawn care or just to check the house. This may feel like a lot to ask of someone, though, unless you have or will be reciprocating, or they're being compensated in some way.

So if having someone water your plants isn't an option, here are some things you can do:

  • In warmer weather, close the blinds or shades to keep your house cool. Plants need less water when they're cool.
  • Use watering bulbs, or aqua bulbs, which will release water as the plant needs it, for up to two weeks. (See the bulbs below.)
  • Create a mini greenhouse: For small plants, you can submerge them in cool water for about 20 minutes. As the soil becomes saturated, air bubbles will rise. Keep the plants submerged until you don't see any more bubbles. This means there are no pockets of air or dry soil left. Then let the plants sit until they stop dripping. Next, enclose the plants and pots in a clear plastic and inflate it like a balloon until no leaves are touching the plastic. This can be accomplished by sticking a dowel or pencil into the soil to keep the plastic away from the plant. Finally, poke holes in the bag for air circulation and tie off the plastic balloon. As moisture evaporates, it will adhere to the plastic and then drip back to the plant when the air cools. (Be sure the plants are not in direct sun, which can overheat them when enclosed in plastic.)

Water Plants While You're Traveling - Here are the watering bulbs I mentioned....

This is the type of watering bulb I've been using for up to two weeks at a time with success. Larger house plants may require two or more bulbs in order to provide sufficient water while you're away.

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Just fill the globe by holding the tube end under the faucet, then turn them over and stick the tube into the soil. These can be used for hanging plants and patio plants as well.

Here's another version. You can use these as automatic plant fertilizers and feeders.

This product automatically siphon water from a nearby container when the surrounding soil becomes dryer than the ceramic spike. The spike replenishes the moisture at the same rate your plant draws it from the soil, thereby maintaining an optimum moisture level. Perfect for keeping plants watered while on vacation, or when you are too busy to tend your plants.

Take care of your pets while you're on vacation

Take care of your pets while you're on vacation

Take Care Of Your Pets While You're Away From Home

Our relaxing vacations can be stressful for our pets.

This is my #1 concern while I'm away, and I'm sure that's the case for most other pet-owners. If I can't take my dog with me, Iwant to feel confident that she's in good hands and minimize or, if possible, eliminate her stress while I'm off enjoying myself.

Vacation pet care options include:

  • Kenneling: Kennels and boarding facilities tend to be cleaner, have fewer animals and provide more individual attention than they used to, but there are still plenty of bad apples. So getting recommendations from other pet owners you know and inspecting the facilities inside and out before committing is a must. You might also want to check with the Better Business Bureau and your veterinarian to see if there have been any complaints. Some vets also offer boarding services, which may be a consideration if your pet has special medical needs.
  • Pet-sitting service: Often, a pet-sitter is no more expensive than a kennel or boarder and can even cost less if you have more than one pet. With this arrangement, our pets remain in their familiar environments--the usual sights, smells, sounds, and places to curl up for a nap--and they're not exposed to unfamiliar animals. You can arrange for a pet-sitter to stop in more than once a day, and they'll often perform other services, such as bringing in the mail and watering plants, but usually for an additional fee. Be sure to ask for and check references and meet with the pet-sitter in your home so you can show them around and your pet can meet them, too.
  • Pet hotels and resorts: Though usually quite pricey, pet hotels and resorts have gained in popularity because they offer more personalized attention for your pet. Many pamper their four-legged guests with grooming, spa-like treatment and pedicures, and even offer private rooms and play areas. How much your pet will enjoy any of this would really depend on the animal's personality. Mine? I'm pretty sure she'd turn up her nose and put her tail between her legs.
  • Leaving pets home alone?: I know some folks do leave their pets home alone for relatively short periods of time, and we did this ourselves when we had cats. We had an automatic feeder, a watering tank and a litter box large enough that a long weekend's worth of use wouldn't be too terribly bad for either the cats or for us when we'd return.

    But I'd personally never leave my dog unattended, even with a doggy door and fenced-in yard. For one, I think an extended period of being alone would be stressful for her, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be there to stop her from barking and disturbing the neighbors, especially at night. Add to that the possibility she could somehow get herself physically in trouble (ie. a collar caught on a fence) or even the thought of something like that--or of someone taking her--while I'd be away would bother me to no end.

