Preparing Your Home For A Big Trip: 10 Things to Organize

Going on a major trip? Super lucky you! Keep in mind that planning for a significant trip involves more than just packing your bags and booking flights. Ensuring your home is properly organized and secure before you leave is essential for peace of mind while you’re away. You don’t want any lingering worries about something back at home during your travels. Here’s a practical guide on what to organize in your home before embarking on your next adventure.

1. Secure Your Home

Before you go, do what is necessary to secure your home against potential risks. Lock all windows and doors securely, and consider installing timers for lights to create the appearance that someone is home. If possible, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your property and collect any mail or packages that may accumulate. We’ve got a thorough guide on keeping your home safe while you’re away.

2. Modify Your Utilities Settings

Adjust your thermostat to a suitable temperature to save energy while you’re away—use the HOLD setting. If it’s summer don’t let your house go too hot—your plants will suffer. If it’s winter you don’t want it too cold—your plants may suffer but your pipes could also freeze. Experts say setting the thermostat at 60-62º is the best for winter, and 75-78º in the summer, if you will be gone for an extended period. Also consider turning off non-essential appliances and unplugging electronics to reduce energy consumption and protect against power surges.

3. Manage Subscriptions and Deliveries

Pause or redirect any regular deliveries, such as newspapers or milk, to avoid them piling up and signaling your absence. Make arrangements with the service provider or through a neighbor who can collect them for you. Especially critical are deliveries of perishable food items, important documents, or temperature-sensitive medications.

4. Pay the Bills

Take care of any pending bills or financial matters before you leave. Set up automatic payments for bills that will come due while you’re away, or schedule payments in advance to avoid late fees. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel dates to prevent any issues with transactions while abroad. And while you’re at it, double-check that the credit card you plan to use abroad has no international charge fees.

5. Clear Out the Refrigerator and Pantry of Perishables

Dispose of perishable food items to prevent them from spoiling and causing icky odors in your absence. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry, and consider donating soon-to-expire items that you won’t use before you leave. We try to “eat the kitchen” the week before our departure to use up as much as we can, which can make for a variety of random, but tasty meals! The day before you go, donate, compost, or toss the rest. Don’t forget to take all the garbage, recycling, and compost and place them in their Waste Management bins the morning of your trip—and make arrangements for a neighbor or friend to put the bins out and return them.

6. Secure Valuables

Store valuable items such as jewelry, important documents, and spare keys in a secure location, such as a safe or locked drawer. Avoid leaving valuables in obvious places that may attract unwanted attention. If your car will remain parked in the driveway or street during your absence, take out everything that may tempt a thief—definitely take out items in the glove compartment that have your personal information.

7. Arrange for Pet Care

If you have pets, make arrangements for their care well in advance. This could involve booking a pet sitter, arranging for boarding at a trusted facility, or asking a friend or family member to look after them. Ensure your pet’s caretaker has all necessary instructions and contact information for emergencies.

8. Consider Home Maintenance

If you’ll be away for an extended period, consider arranging for basic home maintenance tasks, such as lawn care or raking of the leaves, depending on the season. This helps maintain your home’s appearance and security while you’re gone.

9. Notify Trusted Individuals

Inform a few trusted people—a neighbor, friend, or family member—of your travel plans. Provide them with your contact information and itinerary in case of emergencies. This person can serve as a point of contact and assist with any unforeseen issues that may arise. If you are comfortable with it, give one person a key or code to enter your home in case it becomes necessary.

10. Set Up Home Security

Consider investing in a home security system or ensuring your existing system is active and monitored. Some systems allow you to monitor your home remotely via smartphone apps, providing added peace of mind while you’re away. I especially like alerts that inform me, even when I’m away, that someone is at my door or pulling up on the driveway.


By organizing these aspects of your home before your departure, you can enjoy your trip with the confidence that your home is secure and well-managed in your absence. Taking these proactive steps ensures a worry-free journey and a smooth return home. Whether you’re on a beach, in the mountains, a ship mid-ocean, or a European café, you don’t want any worries about your house!




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