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Pre-Vacation Checklist


You have been planning your family’s summer vacation for months and it’s finally here! Of course you want to make sure that you don’t forget anything — at least anything that you can’t buy or take care of when you are gone. Below is a list of things that you need to remember to do before you leave on any vacation.



A Few Days Before

Figure Out Your Mail
If you are going to be gone for an extended amount of time, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with your mail. Do you have a trusted neighbor that you can ask to get your mail every day and hold it for you?  If not, you will have to go to your local post office and submit PS FORM 8076 to the clerk so that the post office will hold your mail for you.

Get Your Car Inspected
If you are going on a long road trip, you’d better make sure that your car is up for the task! Many mechanics have a “road trip check” that you can get before you go. They will check things such as lights, brakes, fluids, tires, suspension, cooling system, etc. Or if you’re not sure your car will make it, you might just want to rent a car for the trip. This site will let you calculate your fuel savings, in case you’re curious (unfortunately, it does only calculate it per year, but it’s fun to know anyway)!

Install Light Timers
When you are gone, you don’t want to leave all of your lights off, making it look like no one’s home, but you also don’t want to leave a light on the whole time (burglars will see right through that one). An easy way to make it look like you are still home but without using too much energy is to install timers on your lights so that they turn on and off around your home at different times. This will make it look like you are still home and deter burglars. Also remember to wait to post vacation plans and photos until after you return home — or your posts will scream “We’re on vacation! Rob us!”


Pack
Don’t leave packing to the last minute, as that is when you are more prone to forget things. A few days before you leave, make a packing list of everything that you want to take with you, and as you place them in your suitcase, check them off. Make sure that everything that you will need is on your list, including medicines, chargers, clothing, etc. Another reason to keep a list is so that you don’t pack too many things — without a list you will just throw things in your bag willy nilly, and end up with 12 shirts and no pants!

The Big Day

Go Through the Fridge, Empty Trash Cans, and Flush Toilets
Do a quick clean up around the house to make sure that nothing will rot or ferment when you are away. Start with your fridge. Throw out or eat any food that will go bad when you are away.  Next, go through the house and take out your trash cans. Finally, as you are about to leave, do one last run through the house and make sure that all the toilets are flushed (especially if you have small children). Nothing is worse than being greeted as you come home from your vacation with the smell of fermenting urine or moldy food.

Ensure You Have Necessary Documents
Do a quick check to make sure that you have all of the necessary documents for your vacation. If you are taking a road trip, do you have directions printed out as well as a map in case you get lost? Do you have your license and registration? If you are flying, do you have your itinerary as well as necessary identification? If you are going out of the country, do you have everyone’s passports and visas? If you staying at a hotel do you have your printed reservation? It may also be a wise idea to carry some cash in case your card doesn’t work.


Re-check that You Locked Up
You would be amazed at how many people go on vacation without properly securing their home. The last thing that you should do before you leave is to run through the house (as you are checking your toilets) to make sure that all doors are locked and all windows are closed. We even suggest that you take your hide-a-key with you or leave it with a trusted neighbor. As you drive away, watch to make sure that your garage door closes all the way as well.

Make Sure That You Have Everyone
You wouldn’t want your kids to experience a remake of “Home Alone.” Right as you are pulling out, name off your family members one by one, and have them say “here,” including your spouse. While you can buy a tube of toothpaste at the store wherever in the world you are going, you cannot replace a child.

Let's discuss: What other items can you think of to add to our checklist? 

Annmarie John
38 Comments
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38 comments:

  1. These are really great tips for getting ready for a trip. We haven't made an out-of-state trip with the kids yet but we do a lot of local trips and stay in a hotel. The last tip instantly made me think of Home Alone after reading the title of it alone. HAHA

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    1. Local trips can be a lot of fun. I've actually done a few of those. This week we'll be out almost all week with plans on even visiting our Rocky Mountain National Park this week as well. It's going to be fun and we will be sure not to leave anyone at home inciting another Home Alone movie. :)

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  2. These are all great tips. I actually stop buying any form of perishable groceries a week in advance of the trip so we use it all up before we go.