Protecting your home while on vacation

Protecting your home while on vacation

Home Care: Take Security Measures While You're Gone

Shed some light on your property.

Interior Lighting

Having a light on for a while in the evening can be a good deterrent to would-be burglars. We use a timer to turn on a living room lamp for a couple of hours, usually between 7 and 9pm. The glow can be seen through the blinds both from the front and the back of the house. (We use the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.)

Exterior Lighting

Outside light is perhaps an even better deterrent than interior lighting, so you can set one or two of those on a timer as well--one in front and one out back. (We use compact fluorescent bulbs outdoors too.)

Image is in the public domain

A Little Light Can Go A Long Way - Set the time and duration for turning lights on and off.

The Intermatic lamp and appliance timer comes with two on/off settings and features a lighted dial. The included easy-set lighted dial automatically controls lamps and appliances, and doubles as a night light. A 15 Amp capacity controls lighting and there's a manual override on/off switch for added safety.

Motion Detectors are Another Home Security Option - Illuminate it if it moves.

The solar-powered Security Sensor LED Light has a built-in motion sensor. It's ideal for backyard security and walkway lighting as it turns on whenever movement is detected.

With a removable solar panel on a 16-foot cord, it can also be used for lighting garden sheds and other outbuildings or interior rooms. Since it's solar powered with no wiring, no electrical requirements and no battery changes or bulb maintenance, it's easy for anyone to install.

This Heath Zenith security light features 2 Level lighting and a low-level accent light adjustable timer. Timer settings include--Off, 3-hour, 6-hour, or dusk to dawn.

The full bright security light goes on when motion is detected, and the Selectable Light Timer allows you to choose a setting of minutes before automatically shutting off lights after motion has stopped. The Automatic Photocell deactivates the unit in daylight, and the Pulse Count Technology reduces false sensing from wind and rain. A Manual Override is available so you can turn light off or on at your convenience with an existing indoor wall switch. This unit allows light to stay on continuously all night when needed.

Solar-Powered Motion Sensing

This one requires no wiring, and you can mount the solar panel anywhere. The device can detect motion at 30 feet away with a range of 180 degrees.

Solar-Powered Motion Sensing

Protecting your home while on vacation

Protecting your home while on vacation

More Home Security Measures

Some other dos and don'ts to consider

Install a Security System

Check into ADT monitored home security to protect your home while you're out of town or even just at work.

Use Window Dowels

If you have slider windows, place a dowel between the frame and the sliding panel. The dowel should be cut to just short of the exact length, so you can get it in and out of there from the inside, but it won't allow the window to be opened more than about a quarter-inch. For windows that open upwards, you can use a dowel (or two) placed vertically between the top of the sliding panel and the upper frame. It will have to be fairly snug so it won't fall out.

Check all windows to be sure they're locked.

Park a Car in the Driveway

Consider leaving a vehicle of your own in the driveway instead of inside the garage or asking a neighbor to use your driveway while you're gone.

Tell a Trusted Neighbor or Friend

If you trust a neighbor well enough, let them know you'll be away and for how long and if you expect anyone to be stopping by your home in your absence. Provide instructions and contact information in case they need to report something unusual. If you can't ask a neighbor, consider asking a good friend to stop by occasionally to check on things.

And you may want to leave them with a spare key, in case they need to check inside or if you forget to tend to something and need to call and ask them to go in.

Lock Gates

Use padlocks on gates leading to your backyard. Don't forget those that may go from your backyard to an alleyway.

Don't Post Vacation Plans on Social Websites

Recently, I heard about criminals using Twitter to target unoccupied homes while owners would be away on vacation. As excited as we get about upcoming trips, it's best not to announce them, particularly the dates, on public social forums. Even talking specifics on Facebook isn't such a hot idea. For one, many of us "friend" people we don't know all that well or may have just an online connection with. Try to resist the urge and wait till you return to post comments about your travels. (I'm telling this to myself as much as anyone. I'm definitely guilty of this one.)

Taking care of your home while on vacation

Taking care of your home while on vacation

Take Care To Conserve While You're Away

Not to mention avoid wasting money

Turn down the thermostat

The temperature inside the house doesn't need to be as cozy as it might be while you're home. If we're away for a stretch in the winter, we lower our thermostat to about 52 degrees. All of our house plants are fine with that.

