Preparing Your House Before Traveling During Hurricane Season

During hurricane season, June 1 to November 1, some people consider whether or not their vacation will be affected by a hurricane. We consider this as well but instead of wondering if a hurricane will disrupt our cruise or our beach trip, we worry about the possibility of having to race home ahead of a hurricane to take care of our house.

If you live in a hurricane zone, you know what I am talking about. We watch the Weather Channel on a 24 hour loop wondering if the hurricane is going to turn and head straight towards us. After going through Hurricane Ivan with a four week old, we make sure that we are prepared each year.  This also includes preparing our house when we travel out of town in case a hurricane is making its way that direction. Many of these tips work for most possible natural disasters or additional man-made issues.

  1. Before you go out of town, put a cup of water in each of your freezers and allow it to freeze. Put a freezer safe object (like a penny) on top of the ice and put the cup back in your freezer. If you lose power, the ice will begin to melt. Should your power go back on, you will see the item frozen in a new location and this will clue you in as to how safe your food is to eat.
  2. Bring in all of your outside toys. Right now, my backyard looks like a hurricane blew though it but it is really just my children’s mess. Some of those toys have the potential to become weapons in 75 mph winds.
  3. Secure the lawn furniture. This is something we are awful about. During one trip a few years ago, we had to have my mom go to our house and secure our furniture before the storm hit. We now try to remember to throw it in the shed or at least bring it close to the house.
  4. Do all the laundry. I am normally doing laundry right before a trip just to fill a suitcase but during hurricane months I try to keep up with the laundry so everything is clean when we go out of town. This ensures that we will have clean clothes even if we return to a house with no power.
  5. Let someone you trust know that you are going out of town so that he or she can be on standby. In some cases, your utilities will need to be turned off and it will be nice to have a friend at the ready. If you decide to stay away from your house, you will also want to have someone ready to check on your house in case you need to call the insurance company.
  6. Take a walk through your house with a video camera. Hurricane insurance is a tricky thing to deal with (trust us, we know!) and you will want proof of your belongings. Make sure that you have the time and date stamp turned on. Be sure to get close-ups of anything important to you like jewelry or antiques.
  7. Take stock of your hurricane stock. Do you need to go shopping for batteries or canned goods? If you are traveling in your car, you will be able to load up on supplies before you get back in town. If you are trying to beat the storm, you may not have time to get supplies or the stores may already be out. Making sure you are stocked up on supplies like water and canned goods before you go on vacation will alleviate some stress.
  8. If you are leaving a car at home while on vacation, make sure that the gas tank is full. If the pumps are down for several days or week, you will be glad you thought to fill the tank before you went out of town

Photo Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory via Flickr Creative Commons


  1. 1

    I’m glad hurricanes aren’t something we have to worry about in Utah. However, Salt Lake City is near a fault line and we are waiting for the “big one!” It’s a good idea to be prepared, no matter where you live.

  2. 2

    Wow, I can’t imagine going through a hurricane with a four-week-old! Even though we don’t have hurricanes here in Utah, I’m definitely noting down many of your tips for use when traveling during winter, when severe snowstorms can knock the power out for a couple of days. The “penny on top of frozen water” trick is genius!

  3. 3

    Excellent advice! I grew up in a hurricane zone, and both my parents and in-laws still live there. I’ve had to do hurricane prep many times, especially now that my in-laws are getting older. The frozen penny tip is great! I’ve never heard that one.

    In Malaysia where I’m currently living, we lose power a lot, and it doesn’t automatically come back on. We have to actually flip the breaker. So, we make sure that the fridge is empty of all “stinky if spoiled” foods before we leave on vacation. I’m always so happy when I return home and the power light is still on.

  4. 4

    Wow! I had never thought about what it might be like to need to prepare for that kind of natural disaster. Great tips and hopefully I will never need them.:)

  5. 5

    I’m the same – don’t live near hurricanes but these are great tips for going away on any trip!!

  6. 6

    Great tips! I Grew up in Florida, and this is so so important. You have to keep your home safe! It would be awful to have to be away when a hurricane comes and you didn’t prep for it.