We are getting ready to leave for vacation to visit my mother-in-law out of state.
I love vacations and taking time away to bond with our family. But it seems like the older I get and more responsibilities (more kids) I have, the more work goes into actually getting ready for vacation than I remember. Gone are the days of just packing a bag and jumping in the car!
This is a list of everything I do to get ready for vacation. Hopefully this can help someone out.
- The day before I leave, I go into the Post Office and have them hold my mail until I get back. It is a quick form that tells them what day you are leaving and what day you are returning. That way my mail isn’t just piling up, making my mail box and home a prime target for criminals.
- Make sure any hotel reservations, tickets, or itinerary’s are in your bag. We are going to stay with family this time, but once we had to turn around almost an hour from home because we forgot our tickets. Definitely don’t want a repeat of that!
- If you will be driving, check your cars fluid levels and take it in for an oil change and tire rotation, if needed. Fill up the gas tank the day before so you don’t have to stop right away.
- Check the weather report for the days you will be in your destination. Just because the weather is one way where you live, doesn’t mean it will be the same where you are going. This is especially true if you are travelling more than a few hours away. You will want to be sure to pack weather appropriate clothing and gear.
- This is how I pack my kids clothes: I lay out outfits for each day we will be gone, including underwear and socks. That way I can see that every day is taken care of. I usually throw in a few extra underwear as well, especially for the younger kids. Don’t forget shoes! And I always pack at least one “weird weather” outfit, like a sweater when it is supposed to be hot or bathing suit even if it’s supposed to be cold. You never know what can happen, and I don’t want to be unprepared. (If you are going somewhere that you know you will have access to a washer and dryer and time to do laundry, you can probably cut the packing in half and then do a wash midway through your vacation.) Bring a big garbage bag to put dirty clothes in!
- I like to wash all my sheets and make the bed before we leave. (If we are leaving super early in the morning, I just do the sheets the night before.) When we get home, I have all kinds of bags to unpack and laundry to wash, so it is nice to have a clean bed at least!
- Take out any garbage on your way out of the house. Especially the kitchen one! There is nothing worse than coming home to a stinky house and a garbage full of maggots. (Not that I would know from experience or anything. Ahem.)
- Clean out the fridge the day before and get rid of anything that will go bad while you are gone. See above for reasoning.
- Make sure there are no dishes in the sink.
- I pack each of my children’s backpacks full of crayons, coloring books, and car games-and we also bring our portable DVD player with a few movies. If the kids are bored, the trip will be long and annoying. Trust me on this one! Here is another post I wrote about keeping kids happy on road trips.
- Pack a small ice-chest full of water and any other drinks you want. Also bring enough snacks and sandwiches. Buying food on the road adds up very quickly. If you have sandwiches to hand everyone when they get hungry you will save lots of money, especially if you are a big family. (This is only for the drive. If you are taking food to eat during your vacation, you will obviously need a much bigger ice-chest.)
- Let at least one of your neighbors know you are leaving and when you will be returning, so that if they see anyone poking around your house they will know it’s not you and can call the authorities.
- Do a quick pick-up and sweep as you are heading out the door. It is super frustrating to come home to a messy house, but so refreshing to come home to a clean one!
- Have fun!
Are there any other ways that you prepare for a vacation? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!