The Basics

A Simple Tip to Know if Your Food Spoils While on Vacation

Written by Charlie

No one likes to come home from vacation and find a refrigerator/freezer full of spoiled food from a power outage! Here is a cheap trip to find out if you have to throw it all out!

You go on a great vacation, you have a wonderful time – and then you get back home and find your clocks blinking. That is a sure sign that you have lost power. The problem is, for how long was your power out? If it just blinked out and then back on, you are all set. But, if it was out for a lot longer than that, you may have a lot of spoiled food on your hands.

A Simple Tip to Know if Your Food Spoils While You Are Gone on Vacation

How do you know if you have to dump all your food and go shopping or if you are all set because the power outage was a minimal one? Fortunately, there is a simple tip that can help you know (in an old-school way!) if your power was out too long.

Over the last 10 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 may 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 refrigerator and 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! You will want to make sure the ice is fresh before you put the penny on top since it can shrink over time!

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.

Now, you can file this one with other useful tips like taking a picture of your oven and stove before you leave so you know you had shut them off!

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

Featured image is an Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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.