Turn down the water heater

Change it to the vacation setting.

Turn off strip switches and unplug your computer, etc.

We unplug our TV and stereo, computer, cable boxes, and other non-essential electronics. We also don't leave any batteries on chargers and unplug the chargers as well.

Turn down the refrigerator

Usually, when we go away, there's little in the fridge. So we turn it down--that is, turn the dial to a higher number to make it warmer. No need for it to work so hard to cool a nearly empty space.

Check your faucets and toilet

We go through the bathrooms and kitchen and give the faucets a little extra turn to make sure there are no drips. And, if you have a toilet that ever runs on its own, I'd turn the valve off down below. (And fix that as soon as you can. It can use a huge amount of water.) If we've used outside spigots recently, I check those as well. And, of course, in the winter, hoses should be removed.

Have bills paid while you're on vacation

Have bills paid while you're on vacation

Take Care Of Bills and Rent or Mortgage Payments While You're Away

Don't pay late fees.

Me, I like to pay my bills as soon as I receive them, so I always think ahead about which bills I'll be getting by mail or email while I'm on vacation. There are usually grace periods for most bills, so if you're away for just a week or two, chances are you'll have time to get your payment in, either by mail or electronically, as long as you send them as soon as you return.

But if you don't want to think about bill-paying right when you get home -- there's always plenty of other things to tend to -- then some forethought can eliminate that chore.

  • If you have bills that are always the same amount, such as cable television or internet service, health insurance premiums or monthly memberships for example, just send in payment before you leave.
  • Set up automatic withdrawal. Contact the billing department and ask if they do auto-withdrawal and, if so, how to arrange it. Usually, the company will send either an email (preferred) or a paper statement showing the withdrawal amount each month, so you can enter it in your checkbook and be alerted to any unusual changes. We always used auto-withdrawal for our mortgage payments, so we never had to think about them when we were away.
  • Have the bill charged to your credit card. This is an another option with some companies. Just remember, you have to take care of paying credit card bills while you're away, too, in case they'll be due. But at least this method can help consolidate.
  • Pay your rent early. Based on my experience working in a rental office for a while, many landlords will not accept post-dated checks. So you'll either have to pre-pay your rent, mail it from wherever you're vacationing, or have a trusted friend or family member drop it off on time while you're away. Another option, if you'll have internet access and do banking online, is to have your bank send a check, paying attention to how many days it will take for the check to arrive. To most landlords, late is late and fees will apply.

Look For A Housesitter

Look For A Housesitter

What About A Housesitter?

A possible all-in-one vacation solution

Having someone stay at your home can take care of many, most or even all of the above-mentioned considerations--your mail and newspapers, any other deliveries you might be expecting (or maybe some you're not), plant care, pet care, security, dripping faucets or running toilets, even lawn and garden care. (Though you may not want them to pay your bills ... but who knows?)

Sometimes, this can be done by a friend or family member. We've house-sat for both friends and family, and it was actually quite fun. A nice change of scenery, not to mention, on one occasion, access to a hot tub. And the owners even bought a bunch of groceries for us to use and left a gift certificate to our favorite sushi restaurant. What a deal!

But there won't always be a friend or family member willing or able to housesit, so a hired house-sitter would be an option.

Here are some tips regarding hiring a house-sitter:

  • Ask friends, family and/or neighbors if they can recommend someone who'd be responsible and trustworthy, even if that person has never house-sat before.
  • Check references.
  • Meet with perspective house-sitters in your home.
  • Write down what you want to be done, when and how.
  • Write down the rules (ie. no guests) and any don'ts such as homeowners association rules (ie. no parking on the street).
  • Have a back-up plan, just in case your house-sitter cancels at the last moment or has to leave before you return.
  • Ask a neighbor, friend or family member to stop by and check on things, maybe once a week. (Personally, I'd tell the house-sitter I was going to do this. And be sure that it's not too early in the morning or late at night.)
  • Post important phone numbers, such as utility companies, and local emergency contacts including a friend or family member.

If you can't find someone by referral, you can try a house-sitting service or directory, such as HouseSittersAmerica. In fact, do a search online, and you'll find no shortage of these websites. You can also check your local Yellow Pages for house-sitting services in the area.

Looking for a long-term house-sitter?

