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Your Essential Pre-Travel Home Checklist.



Have you ever considered what to do at home before you travel? Wouldn’t you like to have your very own pre-travel home checklist? Well as always we thought you might need this! 

Seeing as spring is here although it doesn’t feel like it in most parts of the world. Even tropical Africa is unusually cold and wet this year! Still, it’s time to gear up for your family vacations and trips if you haven’t yet planned them out.

By the way, you missed the January/Feb flight dumping bonanza. But all is not lost! And in the planning most people forget something very important.  As you head to the beach, ski slopes, road trip or mountain cabin your home will be left empty!

So, before you take off to shores anew, use this comprehensive checklist of what to do to keep your home safe, fresh and warm for when you get back!  

You can Download it as well for we have created it as a PDF for you Do So Here or Click button below to Download!


Of course the assumption is you have made all the necessary researches, you have your Go-To Travel tools to make that trip Lit. Plus, you DO know of the best travel hacks some of which we share with you in our post on flight hacks?   Good….

Then, in today’s episode, we look at what you will be leaving behind at home if only for a few days. And why its important you make it a part of your travel lifestyle! 


Pre-Vacation Home Safety Checklist!


You want those motion sensor flood lights to work perfectly if a cat crossed the threshold. This will give the impression that someone s home even if the king/queen of the castle and squad are away!

So, if you haven’t had that bulb changed in a while, now is your chance to get a new one so there is no chance if the old darling blowing in your absence and not scare opportunistic unwanted guests away!

It’s easy to program your exterior lights with a timer switch so they come on while you’re away. I highly recommend this if your trip is longer than 2 nights away!

Pre-travel Home Checklist - Motion Sensor Lights




You want it to look like someone is home while you are away. This again helps keep away opportunistic nasties!

You can do this by programming your interiors lights on timers. We literally bought a couple of plugin manual timers for single table lamps from B&Q.

Other people have smart products like smart lights. They can set via their mobile phones from anywhere in the world. Or have that nice neighbour or friend/family do for you while you are away!

We have a friend with such digital smart lights. She schedules them to come on automatically at a certain time before she gets home, esp. on a winter day. And when she is away on a trip! 

DO NOT Forget your security system, let that friend/family know and give them the number they need to call in case the alarm goes off in your absence. We have done this or our neighbours a couple of times. Their alarm makes such a racket that you cannot do anything until its turned off, if you are at home.

You want it to look like someone is home while you are away.Click To Tweet


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If you’re going on a shopping trip or might spend WAY more than normal. You need to notify your bank and/or credit card company!

Some banks have in place systems to lock your account if they notice activity on your account outside of your standard patterns! More so if they notice international activity! To help yourself you can put a spending limit on say your credit card!

Downside is if you get an emergency and need more money with a limit I place!




If you don’t have a good neighbour who can check your mail and make sure it’s not on public display. (Very common in UK homes with glass doors and porches.) Then have your mail held by the postal delivery service (Royal Mail in UK.)

If you have milk or other things delivered, cancel for your vacation duration! Give them ample notice so you don’t get landed with a hefty fine for a temporary cancellation. Read the small print!  

Full milk bottles sat outside for days scream, “empty house”. 

Full milk bottles sat outside for days scream, “empty house”.Click To Tweet



Okay I am paranoid about somethings and a clean home speaks lots about its owner, the exterior is PART of your home! Cut the grass, empty your bins and garbage cans. In the same way clear any leaves and shovel your yards so your home looks lived in even if you are away!

Of course, depending on the season!

Put away your bikes, ladders, and anything that could be used to get over your wall or into your home in your absence or even if you were at home!

Plus, if you leave your bin full of kitchen waste you may attract other visitors like rats, ants, flies etc. depending on your home location! 

Be sure to consume or dispose of all perishable foods. Or give them away to your friends/family/neighbour or hey will rot and leave your home stinky for days.

Plus, you don’t want to create a “petri dish of a home” and catch some salmonella! If you live in a hot country be sure flies will have a party and have bug babies in your home if you leave perishables on show!




This sounds like common sense, yet lots of people don’t do it. We hope you have a close friend or good neighbour you can alert of your trip and absence.

Do ask them to occasionally check on your house to make sure things are okay. Imagine recently it’s been snowing in UK and if we were away, there would be no footmarks to or from our door. Well apart from maybe the post man.

So, how about that nice neighbour, walks to your door and off to leave some foot marks in the snow, and give a lived-in appearance! Plus of course take the mail in or move it out of view of any peeping toms!




I hope you don’t abandon your animals by their lonesome unless it’s a cat and you left it lots of food. Even then take it a cat loving friend or neighbour or ask them to keep an eye on it. If you have no other choice and are away for 1-3 days, you can leave the cat it will be fine. If you do, consider programming your thermostat for a lower/higher temp to save on some electricity. (Depends on season.)

And to save on more energy, if you have a water heater, turn it down or even off.



Assuming you do this, not because you are going away for some R&R, rather because its the smart thing to do! But if you haven’t, now is as good a time as any!

In some cases, this is unnecessary esp. of you live in a gated community with CCTV. But in some parts of the world even in UK you may need security cameras. You can also set up Dud cameras on say your outhouse.

Security cameras give you a sense of well being! If you have them set both on the exterior and interior of your home, you get to keep an eye on your home, even while away!

Of course, fake cameras also work in keeping the cowardly thief away!




