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Before you go-go: pre-holiday home checklist

A summer holiday is for most of us a rare chance to relax and enjoy time out from our busy lives, often spending time with our beloved family and friends.

However, getting away can be a bit stressful if you’re worried about everything you need to do before you can leave your home for a week or more.

Here’s a checklist to help you achieve peace of mind, essential for getting your holiday off on the right foot. Once you’ve ticked all the boxes, you need only concern yourself with whether you’re going for a margarita or a mai-tai first!

For going away

Essential documents

This seems obvious, but most people know someone (or have been there themselves!) who has forgotten plane tickets, a passport, etc. Gather up all the documents for the family and put them in one folder. The night before you travel, put this folder at the front door so that you cannot leave without it!

Be sure to note down important details from your documents, for example passport numbers, so that if anything does go missing, you’re in a better position to get it sorted out fast.

Don’t drive yourself crazy

Driving holiday? While a Sat-Nav can help you get from A to B, it’s best to have a printed route map too, in case of any technical issues. Check the traffic report in the morning so that you can avoid a long diversion or, even worse, a missed check-in slot!

Leaving the car at the airport? Pre-booked airport parking and car hire will save you money and help take the stress out of departure and arrival.

Money, money, money

Cheapest rates for travel money are online, and you can arrange for currencies to be collected in person or delivered to your home in advance of your departure.

If you’re planning to use the plastic abroad, get yourself a ‘prepaid’ credit card specifically designed for overseas usage with lower or no fees than your own bank card.

Also, tell your bank before you go abroad, because overseas activity can cause it to become suspicious of fraudulent activity and – without warning – your card could be stopped, pending further investigation.

Looking after the house

Sort out pet care

Organise care for the furriest family members in advance of going away. Speak to pet loving friends and get kennel recommendations or ask a family member to care for them in your absence. They will miss you terribly while you’re away so it’s important they are safe and happy.


You may have items that regularly arrive at the house. If things are left outside, it will alert undesirables to your absence. Things to consider cancelling or redirecting during holidays are:

  • Newspapers
  • Milk
  • Subscription boxes
  • Online orders. Consider using Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service. For a small payment, it will hold your mail for up to two months.

Shutting the house down

Turn off the heating. However, if you’re taking a winter break, consider leaving it on occasionally so the pipes don’t freeze and burst. Programmable thermostats, like Nest, can be controlled from your smartphone too, meaning you’ll always be in control wherever you are.

Turn off all non-essential electrical outlets, too. The dishwasher, TVs, alarm clocks and washing machines are often forgotten in the pre-holiday chaos.

Water all the plants or ask a neighbour to pop in and do it for you if you’re going away for a week or more.

Make your home secure

About 60% of burglaries occur when there’s nobody home so you must take home security seriously. There are several things you can do to avoid returning home to a devastating incident.

Lock it up

The front and back doors need to be locked, but if you have any of the following, make sure they are locked, too:

  • Garden and DIY tools that could be used to break into your home;
  • Garden/back gate;
  • Garage;
  • All windows.

Remove keys from all locks and put them in the safe or hide them, and remove all items of value in view from your window sills and car.

Make sure the house alarm are set if you have one, and don’t advertise to passers-by that you’re not home, i.e. by shutting all the curtains, just make it look ‘normal’. Social media is a common way for thieves to find out you’re on holiday so check your security settings too.

If you are burgled on holiday and you haven’t secured your home properly, your insurance could be deemed invalid – so be extra vigilant.

On your return

When returning from a holiday, you want to ease back into normal life rather than jump straight back into housework, so clean the house before you go away. That way, you can flop straight onto the couch and commiserate over the miserable weather as you look at holiday snaps.

Before you jet away, clear out the fridge and empty the bins. The smell of rotting food will pull you right out of your holiday glow.

Once home, you’re still on holiday time until after you’ve eaten your first meal, so you needn’t feel guilty ordering a takeaway to enjoy after you unpack! However, if you’re trying to claw back some holiday money or enjoy a healthy meal after weeks of excess, freeze a meal for your return so you have something easy and quick available for you when you walk through the door.

The more you do to prepare for a secure home and comfortable return, the more you’ll enjoy your holiday! Cover all of your bases, and have a fabulous time!

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