If you'll be away for more than a week or two--perhaps for a month or more or seasonally--you might want to try the Caretaker Gazette.

You can place an ad or look through the "situation wanted" ads by those who are looking for caretaking and housesitting positions. Longer-term house-sitting is often an exchange rather than a paid position, but this will depend on how much you'll be asking someone to do.

I do have experience using the Gazette, but my husband and ( used it to find property caretaking and house-sitting situations rather than as property owners. Still, I think it's a great publication.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

Comments? How Do You Take Care of YOUR Home When You're Away on Vacation? Share those things here.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on May 16, 2020:

Good points. We once forgot to empty our reusable coffee filter into the compost bin and left for a week. It was growing mold by the time we got back. And definitely yes on taking out the trash. Thanks.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 16, 2020:

Thank you for the traveling tips :) Another one is to empty the coffee pot and filter . plus making sure all trash is removed from the home :)

Rose Nelson on January 29, 2020:

All good things to remember if your going on vacation or just a short trip.

Alyona Gorbatova from Russia, Sochi on January 16, 2020:

Very helpful information! We've bought a dwarf rabbit and can't decide where to leave it for the duration of the journey. Your advice helped us to solve our little problem.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on October 30, 2018:


Liz Westwood from UK on October 28, 2018:

You give great advice. I hadn't heard of watering bulbs before. But I will check them out now.

Galaxy Harvey from United Kingdom on June 14, 2018:

Interesting article with some great tips.

Scott Gese on February 20, 2018:

Nice article. My wife and I use the bulbs when we leave for a few days. We have a couple of plants that need a lot of water. The bulbs work well for this too.

I'm pretty good about prepping the house before we leave although I once left a hose hooked to an outside spigot. It was turned off at the nozzle end, but I had left the spigot turned on. The hose ruptured while we were gone. It ran for two days (48 hours). The bill was horrendous. Fortunately the water company worked with us and lowered our bill for the month. I'll never forget to check the outside hoses ever again.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on February 20, 2018:

Agreed! Thanks for your comment.

Haley Kieser from Arizona on February 15, 2018:

As a dog sitter, I definitely recommend this option over kenneling your pets. Especially if your pets are allowed to roam freely in your home when you're gone. Kenneling them for a long period of time that they aren't used to can be a hard experience for the pet.

Robert Connor from Michigan on June 17, 2014:

House sitters can be good but expensive!

Giovanna from UK on June 05, 2014:

I don't have a pet because of the holidays. It's so expensive to kennel a pet here in the UK. So although I'd love to be a pet owner. I'm not :(

Great lens. so many good tips. I have shared and book marked it.

SteveKaye on May 18, 2014:

These are excellent ideas. We ask neighbors to watch our house and report any strange activities. I plan on-line purchases so that all of them will have arrived before we leave. And I ask a neighbor to roll our trash can to the curb on trash pick up days.

David Lawrence from United States on May 18, 2014:

I've read this post before, but timely reminders as the summer vacation season approaches.

Joanie Ruppel from Keller, Texas on May 18, 2014:

This is a very thorough list. One additional item goes along with taking care of houseplants. We have to get friends to come over and care for our garden, mostly in the facet of harvesting what is ready while we are away. We have a sprinkler system so that takes care of watering, but it is a shame to let ready veggies go to waste, so remember to share the harvest.

Delia on May 17, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD! I have someone I know very well to take care of the house and pet. I couldn't get my answers to the above questions to go through...

Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on May 17, 2014:

Great suggestions and recommendations . Congrats on LOTD !

stoddarda on May 17, 2014:

Congrats on the post of the day! Getting up there in the world!

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on May 17, 2014:

The duels won't let me post. It has been a while since we went on vacation. Often we will have my sister-in-law get the mail and my niece to feed the fish.

roynikita on May 17, 2014:

Delight your adorable ones with your best love and affection in the form of Flowers and Gifts on their special occasions and make the day very special and memorable. Send Flowers to Italy at reasonable price through Italy florist and spread the air of love and affection all . Make it bright and beautiful with love and happiness.

Fay Favored from USA on May 17, 2014:

Lots of good suggestions that I think people overlook, especially the conserving ideas. Congratulations on LotD.