Be sure to do a walk-through of your home from top to bottom before you depart for a trip! Double check all windows and doors esp. bathroom windows!  


Be sure to do a walk-through of your home from top to bottom before you departClick To Tweet



So, did you have dinner or breakfast before your departure? Then make time to wash up, clear the sink and put away the dishes.

Again, you don’t want your sink becoming a pseudo penicillin lab. The smell when the food putrefies on your dishes or even moulds you won’t like! Nor do you want to find dried food on dishes. Yikes!




Every appliance left plugged in a socket continues to use a drip of electricity even while not in use. Like the TV, lamps, cooker, radios etc. So, it’s advisable that you unplug all appliances in case of storms or power surges.

Apart from the Fridge freezer. If you emptied and defrosted it for a rest while away switch it off and unplug it it’s not directly wired in.

Set it on Holiday mode, Our Fridge freezer has this option and we do this for short get aways and we defrost it completely if we are away for 10+ days!  


Pro Tip: A bonus idea I learnt from a nurse friend: Put a frozen bowl/cup of ice cubes or freeze water a couple of days before in the freezer. Put a coin on top of the ice.

When you return home check if the coin is still on top. If it is, then all is well. If it’s sunk, you lost electricity at some point and probably need to throw out your food. Esp. the meats and fish!




If you live in Russia or any other country with strong winters, do whatever is necessary to winterize pipes while you’re gone. You don’t want to come home and find a busted pipe like we did. You can read about that here!

Your Essential Pre-Travel Home Checklist - Winterize your Pipes #pretravelhomecheck

For instance, do ensure you have set your heating thermostat to come on even if briefly and warm those pipes.

We forgot this rule of thumb and our whole home was destroyed in the winter of 2009. We went through the most challenging time in our lives and exposed our children to homelessness! It took 14 months to have it rebuilt fully.

The whole interior was gutted and rebuilt! Which brings me to this MUST DO Before you travel, in fact as soon as you have a home you are financially responsible for…



If God forbid something happened to your home while you are away, you need to have the right Insurance cover. Bad things do happen to good people, so it’s always safer to be covered than sorry and out of pocket! e.g.

  • A break in
  • A flood
  • A storm
  • Fire,
  • Electrical short circuit or Power surge – And you lose £2-300 worth of food etc.

Plus, home insurance is not just for when you are away, but for always. You need that peace of mind. Talking of insurance…




If you will have more than 2 trips in a 12-month period, take out an annual travel insurance and better still make that a family insurance if you are a family man/woman. It is way cheaper than you imagine. Our last one cost £47 for a family of 4 for 12 months!

Most people forget that even a Road trip for pleasure or even business is “Travel” and you can claim if you have any calamity befall you… (Depending on the cover details).

We hope this checklist and ideas will help you prepare your home for your vacations and trips. Every little helps so, give yourself peace of mind, and you will find your home welcoming and safe when you get back!

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So do you reckon I have left out any Item to do at home before you travel? Well lets hear it so we can add it to this Pre-travel Checklist!  And if you did get value, go ahead and Share this on Facebook…If you loved it. 

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Julie Syl Kalungi


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  1. Ruthie Ridley

    This is an awesome list!!! I always forget to notify our neighbors!! Big deal right there.

  2. This list is going to save some people a lot of time and money. I am saving this list for sure!

  3. Rosey

    I like that you went deep for your checklist. There are so many things to do, and some we just don’t remember if we don’t plan ahead thoroughly.

  4. Hi Julie,

    Super tip about notifying a friend. Or fam member, at the least. Have people aware and around to keep an eye on things. Or hire a house sitting duo like Ryan and Kelli 😉 Really though it makes sense to have someone at least aware of you hitting the road to stop in here and there for monitoring things. Just plain makes sense.


  5. Such great tips. Sometimes you forget to secure your home before heading out on vacation.

  6. We are traveling next week so this is so timely! Thank you for these great suggestions.

  7. it’s definitely important to make sure your home will be safe while you’re gone!

  8. Lisa Rios

    These are great tips! When we go away for an extended time we always make sure to be safe and keep our home covered.

  9. This is an incredibly helpful list, thank you!

  10. Great list, Julie! Everything on this list (except winterizing pipes and setting the thermostat) is exactly what I do before we travel abroad.

  11. This is an awesome list – great awareness (and action) tips! I especially love the pro tip of the coin in the freezer. It’s genius! Bookmarking for our next travel journey 👍🏼💗

    • It sure is Evelyn, so unique. I was like what I will do it anyway whether w e are traveling or not. I get to know if the fridge freezer went off at one time while we slept or were out 🙂

  12. Elizabeth O

    This is great advice. Many people will get a lot of great tips from this post that I am sure they may of forgotten to do before travelling.

  13. This is really helpful. My family and I don’t travel that much but we always unplug everything and this are prepared if anything happens.

  14. Kelly Edgar

    A pre travel list is a very good idea. There is always something that I forget to do before I leave. I will use this advice for my next travel adventure 🙂

  15. I read this just in time! I’m heading out to Kerala, India this coming Friday and will have to do all of these things prior to taking off on my flight. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  16. I will be graduating from University in a few months, and my husband and I are hoping to take a trip to celebrate before I start working. I’ll have to test out your checklist and see if it helps us out!

    • Hey Josie,

      this is not only a Pre-Travel Home Checklist, its a Home Safety checklist for a New Home owner when they are going out for the day 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

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