Traveling: leaving the house checklist


Do you ever get halfway to where you are going and wonder if you locked the door – or more scary, if the stove is off? Or heard a horror story from someone who arrived home from a trip to find their entire freezer of expensive meat defrosted?

I have a checklist for leaving the house for a trip, and it helps me remember to check all of those things and more. If you’re just going overnight, you might not need to change your thermostat or check your refrigerator for food that will spoil, but if you are leaving for a two week trip, you would! The things for longer trips are at the bottom of the list.

  • Be sure everything you packed made it to the car as you go (we left behind the toys we packed for a week-long cross country trip once. They were sitting nicely in the hallway, ready to go…)
  • Wash any dishes and wipe down table and counter – no open invitation for ants!
  • Check the oven and stove: off
  • Check the refrigerator / freezer: closed
  • Be sure appliances are off: washer, dryer, or dishwasher – just in case
  • Flush the toilets (anything that sits will be really gross when you get back!)
  • Do one last run through the house for lights and to check doors and windows
  • Freeze or throw away any food that will spoil while you are gone
  • Take out the trash from the kitchen at least (and work out curbside arrangements if it will be needed)
  • Change the programmable thermostat to save energy and money
  • Unplug or switch off any computers / electronics you are leaving behind
  • Set timers to turn on and off lights if you like
  • Be sure your mail, newspaper, and packages are taken care of: a slot to put them in, neighbor to check for packages, or hold your mail (file a USPS vacation mail hold here)
  • Be sure you have bills paid (if it’s online, it’s easy, but if you still pay with a check, be sure you plan ahead)
  • Lock the door mindfully

I usually do most of these things and then get the kids out to the car with dh so I can do a final run-through without worrying that someone small is trailing behind and undoing what I just checked. 😉

And you’re off, worry free!

For more traveling organization check out the traveling with kids series. If you missed it, here are the links for the traveling with kids series. Check out part 1 (airplane travel), part 2 (your in-vehicle bag), part 3 (packing), part 4 (while you’re gone and making unpacking easy), part 5 (safety), and part 6 (away for Shabbat).


About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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