DebMartin on May 16, 2014:

Great reminders. Congratulations on LotD

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on May 16, 2014:

Congratulations on winning LOTD, Ramkitten! I already liked your lens before your day in the sunshine :) Excellent lens!

RinchenChodron on May 16, 2014:

Congrats on this great lens a well earned LOTD. I do all these things but it might be good to check em off before leaving.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 16, 2014:

Since we have moved to a small apartment we have fewer things the worry about, so we just tell the rental office and a trusted neighbor. We usually aren't gone more than a week though. Extended vacations are never in our budget. Thanks for the great tips. Congrats on LOTD.

mistyriver on May 16, 2014:

We've had friends come over to watch the house and our pets. I think the worst thing you can do is talk about your trip on social media! My friends had their house broken into this way. Sharing can wait until you get back!

astevn816 lm on May 16, 2014:

I always make the bed, sometimes the most comforting thing about coming home

anonymous on May 16, 2014:

Very informative lens. Congratulations on getting LotD!

Stanley Green from Czech Republic on May 16, 2014:

Great lens! We practice many of tips you've mentioned here. We don't keep pets at home, so no worrying about them during vacation. Congratulations on LOTD!

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on May 16, 2014:

All common sense and great ideas you have come up with here, I'm always forgetting something when we go away. Congratulations on LOTD!!!

inkedwriter lm on May 16, 2014:

Some fantastic info here....well deserved LOTD

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on May 16, 2014:

I once put my houseplants in the bathtub with a little water in the bottom while I went away. Unfortunately the faucet dripped and when I returned, they were floating and tipped over. What a mess. Luckily the tub didn't overflow.

Linda F Correa from Spring Hill Florida on May 16, 2014:

How about this one....never got why people do it ! Tell everyone you're on vacation on facebook ! That seems like an invitation to me ! This was a great lens with lots of good common sense ideas ! Congrats

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on May 16, 2014:

Congrats on lens of the day! Excellent info. Coming back to a clean house is always good. When we had dogs we'd have a pet sitter so they could relax in their own territory. Never could make myself board them. Great suggestions!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on May 16, 2014:

We do many of the things you've mentioned. I also like to leave a clean house (with a freshly-made bed) to come home to. Pets are always my biggest concern. I'm hoping we can hire a house/pet sitter for our next vacation. Thanks for the great tips and congrats on your Lens of the Day!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on May 16, 2014:

Never go as we have 4 horses a dog and a cat!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on May 16, 2014:

The neighbors keep an eye on things for me while I'm away. Congrats on LotD!

sirteacup on May 16, 2014:

Thanks for the awesome tips, the dead plants have always been my nightmare! Congrats on lens of the day.

Stuwaha on May 16, 2014:

Once when we were away for 2 weeks in the US our house was broken into, and ever since I've been nauseated at the thought of leaving for even a long weekend but we did get a timer for our lights which makes me feel slightly better.

Scindhia from Chennai on April 29, 2014:

Great tips!

Spirality on April 24, 2014:

Place a hold on my mail and thoroughly clean my house before leaving

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on April 22, 2014:

Super tips to remember for traveling!

FlopFanatics on April 17, 2014:

This is definitely the most important tips and cautions essential for home care all under one roof... Loved the pet care and planing section. Trusting someone with a spare key could be little bit difficult these days.

FlopFanatics on April 17, 2014:

This is definitely the most important tips and cautions essential for home care all under one roof... Loved the pet care and planing section. Trusting someone with a spare key could be little bit difficult these days.

spudzjamezspudz on April 15, 2014:

This is one Lens I am definitely bookmarking! These tips are definitely worth reading. In today's world, you can't depend on your neighbours to keep a watchful eye on your home, or depend on them to take loving care of your pets.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 15, 2014:

Excellent ideas. I'm going away for about a month soon (to play 'grandma' to a new arrival) and am thinking ahead on bills and such. No worries about my place (it's an apt complex and the apt managers will know I'm not in residence and will keep an eye out). Will 'hold' my mail and most of my bills I pay online, so that's taken care of. No pets, and a neighbor is taking in my ONE plant for the duration. LOL. I've used several of these ideas in the past, but enjoyed having a review since I'll be leaving shortly.

Dhookraj Singh on April 15, 2014:

Great tips.I am fortunate in that I get a relative to live in while I'm away.

