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6 things you should do before you go on vacation

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Planning a vacation is exciting, but the preparation can sometimes be a little overwhelming. From managing mail delivery to ensuring safety at home, there are several steps you can take to make your time away more relaxing. Let’s look at some practical tips to help you prepare for your next vacation.


6 things you should do before you go on vacation

A woman carries packages (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Tip #1: Set up a vacation hold with the USPS

You can easily set up a holiday hold with the USPS so that your mail can be held at the post office while you are out of town. You can request it directly online from USPSand you can even View photos of your mail in your email before it arrives via USPS Informed Delivery.

6 things you should do before you go on vacation

A person uses the USPS app. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Tip #2: Set up a WiFi thermostat

If, like me, you live in a place where temperatures vary greatly depending on the time of day, a smart thermostat can make your life easier at home and on the go. With a WiFi thermostat, you can keep your home warmer or cooler several hours before you return from vacation. They also allow you to prepare for bad weather events that may occur at home while traveling, such as heatwaves or frost.

WiFi thermostats are cheaper than smart thermostats and only cool or heat the room according to your instructions. A smart thermostat can track your temperature settings and automatically adjust them for efficiency. If you need something for on the go, a WiFi thermostat is a cheaper solution.

6 things you should do before you go on vacation

A WiFi thermostat (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


Tip #3: Install security cameras outside your home

If you want peace of mind that your property is safe while you are away, consider installing security cameras around your home’s entrances and exits. We have a list of ours Here are the best tips to improve your home security.

6 things you should do before you go on vacation

A doorbell camera (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


Tip #4: Sign up for grocery delivery services

A wide selection of Food delivery apps are available to download for those moments when you need groceries quickly – be it after returning from vacation or during a trip. Almost every food delivery app allows you to customize your order, including the date and time of delivery.

Ordering food while on vacation is often cheaper than eating at the resort and can save you money. And return home with an empty refrigerator after a long absence? Ordering online ensures you have groceries to prepare dinner when you get home from vacation.

6 things you should do before you go on vacation

Groceries delivered to a person’s doorstep (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


Tip #5: Set up a security camera in your home

Setting up a security camera in your home will allow you to monitor activity and give you peace of mind. If you have pets at home, you can use this to search for them while you’re on the go. Leaving them in the care of others can be stressful, and with a camera you can ensure their well-being. I often travel with an inexpensive camera to view my vacation rental along the way. And I probably only feel comfortable using a camera at home when I’m out and about. As soon as I return it will be immediately removed from the interior as I am not a fan of using indoor cameras when I am at home.

6 things you should do before you go on vacation

A home security camera (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Tip #6: Create an auto-reply for emails in Gmail

If you use Gmail to manage your email, you can set an out-of-office reply for all emails you receive. This will inform anyone who sends you an email that you have received the message but cannot respond. As a tech journalist, I need to stay in touch with everyone, and auto-reply makes that easy. How to set up a vacation reply in Gmail.


  • Open Gmail
  • Click at the top right Settings
  • Click Show all settings
6 things you should do before you go on vacation

Steps to create an email auto-reply in Gmail (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

  • Scroll down to Holiday helper and turn it on
  • Fill this out Date ranges, Theme and that automatic reply message
  • Click at the bottom of the page save Changes
6 things you should do before you go on vacation

Steps to create an email auto-reply in Gmail (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Yahoo Mail

  • Log in to your Yahoo Mail Account
  • Click on that Gear icon (Settings) in the top right corner
  • Choose More settings
  • Select on the left Holiday reply
  • Switch At the switch next to it Enable vacation notification
  • Under “Show vacation feedback during these dates,” specify the following: Start and end dates for your holiday reply
  • Give her custom message to inform contacts that you are away
  • Click Save to activate the vacation notification


These Outlook instructions are based on the January 2024 Update for Microsoft 365 subscribers. If you notice any differences, be sure to check for additional updates or specific settings.

  • Open outlook
  • Click on file in the upper left corner
  • Choose Automatic replies
  • Check that one Send automatic replies Crate
  • Set that Date range for your holiday reply
  • Design yours Out of office message
  • Click OK to activate the automatic reply

AOL email

  • Log in to your AOL email Account
  • Click on Options (gear icon) in the top right corner
  • Choose More settings
  • Click Holiday reply
  • Switch At The Enable out-of-office notification switch
  • Choose Events for your answer
  • Give her individual holiday message
  • Click Save to activate the vacation notification


Bonus tip: Make your home look lived in

While security cameras and withholding your mail are a big deterrent, there are other ways to make your home look lived in while you’re away. Here are a few ideas:

  • Lights on a timer: Set with timer for some lights Smart light bulbs in your home to turn it on and off in the evening, mimicking your typical routine.
  • Car in the driveway: If you have a neighbor you trust, ask them to occasionally park your car in the driveway to make it look like someone is home.
  • Radio at low volume: Playing soft music or talking on the radio can create the illusion that someone is inside.
  • Pause deliveries: If you have any non-essential deliveries planned for your vacation beyond what we previously discussed with USPS, you should pause these to avoid boxes piling up at your door.

By following these tips, you can create the illusion of someone living in and deter potential burglars.

Kurt’s most important findings

Vacations are a great way to get away from work, relax and spend quality time with friends and family. However, they can also be a headache when you come home to find a pile of overflowing mail and emails and a house that’s too hot or too cold. These six tips that I use every time I go on vacation give me more peace of mind and help keep everything organized when I get home. Automatic response emails in particular have saved me a lot of stress.

Security concerns may vary by location. Have you ever had a close call or learned a valuable lesson about home safety while traveling? Let us know by writing to us

For more tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report newsletter at

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