It's almost summer! And that means it's time to start planning for all the fun you and your family are going to have over the summer vacation. Travel is usually an important element of a summer break, so being proactive is helpful for smoother sailing when it's time to go. No matter where you end up going, there are some things everyone can do to prepare both for the trip and the return.
If you don't know where you are going, how can you prepare anything? Even if you have a general destination in mind, the specifics show you what is available. You can explore your options, ask family members their preferences, and start to plan out the different things you can do to make this trip enjoyable and memorable.
One of the things to look into is the place you want to stay. You definitely want to find somewhere you can relax and enjoy—without breaking the bank. Looking at comparison websites, asking friends who have traveled to your destination before, and doing your own analysis can help you make a decision on where you want to go. Video walk-throughs are good ways to get a feel for a hotel or short-term rental. When you make your decision and arrive, it may be a good idea for you to do a walk-through yourself with your camera in case the hotel room or rental house sustains damage during your stay.
How are you going to get there? If you are flying, those reservations typically must be booked in advance. If your family is more of the road trip type, a car check-up at your local auto maintenance service might be a good idea, so car trouble doesn't dim the travel enthusiasm. You can also plan your route and see what interesting stops you can make along the way. That way, you get a driving break, and there is a bit of adventure thrown in.
Things don't stop happening at your house just because you aren't there. The mail is still delivered, the garbage collectors still come, and if you have a pet or plants, they still need care! Pet sitting, in particular, can stress you out a lot if left to the last minute. Those loveable furballs are part of the family and will surely miss you when you are gone. Additionally, having a trusted neighbor or friend stop by to do some upkeep on your house is generally a good idea, especially if you plan on traveling for a longer period of time. Along with taking care of any pets, this trusted person can get your mail if you haven't paused your mail delivery, put your trash out for the collectors, and water the plants—or at least make sure the lawn maintenance people are. It makes your house look lived in and keeps things from piling up.
As a side note, you will want to keep your vacation pictures on your phone or camera until after you return. Posting your best life on social media may be fun, but it's rarely a good idea to advertise on the internet that you are away from home. Make sure you share your awesome travel experiences when they have safely concluded.
Even if you aren't quite ready to pull out the suitcase, you can start daydreaming about how you want your trip to go and how you want to look while you're there. Bathing suits for the beach, activewear for a hike, shorts and tank tops for the sun, there are so many options! Since you have started your research regarding different activities on your vacation, you can also start a packing list of the clothes that will let you participate in those activities to the fullest!
Leaving for a trip and returning after a long day in a car or on a plane can be chaotic, especially when energy is low from the time spent traveling or jet lag. Setting your home up so that there is less to think about when you come back helps give you peace of mind while you are gone. Giving your house a quick clean-up, washing and putting away dishes, cleaning out the fridge, and taking out the trash reduces smells and helps you start fresh when you return. If you have time, putting clean sheets on the bed can be another nice thing to come home to after a fun-filled vacation.
You've researched, reserved, packed, and prepared. Now it's time for the final checks! Unplug your devices so that they don't waste electricity, set automatic lights to "on," and put your thermostat to a reasonable temperature or turn it off. Last thing: remember to lock the door!