You’re finally ready to leave and go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of for quite some time. Whether it’s all the way across the world, or just a short trip to the beach, you probably want to leave your space in a good state before you start your journey. Here’s a list of things to do before leaving home for vacation to make things as easy as possible.

15 Things to do Before Leaving Home For Vacation


  1. Deep clean. We know: nobody likes to clean. But a deep clean of your apartment tops our house checklist before vacation for a good reason. When your home’s clean, you’re able to focus and live with decreased stress levels. Planning for vacation can cause serious anxiety, so why not take advantage of this and do a little stress cleaning? Plus, periodic disinfecting can help remove harmful bacteria and allergens that accumulate in your home, allowing you to live healthier overall. You may as well use your trip as your motivation to do a deep clean.
  2. Empty fridge. Throw out that milk! Get rid of the three-month-old bag of cheese. Leaving for a trip is a good time to clean out your fridge—even the non-perishables. It’s the perfect time to clear out all of the jars in the door and the miscellaneous items that you’ve collected over the past few months (or years). 
  3. Take the trash out. Now that you’ve cleaned out the fridge, it’s time to take the trash out. Even if it’s just for a day trip, taking the trash out should still be at the top of your house checklist before a vacation. Nothing is worse than coming home from your vacation to a smelly, bug-infested home because you forgot to do this simple task.
  4. Wash and make your bed. Wash your sheets and make your bed. You’ll thank yourself later. If you’re arriving late at night or after a long day of traveling, you’ll be happy when you’re in a fresh set of sheets.
  5. Do laundry. You’re going to have laundry when you return, guaranteed. So, you may as well get ahead and wash all your dirty clothes before you leave. Plus, by doing your laundry before vacation, you’ll have a wardrobe full of clean options when you’re packing.

Pets and Plants

  1. Get a pet-sitter lined up or have someone to stop by. Make sure you have a pet-sitter or dog-walker lined up, no matter the length of your trip. Sites like Rover and Wag have made this process much easier today. You can read reviews, view certifications and more. Whatever you do, plan ahead, so you are able to find a sitter you trust.

Sometimes, cats are much easier. Leave out plenty of food and water for your feline friend, as well as extra litter boxes. Just know that every cat and dog is different, and some require more attention than others when their owner is gone, so keep that in mind as you plan. 

  1. Plants. Yes, plants require a ton of TLC, too. Whether you have an indoor jungle or a single succulent, make sure plants are on your list of things to do before leaving home for a vacation. If you’re going on an extended vacation, have a neighbor or friend come by to water them on their regular schedule. If your trip is a short one, just be sure to water them one last time before you hit the road.


  1. Program the thermostat. You might be tempted to turn off your heat or air conditioning while you’re gone, but we discourage that.  Do not turn off the AC or heat. In the winter, your pipes could freeze, burst, and flood your home if you don’t leave the heat on. In the summer, your drywall could crack if it’s too hot and humid. 

Instead, add 5 degrees to your normal temperature in the summer, and reduce your temperature 5 degrees in the winter. This way, you’ll reduce the risk of either a too hot or too cold home while keeping energy usage in check.

  1. Unplug electronics. Your electronics—like your TV, coffee maker and more—use electricity even if they’re not on. Unplug them to save money and electricity while you’re gone.
  2. Put timers on your lights. It’s a smart idea to avoid leaving your home in complete darkness while you’re gone, which makes it obvious that no one’s home. Consider using timers on some of your lamps to appear from the outside that someone’s home, even if you’re 1,000 miles away on the beach.
  3. (Winter only) Let the faucet drip, open the cabinets. In the winter, let your faucets drip a little bit and open cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom that surround the plumbing. This reduces the likelihood of pipes freezing (and potentially bursting) while you’re away.


  •  Hold your mail. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, have the USPS hold your mail. You can easily request this online up to anywhere from thirty days to 24 hours in advance.  
  • Turn off the ice maker. You don’t want a freezer overflowing with ice!
  • Lock windows and doors. The door is obvious, but it can be easy to forget to lock the windows. Even if they’re not on the ground floor, you should lock all of your windows. It’s small, but it’s still one of the most impactful and basic tips for leaving home for a vacation.
  1. Cook a meal and put it in the freezer. Lastly,  it may be a good idea to cook a meal and freeze it. You could be getting in too late to order food, and you’re not going to be in the mood to make dinner. Plans change and delays happen, so even if you planned well, you could be getting in late into the evening and appreciate the foresight of past you.

Find Your Base of Operations with SMC

When you live in the Washington, D.C. or Baltimore metro areas, you’ll want to take a vacation quite often with all the different things to do and see in the region. Whether you love the outdoors or city life, you’re close to so many destination spots that you’ll find yourself never wanting to miss out on an adventure. And now you know what to do and the best tips for leaving home for a vacation, so planning and prep work can be a breeze. 

Let Southern Management help you find the perfect place to live. We have a wide variety of apartment communities throughout Northern Virginia, Metro DC and Baltimore. If you’re moving to the Washington, D.C. area and are looking for a place to live, start by browsing Southern Management’s apartment communities in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Contact us with any questions about our apartments for rent. We can’t wait to welcome you home!