Summer vacation is finally here! The stress of planning a trip may be over, and the excitement of getting away is beginning to build … but … there is one box on your summer vacation checklist that you still need to check: closing up your house.

Pets + Plants

First and foremost, let’s protect the living things inside of your house — pets and plants.  Is your pet going to a daycare or kennel, or is someone coming to the house to check in on them? Make the pet care as easy as possible on the temporary caregiver, with explicit instructions regarding your pet’s meals, needs and routine. Plants, while easier to look after, may also require a caretaker. If that is the case, written instructions for plant care will assure a happy plant sitter, a happy plant and a happy homeowner. 


Do you have an alarm system? Of course, this should be armed while you are gone. If you have anyone who will be entering and leaving the house—make sure they have the code and know the protocol! The last thing you want on your vacation is a call from your alarm system operator and/or law enforcement. If you do not have an alarm system, double check that all doors and windows are locked and secure.

Kitchen + Appliances

Fresh food today will most likely not be fresh when you return! Either eat fresh fruit and vegetables now, share with a neighbor, or discard before leaving. You should also check expiration dates on things like milk, eggs, cheese, and anything that expires quickly. Unplug small appliances, and set your water heater to vacation mode (to save money on your energy bill).

 Keeping the House Cool

The battle of the thermostat. What temperature should a house be kept at while it’s empty? Set the thermostat to four degrees higher than you usually set for your house.  A hot and humid house can lead to issues with mildew or mold and even damage the sheetrock within your walls. If you are lucky enough to have a thermostat you can control remotely, you can keep the temperature higher for most of the day (up to 85 degrees) as long as you lower the temperature to 70 in the early morning hours (around sunrise) to remove moisture in the air.


Stop all newspapers and mail for the time while you are gone, or have a neighbor pick them up for you so your home does not look empty. If you have any packages expected to arrive during this time period, alert a neighbor or friend to pick them up, so it does not run the risk of being stolen. In addition, make sure all bills are paid that may be due during the time in which you are gone.

Making The House Look Lived In

Some people prefer to make their homes look lived in while they are gone. One of the easiest ways to do this is to put at least one light on a timer. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, and keep an eye on the house in general. What to take it a step further? Schedule someone to mow your lawn in order to keep it from looking overgrown.

House packed up? You’re ready to go! Now it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy your summer vacation. Don’t forget to share your favorite vacation photos with us on social media using the hashtag #moretimetolive.