1. Tidy up the house before you leave. When you have a great vacation coming back to reality is a drag, when you walk back into your house and its a mess, you ruin your vacation buzz. Spend an hour on light housework, you'll be so happy when you come home to a clean and tidy home.
2. Run the dishwasher the night before, you'll be thankful things are clean and useable when you get home.
3. Do laundry, fold it and put it away. When you get home you are going to have a lot of dirty laundry, no point coming home to tons of dirty laundry too.
4. Go through the refrigerator throw out any perishables. Check expiration dates to see if the item will go bad while you are away. Throw out your fruit, leftovers, and then put the garbage outside so your house wont smell.
5. Stop your mail from coming to your house, its an easy call to the post office, but it wont give any signals to the bad guys that you aren't home. Its a good idea to just let the next door neighbors know you will be gone too, they'll keep an eye on the house if they know you aren't there.
6. Dont order anything a week before you leave, there's no sense in a ups package sitting on your doorstep. So before you go away, just think about when you are ordering. You can also pay for rush delivery, or let a neighbor know and ask them to bring it into their house until you return.
7. Water your flowers right before you go, especially depending on the weather and time of year. But there is no point spending all that money on potted flowers to have them die when you go on vacation.
8. Have a list of last minute items that go into the suitcase, read it right before you go to make sure everything is in your there.
9. Keep some lights on. Its a good idea to keep some lights on in the house while you are away. I like to try to keep one on in the front of the house, and one on in the back. If you have automatic timed lights, even better!
10. Stock your refrigerator and cabinets up with things you'll need when you get home, but that wont perish. For our family that's things like cereal bars, soda, water, fruit cups, soup. The last thing you'll want to do is go grocery shopping as soon as you get home.
I'm sure there are many more tips, but I thought these were a great place to start. Hope its helpful, and if you have any other helpful tips, I'd love to hear about it in the comment section!