Right now, the calendar is still saying that Winter is in charge. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of warm breezes and sandy toes. In any case, planning for vacation can be fun and extremely time consuming. Today I am sharing how to be vacation ready in 6 easy steps.
Sometimes the thought of getting everything ready for vacation makes me panic. Almost to the point were I leave things until the last possible moment and am rushing around like crazy the night before we leave. So I decided that enough was enough, and it was time to make a plan.
How To Be Vacation Ready In 6 Easy Steps:
The thing I like best about this plan is that it spreads out over a time period rather than trying to cram it all in one week. So let’s discuss how to be vacation ready so that you can spend more time enjoying your vacation.
Step 1: Two Months Ahead
What?!?! I am supposed to start preparing two months ahead of time? Well, yes, yes you should and here is why. Some of the items I am sharing here may be time-consuming, so the earlier you begin the better. Trust when I say you will be glad you did.
Start planning to see if you need to schedule a vet visit or order pet medications or refills. This is a great idea if it takes a long time to get sorted out. You should also arrange for pet boarding or in-home pet sitters.
START A SHOPPING LIST
While this sounds like it is self-explanatory, this is one step that you shouldn’t forget. There is nothing scarier than finding out the night before you leave that you have forgotten something important.
This is a critical step on your vacation preparation list, especially if you are driving. It doesn’t take long, and it could save you time and money in the long run. Make sure you have your oil changed, your hoses checked, tires rotated, and have them take a look at your wiper blades. Our car dealership sends frequent coupons for these items, so I can save more money when it is time to do this step.
Step 2: Two Weeks Before
CONFIRM PET SITTER
Remember 2 months ago? This is a good time to confirm to your petcare plans in case you need to make alternative arrangements. Take the time to check pet supplies and food, and then purchase those items so you have them ready to go. Some pet boarding places allow you to bring toys and blankets from home, so it is a good time to grab a new toy and give that favorite blanket a good washing.
THINK ABOUT YOUR MAIL AND NEWSPAPERS
Take the time now to stop mail and newspapers until you get home. Or arrange to have a neighbor or family member bring them in. Side note to this tip: stopping them may alert thieves to your being away, so you need to weigh the pros and cons of this step. Discuss this with all members of your family so you all can be vacation ready.
CONSIDER GETTING TIMERS FOR YOUR LIGHTS
We have a whole house lighting system that we can set up to go on and off at certain times. And, the best part is, if we forget to turn the scenes on before we leave, we can do it right from our smartphones. I absolutely love that, and it really does make it look natural because of the different times that are possible.
PREPARE A CAR EMERGENCY KIT
If you are diligent with your car care, most of these items should already be in your car. Be sure to check and replenish any perishable items(like water bottles and granola bars). You should also take into consideration what time of the year you are traveling to figure out if you need to add items or take some out. If you are unsure how to create a car emergency kit, check out this great blog post.
Step 3: One Week Before
In this step, we are going to be concentrating on mostly exterior preparations and doing what we can to make sure that your house can be vacation ready too!
INSPECT YOUR HEATING/COOLING EQUIPMENT
Take the time to inspect your outside unit and any associated tubes & wiring. If anything looks out of place, make an immediate appointment to have it looked at and repaired. Take the time to change your air filter, as well.
CUT GRASS AND PULL WEEDS
Admittedly, this is my least favorite task to do before vacation, but it is one that has to be done. If you don’t want to do it yourself, see if you can pay a neighbor or high school student to do it. You could also arrange for them to do it while you are gone.
INSPECT AND CHECK WINDOWS/DOOR LOCKS
Make sure everything is working correctly. If you have an alarm system, test it to make sure it is working properly. You don’t want to have to worry about it while you are on vacation. Feel good that you are getting to see that you can be vacation ready without totally stressing out.
Step 4: 2 Days Before:
WASH, DRY, FOLD, AND PACK ANY CLOTHES YOU ARE TAKING
I found that if I pack my clothes by complete outfits, I tend to forget less stuff. And using packing cubes makes it even easier to have everything you need!
GET YOUR SWIMMING BAG OR ESSENTIALS BAG READY
If you are headed to the beach or pool, you want to make sure you have a fully equipped swimming bag. FIND ANY NECESSARY CORDS FOR YOUR ELECTRONICS
This is one of my most important things, because I don’t want to be caught without anybody wanting to get ahold of me. As we no long have a landline or answering machine, my cell phone is my link to being contacted. Making sure you have the proper cords AND they are in good working condition is very important. I keep mine all together with a cord keeper.
CHECK YOUR TRAVEL FIRST AID KIT
I always take a small first aid kit that has Tylenol, Benadryl, triple antibiotic ointment, and other necessary items. Having it at your fingertips will set your mind at ease.
HANDLE THE FINANCIAL MATTERS
Check for and pay any bills. Transfer or deposit money as needed. Run the bills to the post office to ensure that they make the cut off for a postmark, if needed. That way you won’t waste time worrying about it when you are supposed to be enjoying your vacation.
MAKE ONE LAST SWEEP OF NEEDED ITEMS
Again, check that pet food is plentiful and other pet related items are available. If someone is house sitting for you, make sure you have needed paper products and food available for your house sitter.
FINISH YOUR TO-DO LIST
If you have been keeping up with the earlier steps, this list should be almost completed already. If it isn’t take the time now.
CLEAN YOUR BATHROOMS
I know it doesn’t sound like fun, but when you come home from vacation with a non-stinky bathroom, you will be glad you did this.
Step 5: The Night Before:
FINISH ANY PACKING
I am notorious for packing under pressure! But I have found that if I do it a few days ahead of time, and just add the last minute things, it can be a night before task that takes 10 minutes, tops.
UNLOAD YOUR DISHWASHER(if you have one)
Run a quick wash cycle. Let it dry overnight.
DO A QUICK DUST & VACUUM
This step should take you less than 15 minutes. Also take a few minutes to pick up things and put them away.
SET YOUR ALARM
As soon as you can, set your alarm for the next day. Then check it before bed just to make sure it is working. Waking up late on departure day is stress that you don’t need.
SPEND THE REST OF THE NIGHT RELAXING
This is self-explanatory.
Step 6: Departure Day:
GENTLY CLOSE YOUR DISHWASHER DOOR, LEAVING IT SLIGHTLY OPEN
That way the inside won’t get musty from not being used for a few days. No one wants to come home to a smelly kitchen.
FLUSH YOUR TOILETS AND ADD A LITTLE CLOROX TO THE WATER
It is the same principle as the dishwasher. You will be glad you did. Trust me, I know!
PACK YOUR CAR
If you use an E-Z pass, put it in your car now. Hook up your GPS and make sure you get a satellite signal.
TURN OFF/UNPLUG ANY APPLIANCES YOU DON’T NEED
The only one that we don’t is the computer desk. We have our wireless router that is plugged into our lighting system, so we can turn the lights on and off, just like we do when we are home.
CHECK YOUR LOCKS ON YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS
Twice. And then once more.
TAKE ONE LAST LOOK AROUND, THEN GO HAVE FUN!
So I hope that these tips will help you to be vacation ready. Leave a comment below if you do things in a similar fashion.
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