Information provided by AAA’s preferred partner, Mapfre Insurance

Nothing can ruin the relaxation of a vacation as quickly as a call from the alarm company or returning to a pool of water in the kitchen. In these cases, the best protection is prevention. The steps on this home vacation checklist will help ensure your home is prepared and protected while you’re away.

Whether you have an international escapade planned, or a cozy cabin retreat on the calendar, learn what to do when you leave your house for vacation with this pre-vacation home checklist.

1. Throw Out Trash

This goes without saying, but make sure any perishable items in your fridge are thrown out before you leave for vacation. Don’t forget to take out the trash before you go as well.

2. Turn Your Lights On A Timer

Set your lights to turn on at a certain time using a timer so your home looks lived-in even if no one is home. If you have a motion-activated floodlight outsider, make sure it’s working properly before you go.

3. Water Plants & Plan For Pets

Make sure you’ve watered your plants prior to leaving. If your pets are staying home, make sure that a plan is set for each pet’s safe care.

4. Set The Temperature

You don’t need to shut your AC off or crank the heat, but align your thermostat or air conditioning more closely with the outside temperature while maintaining comfortable indoor temps for your pets and plants.

5. Schedule Outdoor Maintenance

If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, plan ahead for someone to take care of the lawn or snow. Otherwise, an uncared for landscape is a sure sign no one is home. And anyone who needs to get on the property while you’re gone (for an oil refill for example) will thank you!

6. Turn Off Water Supply

Shut off your main water supply or close the valves to all sinks, washing machines and toilets so that you don’t return to any unforeseen spills or leaks. While you’re at it, unplug any small devices that don’t require electricity while you’re gone.

7. Park Car With Care

If you’re not going on a roadtrip or car-camping, make sure you store your car away from any potential hazards. If you have a garage, park your car inside so it’s less vulnerable to theft or damage from the weather. If you don’t have a garage, make sure your car insurance has you covered in the case of the unforeseen, like falling branches or theft.

8. Manage Mail

Have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up your mail. You can also call the post office and stop mail delivery while you’re away. If you’re extra lucky and you’re going on vacation for a handful of weeks or longer, consider having your mail forwarded to your destination.

9. Alert Alarm Company

If you have an alarm system installed at home, let your company know beforehand that you’ll be on vacation. With enough notice, you can even change who they alert in case of an emergency. That way if anything does happen, someone who you trust and is local can respond.

10. Lock Doors & Windows

Last but not least, shut and lock all of the windows. And on your way out, lock the doors. Now go and enjoy your vacation!

AAA Can Help!

For peace of mind, run through this home checklist before vacation. Despite these precautions, even the most prepared homeowners still can’t anticipate everything. Sometimes the unexpected happens. For instances like this, there’s homeowners insurance.