As a mom of 4, planning for vacation is one of the hardest tasks I have. I remember being young, and carefree and packing a bag and hopping in the car. That was it. No, I’m not jealous of my former self. 😉
Now it takes a master packing list, a ten mile long to-do list, and careful “tetris” packing of the car. All while entertaining the kids, and not panicking when you realize you’ve left something important at home.
It’s enough to make me want to stay home all the time!
Learn more: How We Take A Frugal Vacation
I’m sure you all have your own way of making a packing list, and figuring out what stays and what goes (other than your family if you’re inclined to take them along!), but most people don’t think about the bazillion other details until the last minute.
If you are having a pet sitter, house sitter, or neighbor come inside to check on pets, plants, or just check on the house be sure to lock up any valuables. Dont’ leave bills or account information sitting out. Usually people are trustworthy, but you never know, so it doesn’t hurt to be careful!
Learn more: Worry-Free Vacation Tips
What To Do Before Leaving On Vacation
One Week Before
- pay all your bills (you don’t want to have to do this on vacation, or to come home to late bills!)
- stop the mail (just be aware they may still deliver some and have a neighbor check)
- confirm arrangements for pet sitting/houseplant watering/house sitting (these should be made one month prior)
- tell a neighbor you’ll be gone, so they can keep a lookout for suspicious activity
- eat through your pantry and fridge, less waste and less or no grocery spending this week
- if you have trash that needs to be put out, make arrangements for someone to put out the trash can, AND bring it in
- suspend your newspaper
- if you are going on a longer trip suspend subscription services like Netflix and your gym membership, most subscription services can be stopped temporarily (this also gives you extra $ on vacation!)
Day before departure: (some of these items can be done as much as 3 days in advance, but my schedule seem to not allow that kind of forward thinking)
- go over your vacation budget
- withdraw any cash you’ll need
- confirm travel arrangements (such as arrival time at your hotel), gas up the car, or check in for your flight online
- make sure all laundry is done (you know you’ll come home with a ton so don’t make it a mountain!)
- clean the house (top to bottom)
- charge all batteries (cells, DSs, iPods, laptops)
- empty the fridge of anything past expiration or questionable
- pack your luggage
- if you are traveling by car, pack the car
Day of departure:
- make the beds
- turn up the thermostat or turn it off altogether
- unplug or turn off power strips for anything not necessary
- turn off the water (for weeklong trips if you have no pets at home)
- lock all windows and doors, and double check them
- make sure your neighbor/pet sitter/house sitter has a key
- turn on one outside light and one inside light (or put them on a timer)
Learn more: Meal Planning Pre-Vacation
- Relax and have fun since everything is done!
Is there anything you would add to my to-do list? Anything you’d leave off?