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    1. That's a great idea. You don't want product going bad while you're gone.

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  3. We dropped the ball on this one and got kicked off our flight home because I didn't know service dogs could be on planes and I wasn't prepared (no allergy pills or inhaler). That made for an interesting experience!!

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    1. Oh no! I couldn't imagine being kicked off my flight. Were you able to make the next outgoing?

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  4. These are great tips for anyone heading out on vacation. Perfect timing with this post as we'll be heading out on our own vacation soon.

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    1. Enjoy your vacation. We'll be doing the same in a few weeks.

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  5. Light timers! Well Des and I are going away tomorrow but the others aren't. I still found myself making childcare plans for Scarlet for when Cassidy is at work.
    I need a light timer! I can't believe we don't have one because that's always a conversation we have before a big trip.

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    1. Light timers are great. We never have to worry much about those however since there is always someone at home.

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  6. With two different trips in the next three weeks, this advice comes at the perfect time. We have made the mistake of not emptying trash cans prior to leaving in the past and it is NOT fun to come home to!

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    1. Oh I couldn't imagine what you came to. It's never happened to me but wouldn't like it to.

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  7. This is very timely! We are planning our trip two weeks from now. Saving this checklist! Thanks for this!

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    1. You're very welcome Toni, thanks for stopping by and have fun on your vacation.

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  8. These are some important things to think about beforehand. I always have to get my car checked out before road trips.

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    1. Oh we always do that for sure, especially since we do a road trip every summer. We'll be going on one in a few weeks and I already have an appointment with my mechanic.

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  9. I am really not sure what else I would add to the list, you have so many things already there. I love taking trips with the family, even just day trips are something to prepare for!

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    1. Oh yes you've got to be prepared, no matter where you're going or how long you're staying.

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  10. My husband always sets the light timers even if we are gone for one night. I sort of laugh at him, but I know it is a good thing... no matter how long the trip.

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    1. Yes those are great, especially if there is no one going to be at home.

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  11. I left my passport behind once while traveling abroad! Getting out of the country was no big deal. Getting back home was another story.

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    1. I'm surprised that you were able to leave the country without a passport. That's one of the things that they check before you even get on the plane. We had to reschedule a flight once because we had forgotten one of the kids passport at home.

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  12. These are awesome tips. Remembering to clean out your fridge is so important. We went on vacation once and didn't do this and came back to a not so pleasant smelling one.

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    1. Oh I can't begin to imagine the smell of spoilt food in the refrigerator. I bet you never did it again!

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  13. I really like your list - you make some real good points here.
    Especially like the idea of NOT posting all your vacation using social media stuff WHILE still on vacation!

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    1. To be honest, I've done this but whenever we travel there is always someone at home. We don't all travel together. If no-one is going to be home, that is something you might not want to do.

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  14. I won't buy fresh groceries for about 2 weeks before we go on a trip. I love all theses tips!

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    1. Yes you don't want those goodies to go bad before you've had a chance to eat them all.

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  15. ohhhhh nooooooo I can imagine forgetting to check the toilets!!! Actually I never have before. I really need your checklist :-)

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    1. I make sure the kids flush before we leave to go anywhere. Don't want to come back to a stinky house, either the bathroom or kitchen.

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  16. I love this checklist! I will keep this for our next vacation, summer is over here in our country.

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    1. Summer is over already? Summer is just really beginning here.

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  17. What a helpful and thorough list! I always forget the lights on timers.

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    1. Oh we don't have but one thing I do know, if we ever have to take a vacation all at once, I'll be installing them.

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  18. Great List, the mail is always an issue so I get a PO Box for longer trips!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

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    1. That's an awesome idea for sure and one I might have to look into whenever I'm taking a long trip.

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  19. This is such a great blog post! I especially love the tip about light timers. I never knew they existed. Thanks!

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    1. Oh yes they do and if you travel a lot, you should invest in some.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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