So you’re taking off on a big trip? Good for you. Studies have shown that vacations are good for your health, but now you have to figure out what to do about watering your beloved plants. The good news is that it’s perfectly fine to leave plants on their own while you’re away. It just takes a little planning and forethought.

Well-watered houseplants will last for days, even a week, on their own. If you’re heading out for a short time, give them a final drink just before you leave and move them out of sunny windows or hot rooms. Outdoor plants will dry out faster, so give them a soaking before moving them into a cool garage or laundry room to slow down their water use.

Find an educated neighbor.

If you have a plant-savvy friend who can come over a couple times a week while you are away, in exchange for your doing the same in return, that’s ideal. Even a careful non-plant-savvy person will work in a pinch if you do a little pre-travel planning. For a few weeks before you leave, keep track of how much water each plant tends to need and how often, and then leave specific instructions: “Give this plant ½ cup of water every weekend.”

Help your friend out by grouping plants with similar watering needs together on a waterproof floor and out of direct sun. Remember, your house may get warmer while you are away in the summer, so adjust care instructions to account for faster water use.