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on April 14, 2014:

This is an EXCELLENT 'taking care of home while away lens', Ramkitten! You covered all the bases and backed up nicely with some really useful products.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on April 14, 2014:

Just do not take vacations as we have way too much to do here at home. Where we live it is like being on vacation all the time!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on April 14, 2014:

Just do not take vacations as we have way too much to do here at home. Where we live it is like being on vacation all the time!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on April 14, 2014:

Just do not take vacations as we have way too much to do here at home. Where we live it is like being on vacation all the time!

Mickie Gee on April 14, 2014:

@meggingmad: You have to be careful with this as your water heater might go dry.

Mickie Gee on April 14, 2014:

I use several of the suggestions above. I would add that one should turn off the water connection to the clothes washer if possible. We came home after a long weekend away to water running out of the garage. A turn off valve ON the washing machine had failed and ruined the flooring in the laundry room.

torstenmeyer on February 23, 2014:

For those who leave their home unattended very long term (say 2 years) should the solar system and its water tank be emptied and the panel covered? Or will this be worse as far as rust etc.

meggingmad on February 16, 2014:

Turn off the water at the main stopcock. Don`t come home to a burst pipe. (Talking from sad experience.)

Stephanie from Canada on September 02, 2013:

Great ideas to relieve stress while on vacation! I hate thinking about what could be wrong while I'm away.

ehomedesignidea1 on August 26, 2013:

I am thankful that we have trusted friends/relatives near us whom we can ask a little favor from by checking the house while we are away.

geosum on April 10, 2013:

Great lens. We're fortunate to have good neighbors and family close by.

george williams 3 on March 04, 2013:

I always run back into the house before we leave and check everything again. Make sure you turn of the water to the washing machine. That is a real disaster if a breakage occurs! I loved reading this!

davidsmith4 on February 18, 2013:

My friend has always wanted to do this. I might show her your lens. Thanks! :)

OrlandoTipster on February 03, 2013:

Recent newscast had some burglars were able to access newspapers delivery hold list.

Best would to be to get neighbor to pick it up for you.

If you live in area where it snows, have them maybe drive their car in & out of driveway and make some foot tracks through snow.

Thanks for sharing your tips!

kabbalah lm on December 28, 2012:

Good tips

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on September 24, 2012:

Wonderful checklist for taking care of the house and pets and plants so you can have a great vacation!

OrlandoTipster on July 26, 2012:

Great checklist of things to do.

Thanks for the tips!

DanSecurityGuru on July 06, 2012:

Fantastic lens. Very good tips to care for your home so you come home to a trouble free environment.

I also suggest leaving a few lights/nightlights on in the home while your gone for security purposes. Pairing lights with a timer will help it appear like someone is home.

Kathy McGraw from California on July 04, 2012:

I usually do most of what you listed here, but those watering tips are fantastic. The watering bulbs are a must have as that is usually my only concern.

dream1983 on July 01, 2012:

Very nice lens, well done! Squidlike

AlleyCatLane on June 02, 2012:

Great advice and good to use as a review before one leaves the house for a prolonged period of time. I'll bookmark for future reference.

anonymous on April 11, 2012:

some good tips and advice for looking after your home. There are some great security systems with good pcb and electronic design available to use for your home.

Tim_Foster on March 29, 2012:

Great stuff! SayGudday says you are a great friend to have here on Squidoo!

seodevanshi on February 17, 2012:

Thanks For sharing such an useful information. home security systems

awayb on February 03, 2012:

wonderful many things to do before going on vacation...

FalconFan LM on February 01, 2012:

Great ideas! We get many questions pertaining to information like this...this lens is very helpful for anyone taking a vacation!

Lindrus on December 28, 2011:

I ask a friend to housesit.

jimmyworldstar on December 08, 2011:

I ask my neighbors to take care of my pets, turn off the water and unplug every electric appliance (except for the fridge of course), leave some lights running, and set up my security system. I have a neat device where I can even monitor my house through cameras on my computer and phone.

rollerdoorsltd on November 24, 2011:

Ensure all the windows and doors are locked (including the garage and shed) and tell the neighbours that we will be away so they can keep an ear out for any strange goings on.

ActiveNewZealand on November 17, 2011:

I have lodgers so it's really handy to leave them in charge! Although I am guilty of leaving a list of instructions --- just in case!

