Leaving for Vacation? Your Ultimate Checklist To Protect Your Home

vacation checklist cover photo

You’ve packed your bags and boarded your pets. All ready to hit the road? Not so fast…leaving your house in disarray can zap you of that relaxed spirit when you arrive home and can even attract pests. While it’s delightful to walk into a “home sweet home” from a cleanliness standpoint, you also want to ensure your house and belongings are protected while you’re gone.

That’s why we’ve created this room-by-room checklist of tasks to take care of before you leave. “Future you” will be happy when you return to a clean, secure home.


  • Think about what might create smells or cleanliness hazards while you’re gone: Run and empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, and clean out the fridge — anything nearing its expiration date should be eaten, frozen, or tossed.
  • Stock up on a few pantry staples so you’ll have a quick meal to eat when you get home, but keep bags and boxes sealed to ward off pests.
  • Double-check that appliances, such as your stove and oven, are off, and unplug small ones (like your toaster or coffee maker) to avoid a potential fire.

Laundry room

  • Run that last load of laundry so you’re not greeted by stinky towels or workout clothes in the hamper, but also be sure not to leave it wet in the washer.
  • Then, make sure the dryer load is completely dry and that your machine isn’t on an automatic mode that will toss endlessly while you’re gone.
  • Confirm you haven’t accidentally left your favorite black sweater to hang dry rather than tucked in your carry-on.


  • Wash your sheets and remake your bed so you can dive right in if you get home late.
  • Put your jewelry box and other valuables out of sight — in a safe is your best bet — in case your house is broken into.
  • Close and lock windows, even if you typically leave them open on a second floor.


  • Give an extra twist to all the water spigots (sink, tub, shower) so a small drip doesn’t turn into a big problem.
  • Flush your toilet one more time so nothing festers.
  • Verify that all your key toiletries are packed — like your toothbrush, medicine, and sunscreen.


  • Make sure any bill that could come due while you’re gone is paid. While you’re at it, notify your credit card company you’ll be traveling so they don’t dispute any charges.
  • Unplug your computer, chargers, router, printer, and other devices to lower the risk of an electrical fire.
  • Don’t leave passwords or other codes or financial information visible.


  • Turn down the water heater to save on heating costs.
  • Lock interior doors.
  • Check that your outdoor fridge and freezer are closed securely.


  • Put your sprinklers on automatic mode.
  • Mount an outdoor camera that uses motion sensors to trigger lights.
  • Mow your lawn and trim bushes so your house won’t appear overgrown while you’re gone.


  • Stop your mail or newspaper deliveries so they don’t pile up as a telltale sign that no one’s home.
  • Put lights on timers so they’ll switch off and on at regular intervals and make the home look inhabited.
  • Adjust your thermostat or program your smart gadget to “away” mode.

While you’re gone

  • Refrain from posting on social media about your whereabouts.
  • Have a neighbor collect stray mail or packages.
  • Pay a local teen to mow your lawn — or hire a lawn service — if you’ll be gone long enough for it to look vacant.

Consider a “smarter” house

This might be the time to consider investing in some “smart” systems for year-round peace of mind. A “smart” security system will alert you via your mobile device if a window or door is opened or when a motion detector has been triggered. You can also pay for continuous monitoring, which may even potentially earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance.

Smart door locks can also add a vital layer of security to guard your house while you’re away by alerting you if someone is trying to enter. By assigning specific codes, you can still allow a neighbor to water your plants and can change the code as needed.

Get continuous protection

While all these ideas above will help deter thieves and accidental fire or water damage — not to mention make your home more inviting to return to — nothing substitutes for an ample home insurance policy. Use Matic to compare coverage options and rates with a fast and free personalized quote.