Taking An Extended Trip? Prep Your Home For Long-Term Travel [Checklist]

It’s exciting to take an extended trip, especially after spending endless months at home. But before you fly the coop, make sure your home is prepared for your absence. Because there’s nothing worse than coming home from vacation to a disaster! Here is a long-term travel checklist that will help you safely leave home behind while you travel.

It’s important to prepare your home before you go away on an extended vacation.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an affiliate, I earn a small commission every time you make a qualifying purchase through one of my affiliate links (if applicable) at no additional cost to you.

CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about preparing your home for your long-term travel including:

Creating A Long-Term Travel Checklist

Even if you’re the most experienced long-term traveler, you will likely worry about your home from time to time when you’re away. More so if you live alone

There is either the threat of burglary to worry about or a thousand other worst-case scenarios. 

Most of the time, you may do your best to handle the basics like locking the doors and windows but still end up with sleepless nights of worry. 

So, are you planning for your next long vacation

Take the worry off your mind by checking off the following tips for a long term travel checklist that will help you prepare your home before leaving. 

1. Secure Your Home’s Perimeter

Fenced yard with white table and orange day lilies in bloom.
Any kind of fencing around your property deters unwelcome visitors.

If you live in a stand-alone home with your own walls, you need to ensure it is properly secured. From your front gate to your garden, you can find ways to keep an extra eye on any unexpected movement. 

You can rely on a trusted neighbor.

Or, you can look to technology to get the job done. Some home security cameras have long-life batteries and allow you to interact with visitors as thought you’re home.

The best situation is probably a combination of both.

If a wood fence surrounds your home, ensure that it is strong enough by conducting a thorough maintenance check on it. 

If you have a bare backyard garden or lawn, it is also best to secure it with a fence. Even a small fence can act as a deterrent to intruders, who are on the look-out for the easiest target.

Related Tip: Easy Native Plants That Will Thrive in Your Garden While You’re Away

2. Prevent Unwanted Access To Your Home

Brown door mat that reads, HOME. Letter O is replaced with a red heart.
Don’t hide your key under the doormat.

Next, you want to prevent any unwanted access to your home as part of your long-term travel checklist.

That means lock every door. 

You may think the main front door is the most important, and it is. 

But you need to doublecheck that every other door is locked, too. 

And, you want to make sure all your windows and your garage is locked down. 

Once you’ve done that, do not yield to the temptation to leave a key under the doormat or any other place in or around your home. They are obvious spots – burglars know all the common tricks! 

So if you must hide your keys outdoors, be stealthy about it.

You can again rely on your neighbors to keep an eye on your home while you’re away – another reason why you need to be nice to your neighbors. 🙂

You can also automate the lights by your front door to keep your front entrance well lit and deter thieves – and also to welcome you home. One low-cost way to do this is to replace your regular lightbulbs with these long-lasting, dusk-to-dawn outdoor lightbulbs. They are equipped with sensors so that when night falls, they go on. And when it’s dawn, they go off. It’s that easy!

If you want to read more important tips on keeping your home from getting burglarized, click here.

3. Clean Your House

Open floor plan living room with teal couches, red pillows, ottomans, and a coffee table arranged in a conversation area before a fireplace.
It’s wonderful to return from vacation to a clean house.

The last thing you want is to come home to a dirty and foul-smelling home after your trip. (Ugh!) “Re-entry” to your ordinary life after vacation can be hard enough without stepping into a stench.

So, take the time to clean everything in your home before you leave.

This task could sound ambitious since you already have packing lists and transportation to arrange for your air travel or road trip.

You’ll be tempted to skip it and run off to your vacation.

It’s critical that you don’t leave it to deal with later.

Cleaning your house before your leave on vacation is time well-spent, and should be on your long-term travel checklist.

You may not have time to do a thorough deep cleaning process. But cleaning should not only be about tidying up. It also helps to keep things from going bad while keeping certain unwelcome guests like fruit flies and roaches from finding your perfect spots in your home.

So, that means before going on an extended trip, you should:

  • Empty out the refrigerator and fruit bowls
  • Seal pantry items from pests
  • Freeze anything you want to keep that might spoil
  • Leave no dishes in the sink
  • Remove wet laundry from the washing machine
  • Give your bathroom a quick swish
  • Sweep or vacuum your floors

It won’t take as long as you think and the payoff is huge.

This is also important in terms of what you want to come home to. For a real warm welcome, go the extra mile to put out super-fluffed towels, a clean bathrobe, and fresh bed sheets on your bed. 

You may have become accustomed to being pampered while away—so continue to treat yourself! 

Trust me, it will be hard enough coming home from a long-stay vacation, so be forward-thinking about your return. 

4. Have Someone Watch Over Your Home

4 small cacti in white pots on a windowsill
Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to occasionally water your plants while you’re away.

Even with your best efforts, sometimes the best way to feel at ease is to have someone you trust house-sit while you’re away. 

Even if the person may not be available to spend their nights in your home, they can come over and ensure that everything is in order. 

Plus, you do not need to give them access to every part of the house, just the areas that need attention. 

For example, if you have plants that require regular watering or a pet that needs feeding, this trusted person can handle them while you’re away. 

They can also check on your security systems and retrieve your mail.

Another alternative is to rent out your home while you’re away.

5. Schedule Your Welcome Home Dinner

Salmon with a mustard cream sauce, asparagus wrapped with carrot strips, french fries.
Think ahead to enjoying your first dinner home.

When you return home from an extended vacation, you’ll return to an empty refrigerator and sparse cupboard. 

Plus, it can take some time for your brain to adjust from vacation mode.

One of the best ways to transition back into everyday life is to schedule a meal delivery box to arrive on the day you return from vacation. 

That way, you’ll have a delicious and easy-to-make hot meal ready to prepare without having to think too much or make a stop yet another stop at the supermarket. 

Meal boxes deliver the exact amount of ingredients and easy recipes you can make for yourself. And, they include cold-packs so even if you’re late, they’ll stay cool.

In most cases, like with Martha & Marley Spoon, you can choose up to three satisfying meals for the week ahead, and even adjust the number of servings for company.

With this option, you can affordably savor your “vacation mode” a little longer.

Final Thoughts on Prepping Your Home for Long Term Travel

Now that you have a checklist to prepare your house for your extended vacation, you can let the real fun begin. So, sit back, relax, and bring on the vacation time! Rest assured, your house will be safe and sound and ready to welcome you home when your long stay trip is over.

If you’ll be leaving your elderly parents while you travel, read these tips next to ensure they are well cared for.



Photo credits: Duffle Bag – Free-Photos, Backyard Garden – Q K, Clean House – programmingibc, Cacti – Ty Johnson, Salmon Dinner – Wow Phochiangrak (Pixabay); Doormat – Kelly Lacy (Pexels)

This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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