It is June but the desire to make the most of summer is upon us. School, cool weather and a hectic pace are just around the corner. Take time now to plan and enjoy your vacation. Before you head out of town by car, plane or train, put a little planning effort in and you will reap the rewards of a fun and relaxed trip.
Before you go, pack and plan. Utilize a packing list like the ones you can find on ListPlanIt.com rather than starting from scratch. If you are making your list from scratch, keep it on your computer or phone. You can double check while away and be sure that you still have everything when you re-pack. Additionally, your list will be ready for the next time you travel. Use the weeks ahead of your trip to plan.
Four weeks ahead of your trip or more, research where will you be staying. Decide how will you be getting there. Use a website like kayak.com to compare prices on flights or Google Maps to map out your drive. You can save the trip planning information to your phone and have it with you even if you do not have a network connection.
Two weeks before you leave put in an order to hold the mail. Make arrangements for your pets. Consider using a local teen who can watch your house and care for your pets. If you are flying, be sure to make a plan for getting to and from the airport.
A few days ahead pack and prepare your home. Mow the lawns and secure outside items in case of inclement weather. Take your pets to be boarded. If you are making several stops on your trip, pack for each stop so that you do not have to unpack everything at each leg. If you are flying, use gallon zip lock bags to organize your items in your suitcase.
The day of your trip take out the trash, be sure all food items are put away and check that nothing is going to spoil in the fridge while you are gone.
While you are away, keep your things in order. Use specific bags for each type of item packed so items are easy to retrieve and put away. Have a separate bag for dirty laundry and if you get the chance, do a load of laundry or two while you are away. If you are traveling by car and you find a fantastic way to pack your vehicle, take a photo with your cell phone then you will have a guide to repack the car as you stop along the way.
When you return, do not let the unpacked bags sit for days. Take the dirty clothes bag to the laundry first. Unpack as soon as possible while you still have momentum. It is helpful to take a day off of work to re-group after any trip.
Most importantly, enjoy your trip. Too often, we do not relax and enjoy the experiences in the present. Plan, organize and enjoy.