The Basics

A Simple Tip for Your Frozen Foods While You Are Away

Written by Charlie

Here is a simple travel tip to know if your food has spoiled while you are away on your next trip! It can save you a lot of money and only takes a penny!

Chalk this one up to a simple tip that may not be for everyone but could help that person who has lost a freezer full of food before from an electric outage! 🙂

A Simple Tip for Your Frozen Foods While You Are Away

Over the last 8 years or so, the 3 homes we have lived in have all had issues with power outages. It wasn’t the houses but the locations we have lived in (high wind areas).

This meant that many times that we were out of town on trips, we would come back to find we lost power at some point during our trip. The problem was that we had not known how long we were without power.

A couple of times, we had to toss the contents of the freezer because we thought it could have been too long. That can be a big cost – especially if you don’t have to if the power was out for just a short time.

Well, fortunately, there is a cheap solution – as in a solution for a penny! 🙂 A friend told me about this a couple of years ago and we have used it with great results since then.

What To Do

Simply take a penny (or any coin) and put it on top of an ice cube in your freezer. That’s it! If you come home and find you lost power, just open the freezer to check the status of your penny!

If the penny is in the ice cube, it means the freezer warmed enough for the penny to drop. You can even tell how long it was like that based on how far the penny has sunk.

Yes, a very simple tip and one you may already know about but if you don’t, this is a nice solution to know if you need to toss your food when you get home and find the power was out.

Do you have any other tips for when you are away on trips?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • We’ve done this for a few years now. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure the ice is fresh. Ice shrinks over time and water from the melting ice can fill the gap created by the ice shrinking, thus the coin appears to be on top.

  • That works but sometimes our power drops for 15 minutes. Hate to toss all the food because we didn’t know how long it was out!

  • Never thought about that but not a bad idea. Now the reality is that i’d never remember to do that before leaving for a trip. How often does your power go out for more than 30 minutes? For me that would be once every few years, so hardly worth the fuss.

  • do not have a freezer -started to use when turned the heat off in summer home –

    how long the battery will last in freeze??r – unknown to me? – but easy to find out