Last year, I posted a similar “prep for vacation” blog post to my old blog a week before we cancelled our vacation and the world shut down. Even just one week before, I never would have thought any of that would have happened. What a year.
I’ve now reworked this post to help those of you who are planning to travel feel as prepared as you can. Traveling right now is a really personal decision. I’m a big believer that with lists, you can relieve some of the anxiety that comes with the stresses of life, travel included when you fully prep for vacation. When you feel like you’ve got your ducks in a row, you’re better able to relax and enjoy.
We’re heading to Florida and I’m so excited. Our trip is a full week this year, the longest time we’ve ever gone away with the kids. I’m really trying to fully unplug on these trips, and to do that, I’ve started making some lists to feel prepared.
Since there’s big time anticipation for this vacation after a year of doing so little, I want to feel like I’ve done all I can do in terms of getting the most out of our trip and being ready for anything in terms of what we need when we’re there. Itineraries and checklists help reduce my anxiety.
When I think about vacation, it’s not just prepping for the trip, but prepping for life to be on hold when I’m on that trip. There are a lot of steps I need to take with work and at the house to feel like I can relax once I’m actually on vacation.
So, here are the 6 lists I make to prep for vacation:
Since our vacation will be very relaxed, I’m not doing a very detailed day-by-day itinerary, but I want to be ready with as much information at my fingertips so I’m not spending my time researching while we’re there. My vacation itineraries typically include:
- Schedule – I outline everything that’s scheduled for each day, including transportation information, restaurant reservations, museum or theater tickets, and more.
- Restaurants – If reservations aren’t necessary, I include a list of restaurants people have recommended to us (by area if necessary) with links to the websites.
- Activities to explore – So we’re not left wondering what to do, I list out ideas for adventures or shopping after researching articles or blog posts about the area. For beach vacations, it’s nice to have a few things on the list in case of rain.
- Just in case – I’ve researched the closest grocery store, Targets or Walmarts, urgent cares and hospitals.
Taking time to write out a packing list is really important, especially after I forgot to pack the majority of Charlotte’s clothes when we went to Minneapolis a few years ago. Oops. As a mom, it’s not just about packing everything I need, but ensuring every one of us has everything. I’ve loved Hitha Palepu’s book, How to Pack, for ALL the packing inspiration. No matter what, be sure to include the following on your checklist:
- Suitcase (check out our beach vacation style here!)
- Sanitizing supplies and masks
- Phone with ticket information/boarding pass/itinerary
- Wallet with I.D.
- Travel beauty and toiletries you can’t live without
- Additional technology, headphones and chargers (making sure we’ve downloaded everything we need on the iPads)
- Kids’ activities
- Reading material
- Prescription meds
- Mask and hand sanitizer
It wouldn’t be a vacation if it didn’t include some good reading — especially a beach vacation. I like to really think through what I want to read and have a lot of choices in case I’m not vibing on something. I want it all downloaded on my Kindle or packed in my bag so I’m ready. Here’s what’s on my vacation TBR list this year:
- The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
- The Survivors by Jane Harper
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Home Prep List
Ensuring the house will be secure when we’re gone is a big part of helping us feel comfortable when we’re gone. Here’s what on my home prep checklist:
- Home security – Set up any alarms or cameras, replace smoke alarm batteries, lock doors and windows, and more. We recently installed the Ring Doorbell so we can see anyone who’s at the door.
- Mail and packages – Cancel the mail and newspapers while you’re gone. We typically ask a neighbor to check on the house and grab any packages at the door.
- Unplug electricals – We go around and unplug everything that wastes energy or could possibly start a fire.
- Clean up – I love coming home to a clean house so I try to pick up before we leave, making beds, washing any dishes and wiping down the counters.
Work To-Do List
Since we haven’t taken a break like this in so long, I’m feeling really motivated to wrap up what I can ahead of the trip so it’s not hanging over my head, and bringing my work computer at the last minute. Here’s what’s on my list to prep for vacation on the work front:
- Blocking work calendars and notifying colleagues or clients that I’ll be out.
- Setting up any back-ups I need to cover projects while I’m gone.
- Making a list of all the deadlines in March and April to see what work needs to get done before I leave for each trip so I’m not completely scrambling when I get back.
- Completing as many projects as I can ahead of time or communicating with people to change deadlines if necessary.
- Setting up out-of-office messages wherever possible.
Personal To-Do List
Last but not least, there’s getting yourself ready for vacation! (Always the last thing, amiright?) Write down any appointments you want to make, last minute errands to do and anything else that will help you feel calm and relaxed once you’re there. If you feel comfortable, get that vacation pedicure. You deserve it!
I’d love to hear what else you all do to prep for vacation! If you’re traveling, have fun, be safe and wash those hands!
Lists make me so happy. Read more about the top lists I use to control the chaos, and if you’re traveling this spring, be safe and have fun!