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Travel Checklist: Things to Do Before Vacation

Travel Checklist: 7 Things to Remember for Your Vacation

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Whether you are making a last-minute weekend getaway or finally embarking on a vacation you have planned for months, there are some things you can’t do until the last minute. Forgetting these things can make you feel like there’s a cloud over your vacation.

We travel to enjoy life, relax, and experience new adventures; so I’ve compiled a travel checklist with 7 things to remember so your next vacation starts smoothly. Learn from my mistakes, because I’ve fallen into all of these traps at some point!

Remember to Pack:

1. Travel bags

I’ve written extensively about our travel bags. We don’t go anywhere without them! These lifesavers keep the kids occupied and entertained whether we are on the road or in the air. We’ve used them for almost 10 years, so I can vouch for their usefulness from toddlers to teens!

2. Electronics and accessories

More than once, we’ve gotten on the road and realized that someone has forgotten a charger for their phone, Kindle, iPad, or Chromebook. Since the most common response is “You can’t borrow mine! I need it!” (and is usually followed by “I was responsible enough to remember mine”), electronics and chargers definitely go on the What to Pack list each traveler receives.

3. Toiletries

I am ashamed to admit that I have left the house without my makeup bag in the past. Upon arrival at the hotel, I have begun unpacking to realize that the bulk of my makeup was still sitting on the counter at home. While I can (and, in a pinch, have) spent the weekend using some lipstick as blush and eye shadow, everyone agrees that is not the best case scenario. This also goes for prescription medications, lotions, potions, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

Remember these things to do before a vacation:

4. Hold Mail service

If you will be out of town more than a few days, if you regularly receive a large volume of mail, or if you are expecting a package, don’t forget to place your mail on hold. It is a simple form to complete online or at the post office. You can notify the Postal Service up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next scheduled delivery day. It’s worth taking a few minutes to make your empty home safer in your absence.

5. House cleaning service

If you use a house cleaning service that would typically arrive on a scheduled vacation day, be sure inform them of your absence. Some services charge a cancellation fee if you don’t cancel within a given time frame.

I love coming home from a trip to a clean house, so I just let our service know when we will be gone and when we will arrive home. When possible, they rearrange other cleanings so that we have the “recently cleaned” smell still lingering in the air when we walk in!

6. Book Early for Pets

If you don’t travel with your pets, don’t forget to make arrangements for your furry, feathered, or scaly friends! Remember that vets or boarding establishments may fill up quickly during summer, holidays, or spring and fall breaks. Book early to ensure that your pets get the care they need.

Alternatively, you can arrange for your pets to receive care in your home. Our house cleaning service also offers pet sitting. Our provider visits the house several times a day, feeds the dogs, takes them for walks in the afternoons, and plays with them during the evenings.

7. Home safety

If you are away from your home for an extended period of time, you should consider taking some measures to ensure that your house does not appear unoccupied. Many new homes are built with smart technology that allows you to turn on lights or other electronics on a timed schedule or by using your cell phone. You can also purchase timers for your lamps to schedule them to turn on at night. Another option is to employ a house sitter who could keep the house safe and tend to your pets at the same time.

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Heather and her family were born and raised in east Texas, where she is an assistant principal. Her husband teaches high school chemistry and her daughters are…

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