GeorgeStuart on November 03, 2011:

Your local locksmith might have some easy and cheap recommendations to make your home safer both when you are at home and away- sheffield and surrounding areas can look at WWW.SHEFFIELDLOCKSMITHS24H.CO.UKor call 01143216142

zimbali2011 on October 13, 2011:

I often ask my sister to stay when I am away

GreenfireWiseWo on September 07, 2011:

We have a friend check in every day.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 02, 2011:

We close our home for months because we work overseas but we have people checking all the time. All our mails go to a mailing address. It is just a lot of work packing and unpacking.

efriedman on June 27, 2011:

Important reminders of taking care of home while you are away. I will feature this lens currently on my vacation lens - House Trade

smithlights on June 26, 2011:

Great lens; great tips! You thought of it all!

anonymous on June 23, 2011:

These tips are indeed effective. Though it's easy for me to take care of my home since my place isn't that big. Let me share some good resources on how to lower electric bill and the average price build house. Thanks!

anonymous on May 31, 2011:

Talk about covering all the bases and very well!

momsfunny on May 31, 2011:

Great lens. Great advice. Just be responsible. Probably make a list of what to do before you go. So that you won't be having any worries when you're on a vacation.

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on May 28, 2011:

I'm bookmarking this in case we ever go on a real vacation again.

playercoach on February 26, 2011:

Great tips and a very helpful lens. Another idea to consider, is to use a barking dog alarm. These are inexpensive and when they detect movement outside the house near a door or window they emit the sound of a real, not so happy dog. These devices are easy to use and serve as great deterrents to unwanted intruders when you are gone on vacation. Take a look here at Bark Dog Alarms to learn more.

playercoach on February 26, 2011:

Great tips and a very helpful lens. Another idea to consider, is to use a barking dog alarm. These are inexpensive and when they detect movement outside the house near a door or window they emit the sound of a real, not so happy dog. These devices are easy to use and serve as great deterrents to unwanted intruders when you are gone on vacation. Take a look here at Bark Dog Alarms to learn more.

anonymous on February 18, 2011:

When I leave my house unattended for any length of time, I refrain from making my whereabouts known on FB or twitter...the last thing I want is for someone to find my absence as a perfect opportunity to ransack my home. Even though my insurance would probably cover it, I have some stuff that is irreplaceable, if you know what I mean.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on January 12, 2011:

A great list of tips to keep your home safe and cared for while you're away.

rt8ca on January 12, 2011:

Some very good tips here thanks.

I always make sure to turn off the main water supply when away, just in case the hot water tank goes etc.

Will definitely link back to you from my travel tips website. Please drop by:


Demaw on November 17, 2010:

It's always good to tell a neighbor when you are going to be away in case of suspicious activities. Also ask them to pick up the advertising flyers and anything else people might put around your door announcing you are not home.

buntyross on November 11, 2010:

Great information on everything that need to be taken care of while we are away from home.Nice tips overall great lense.I prefer doing some Home Insurance and Contents Insurance.

GospelSmith on November 11, 2010:

Great list, and I'm sure it's helpful to many. My wife and I used to have to travel often, and these were things we had to do before we left. No cops or neighborhood watch, but we always got a neighbor to keep and eye on things and left our phone # and email address so they could reach us quickly. Once or twice it paid off.

sdkrdk on October 11, 2010:

A very well researched and informative post. In fact, entrepreneur will be extremely benefited from this post.

Rousella on September 30, 2010:

I'm planning to improve my patio and I'm looking for those related ideas before finalizing my decisions.

I've seen this blog at

It gave me some valuable ideas but I still consider second opinions to achieve a better outcome. Hope you can help me. Thanks in advance :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 22, 2010:

All really excellent suggestions! I have a whole check list that I go down every time we leave for a vacation. It looks a lot like this :) Lenrolled to How to Pack for A Vacation.

anonymous on September 08, 2010:

You covered everything to do when closing up your house to head out on an extended vacation - great list to reference! I do not have pets or plants, so two less things to worry about :)

I would add the suggestion of using a fireproof safe (hidden) to secure important papers and valuables.

greenatheart on June 22, 2010:

Kudos. This is a good lens. Many people would want to know how to take care of their home when they are away. Helpful pointers. :D

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