"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success" - Alexander Graham Bell. These words of wisdom apply to many aspects of our lives, including our summer vacation planning. Planning a vacation can be time-consuming and a lot of work. Luckily, a little organization and preparation in advance of your trip will allow you to relax and enjoy your time away, making it worth your time.
Below are a few things to do before you head out the door this summer. Consider the ideas below and rest easy while on vacation, knowing everything has or will be taken care of.
Make arrangements for pets, plants and mail before your tip. If you will have a pet sitter, have them water the plants and pick up the mail as well.
If you won't have anyone tending to the house, visit https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail to arrange to have your mail held until you return. Schedule the service up to 30 days in advance, or by midnight the night before the start date. You can also use watering globes or other types of devices that will water your plants in your absence.
If you're sending Fido to the puppy hotel, make sure you book early and know about any vaccine requirements. Summer months book quickly for pet accommodations too! You might also consider creating a document with instructions for feeding, giving treats, and taking medications. Be sure to include the best way to get ahold of you and your vet in case of emergency. Simply print off the document and give it to the puppy hotel each time you travel.
Set up auto payment for bills that are due while you're away. Or, if you have a house sitter, you could put a check in an envelope with the date to be mailed and have your sitter drop it in the mail for you. If you can't schedule bill payment for while you're gone, and don't have a house sitter, pay the bill early.
Don't let your paradise sunset selfie be ruined by bad hair! Vacations are usually full of picture taking and you will want to look your best. Book your salon appointments well in advance so you're not struggling to fit them in the week of travel.
Set up an away message for your e-mail and voice mail, giving your return date and the names and numbers of whom may be contacted while you're away. Be sure to let your coworker(s) know if they are your out of office contact so they can ask any follow up questions before you leave.
Let your loved ones know where you will be at all times. Give them flight numbers, hotel names and a schedule of your activities. Make sure they have the phone numbers for the places you're staying as a backup to your cell phone number.
Clean out the refrigerator before you leave town. Toss leftovers and items that expire before you return. Try to keep your grocery shopping light the weeks leading up to your vacation so you aren't wasting food. Keep the ingredients for at least one or two meals in the freezer so you won't have to hit the grocery store as soon as you get home.
I love and use the Pack This! Pad from Knock Knock when preparing for all of my trips. It's an extensive checklist arranged by category of just about everything you could ever need on a trip. It's great for both business and pleasure travel. Purchase online at https://knockknockstuff.com/product/pack-this-pad
You can also download or create and print your own checklist if you prefer. Smarter Travel has a great printable list online The Ultimate Packing List.
Be sure to schedule time to do laundry before you leave. If you're headed to a different climate, you may need to launder clothing that has been stored for the season. I like to make sure all of my laundry is done in case I want to add a last minute item to my suitcase.
Follow the advice above and you'll be on your way to a stress free vacation! For more great travel preparation advice, see "8 Things You Must Do to Stay Organized During your Summer Travels" written by Laura a few years ago.