Here in the South, the school year is coming to a close which means summer travel is in the near future for many. May these helpful tips lead to stress-free, more enjoyable vacations.
Perfect vacations rarely happen without some thoughtful planning. While not always as exciting as a spur-of-the-moment getaway, a well-thought-out trip may be less likely to deliver stress and frustration. Whether you’re in the early planning stages or just days away from your summer travel, gather these items so they’re at your fingertips when you need them.
- Your travel agent’s phone number and email address, if applicable
- Airline reservation information, plus phone numbers and website addresses (to check in online or verify on-time status)
- Car rental agency phone numbers, coupons, and confirmation numbers
- Hotel phone and confirmation numbers
- List of interesting places to visit on the way or upon arrival at your destination (museums, state parks, theme parks, historic sites, etc.)
- Complete itinerary of your trip
Also, to keep your home tidy in the days or weeks leading up to the trip, dedicate one central location (such as a laundry basket tucked away in a closet or a suitcase stashed in the laundry room). As you encounter things that must be packed, toss them in and forget about them until packing day.
PACK IT UP
How — and how much — you pack can greatly impact your comfort level while on vacation. Follow these tips as you pack for your summer travel.
- Pack light. When in doubt, leave it out! Adopt a European standard for fashion by wearing your favorite things multiple times while on vacation. You can hand-wash in the hotel sink if necessary. No one ever wishes they had brought more stuff on vacation! (But you might consider bringing an empty duffel bag or backpack to cart home souvenirs.)
- If you’re flying, consider taking only a carry-on to save time and frustration upon arrival. If you’re checking luggage, make sure to pack essentials (change of clothing, bathing suit, medications, toiletries, snacks) in a carry-on bag, just in case you’re separated from your checked bags.
- Invest in some handy travel accessories, such as a mini-clothesline, “compression sacs” to compress your clean or dirty clothes, sleep mask, ear plugs, and inflatable neck rest.
- Know the current airline carry-on restrictions by visiting Pack Safe before you go.
- Clean out your wallet before you leave. Take only the bare essentials, such as two major credit cards, ATM card, your driver’s license or state ID, passport (if traveling abroad), health and car insurance cards, and cash for tipping. Leave all other cards at home.( You can’t lose them if you don’t bring them!)
- Make a photocopy of the front and back of your wallet essentials and stash it in your suitcase or leave it with a trusted friend or relative back home. If you should lose your wallet, you can more easily get replacements. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary in your suitcase in case you misplace your original.
HOME SAFE HOME
Take these simple precautions to keep your home safe while you’re away.
- Don’t put out the “we’re not home” sign —install timers on lights and a radio or television so your home looks and sounds lived in.
- Do not post about your travels on social media until you return home. Otherwise, you are letting everyone know you are away!
- Let trusted neighbors know how long you’ll be gone and how to reach you in an emergency. Ask them to keep a watchful eye on your place. Have them collect your mail and newspapers, or suspend delivery until you return. Perhaps they could park their cars in your driveway occasionally.
- Remove home address and phone numbers from your luggage tags and add your cell phone number instead, in case an unscrupulous baggage handler gets any shady ideas.
- Lock up and hide your valuables. Keep some shades partially closed to keep expensive items (such as your big-screen TV) out of view. (But don’t completely close all window coverings, or it will be obvious that no one is home.)
- Set the thermostat to an energy-saving level. Unplug most appliances to save electricity.
- Remove all perishable items from your refrigerator and take out the trash so you don’t return to unpleasant odors.
- It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to lock all doors and windows. If you leave a vehicle in the driveway, be sure to remove any garage door openers.
HAPPY SUMMER TRAVEL WITH CHILDREN
Vacations with children are wonderful memory-makers. Some thoughtful planning will make them — and you — happy campers (so to speak).
- Help kids pack their very own backpack full of favorite books/magazines, toys, snacks, activity or coloring books, hand-held games, a change of clothing, and other comfort items.
- Bring some surprise items as well. Gift wrap some dollar store trinkets and hand them out at predetermined intervals, such as when you enter a new state or every two hours.
- A small travel journal or notebook can bring hours of entertainment and education for kids of all ages. Include a new package of colored pencils or gel pens, stickers, and other fun items.
- Don’t depend upon the airlines for food service. Pack your own to ward off major
- meltdowns. Granola bars, mini carrots, juice boxes, bagels, dried fruit, apples, and goldfish crackers are great for the whole family.
- Audio books can provide quiet time. Rent them at your local library before you go.
- Bone up on some travel games if you’re traveling by car. There are tons of inspirational ideas on the internet. Just search for “travel games.” Remember how much fun the license plate game was when you were a child? It’s still fun today!
Taking a staycation this summer? Read this blog post for ideas on summer organizing projects.
Content edited from “Organized Today”.