Road Trip & Long Vacation Preparation Checklist

Best Road Trip Prep Checklist

Nothing can ruin a vacation than having something happen to your home, finances, or pets while you are away. The best way to prevent this situation is with careful planning. A checklist of things that you must do before you leave is a great idea. At the bottom of this post, there is a sample checklist of things to do before you head out on your fun vacation or road trip.

Lock All Doors & Windows

You may have remembered to lock the doors, but are the windows locked? That would make it really easy for someone to break in, especially on ground levels. Other doors you may have forgotten about are barn/garage doors, cellar doors, and in-law apartment doors. Check all of these!

Get a Housesitter

Maintaining the illusion of presence in the home while you are away is one of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your home.

One of the things burglars look for while scoping for potential break-ins is activity. If the TV is going, someone is home, the house looks occupied, cars are in the driveway…this is a huge deterrent to a thief. A house sitter will fulfill all of these needs. Ask someone you know, and they’re likely to do it for free…you’re much better off having house guests eat some of your frozen pizza than have a burglar come in because the house was vacant!

Automatic Light Timers

Automatic light timers placed strategically throughout the house can maintain that illusion of the house being occupied that you want to portray. Light timers can be purchased everywhere from grocery stores to hardware stores and are simple to operate. Some suggested places to use them would be the kitchen, bedroom, and living room areas–placed that thieves know are occupied during certain times of day. Start the lights before the sun goes down just to be on the safe side, and have them turn off when you would normally go to bed.

Light Sensors

Backyard and front yard light sensors are a huge deterrent. Nothing ruins a burglar’s cover like bright light and exposure. Installing light sensors might be just the thing to stop prowlers in their tracks.

Pet Care/Lodging

You’ll want to arrange this far in advance since pet lodging is becoming more prevalent, places fill up quickly! Often you can board your pets safely at the local vet’s office. If you find this type of service, not your thing, ask a friend or neighbor to check up on your cat, or if you have a dog, to take the dog in exchange for cash, or returning the favor.

Many hotels now allow pets to stay for free…check Pets Welcome for a list of hotels that do allow pets.

Fill Bird Feeder

Now, this might be an odd item to place on this list, but think about it! An empty bird feeder says “we’re not home!

Whether the feeder is empty from neglect, you ran out of seed, or you’re not home, it’s just one extra hint the thief might catch on to and reassure him that the home is a good target.

Discontinue Paper Service

That paper on the front stoop has been sitting there for a week…along with 5 other newspapers! Everyone knows you’re not home. Why not have someone take it in, or discontinue the service for a week?

Clean & Dust the House

While it may not seem that important, coming home to a clean house is. The last thing you’ll want to do when you get home is clean, or have the thought of cleaning on your mind while your on vacation.

Prepay your Bills

Prepaying your bills is a necessity if you’re going on a road trip or long vacation. If you bring a laptop, you can pay your bills while you’re on the trip using a secure internet connection, or you can just mail your seperate payments in early.

Take out the Trash

There’s nothing smellier than coming home to rancid trash inside the house…and that smell will be hard to get rid of. Take out all of your trash barrels and bags before you leave, and don’t forget the ones in the garage!

Get Reading Material for the Trip

Plane rides, train rides, and long car trips can take quite some time. Be sure to bring things to occupy your time. Now would be a great time to purchase that brainless book that might enthrall you for hours.

Shut off Power Strips

Electrical power strips save you cash by eliminating the unnecessary flow of energy to your appliances and electronic equipment while they are not in use. This will especially add up while you are away on vacation! One more thing: get one with surge protection. These will help reduce power surges that might overload your computer and other electronics from thunderstorms and other electric disturbances.

Turn on the House Alarm

You have one, why not use it? This should be the very last thing on your checklist of things to do before you leave for vacation.

A Quick Checklist of Everything Discussed Here…

  1. Lock all doors & windows
  2. Have someone else check up on your residence
  3. Discontinue paper and mail services
  4. Automatic light timers
  5. Light sensors for front/back of the home
  6. Water plants
  7. Arrange pet care
  8. Fill bird feeders
  9. Mow lawn, maintain the property before leaving
  10. Clean and dust house
  11. Clean refrigerator of old food, use it up beforehand
  12. Take out the last bag of trash before leaving
  13. Prepay bills, make sure all bills will be paid while gone
  14. Get cash for the trip
  15. Get reading material for the plane, car or hotels for you and everyone else
  16. Tune-up the car, check fluids, get an oil change
  17. Shut off power to any unnecessary items. Unplug and use power strips.
  18. Shut off water
  19. House alarm on, alarm clock off, drapes closed.
  20. You’re ready to go!

Did we forget something for the checklist? Leave it in the comment below!

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