Get Ready for Your Vacation: 30 Essential Tips

Vacation is something we desperately need and which most of us don’t get enough of. When your vacation time finally arrives, you need to get ready for it. Following are some essential tips about planning for work, home, travel, and arrival.

1. Work Projects

Finish up any incomplete projects before you leave, and don’t start any new ones. If you don’t, you’ll risk alienating clients and colleagues, and your vacation from that job might be a permanent one.

2. Make Sure You’re Covered

If there are regular responsibilities you have, make sure you have them covered or that your supervisor is seeing to that. Nobody appreciates extra work being assigned to them at the last minute.

3. Prepare for Return

Make a list of the things you’ll need to do as soon as you return. This will help you make a smooth transition back to work and help you fight the post-vacation blues.

4. Subscriptions

From the daily mail to fresh food deliveries, put these things on hold. First of all, fresh food will spoil, and you’ll come home to something nasty. Second, an overflowing mailbox or doorstep is a big “Welcome” sign to burglars.

5. Online Orders

If something won’t arrive before you leave, don’t order it. The package may get stolen or might, as we noted just before, send a signal to burglars.

6. Perishable Foods

Eat them up. Don’t buy new ones you can’t finish. Freeze what you can. Throw away what you can’t, and not into the kitchen trash bin but to the big one you keep outside. Spare yourself some ugly, foul-smelling surprises upon your return.

7. Bills

Pay off any bills that will come due while you’re gone. Depending on where you’re going, you might not be able to pay them online. Even if you have good internet access, it’s easy to forget about those bills.

8. Pets

Do you have pets? Make sure to make arrangements for them well in advance. Scrambling at the last minute creates a lot of stress and often means you’ll pay more. If your pets stay home and someone comes to visit them, it will be easier to plan for some of the earlier issues on this list.

9. Prescription Meds

Make sure you have enough time away and that they’re legal where you’re going. It’s also smart to make sure you can get refills of the same or equivalent where you’re going.

10. The Bank(s)

If you’re leaving the country or traveling vast distances on your own, let your bank and credit card companies know. This can help you avoid blocks that can be really inconvenient but are meant to protect you from fraud.

11. Download, Download, Download

Fill your devices to capacity with whatever content you love. Then you’ll be able to enjoy it wherever you are. Never count on good internet when you travel.

12. Packing List

Make your list several days ahead of time. This makes for better planning, and it also reduces stress.

13. Double-Check

Make sure you have the right flight time and number. Also, verify with where you’re going that they’re expecting you. It doesn’t happen a lot, but sometimes places do overbook, and people who want to just check in and relax are suddenly in panic mode.

14. Itinerary

This can be a tough sell for people who see vacations as an escape from the regular world. Still, even if you’re in that camp, things can go wrong, and it’s good to leave a plan with someone you trust.

15. Laundry

Do the laundry before you leave. You’ll have fresh clothes when you get home. Washing the vacation laundry will still be in order, but you’d like not to have to add old laundry to the mix.

16. Online Check-in

Most airlines, if not all, offer this now. This saves time and stress at the airport, and you can go straight to check-in your bags or to security if you’re not checking anything.

17. Check the Weather

This is for both your departure airport and your arrival one. You’ll want to plan for extra travel time if local conditions might be bad, and it’s a last chance to make sure you’ve packed the right clothes for where you’re going.

18. Charge Your Devices

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll want everything fully charged. In cars, family members sometimes fight over charging outlets. Most planes don’t have any at all.

19. Have Some Cash

For domestic travel, it’s always a good idea to have at least enough cash to cover tips, meals, and small items like a soda at a convenience store. Cash is also a temporary backup in case you lose your credit card, or it gets hacked.

20. Declutter Your Wallet

Remove anything you won’t be needing. A good example is the multiple grocery-store cards you may have that won’t be relevant where you’re going. This makes it easier for you to find exactly what you need, and it reduces the hassles that come with a lost or stolen wallet.

21. Personalize Luggage

If you’re flying, you should put some easily identifiable marker on each piece. That makes it easier to spot your items on a crowded carousel. It also makes it easier to avoid the mess that comes with mistakenly grabbing a bag that looks just like yours but isn’t yours.

22. Spare Keys

Hide a spare key somewhere that isn’t obvious (like under the front door mat). People sometimes lose their keys while traveling, and you don’t want to have to deal with being shut out of your own home upon return if that happens.

23. Prepare Some Return Meals

When you get back from a trip, you don’t feel like running out to the grocery store to get dinner. You might order takeout or delivery instead, you might get fast food, or, if you get back unexpectedly late, you might have no options. Some frozen pizzas or pre-cooked meals can be a lifesaver when you return home.

24. Empty Trash Cans

This is especially true for any trash cans that have trash that can spoil. So the bin in your home office might be okay, but those in bathrooms and kitchens aren’t. You don’t want to return to foul smells and “interesting” growths.

25. Snacks

On a road trip, whoever’s driving probably won’t want to stop much. On a plane, you kind of don’t want to stop unless you’re at your destination. Pack enough snacks to get you through your day so you don’t have to overpay for things you don’t really want if that’s even an option.

26. Weigh Luggage

If you’re flying, check the weight limit for each piece. Usually, it’s 50 pounds, but it can vary. If your bag is over the limit, you face steep extra charges or the possibility of having to remove items and leave them behind.

27. Check the Locks

Have you ever driven away from the house and suddenly started wondering if you forgot to close the windows, lock the front door, or shut the garage? Include checking these things on a list of what to do before leaving, and check it off as you do it.

28. Water Those Plants

Going away for an extended period probably means you’ve secured someone to take care of this and other daily things. If your trip is shorter, though, make sure you’ve watered plants sufficiently so that you don’t have to get new ones after you return.

29. Adjust the Thermostat

On a winter trip, you need the house to stay warm enough to keep pipes from freezing, plants from dying, etc. So, adjust downward. In the summer, bump the temperature up a little so that the house won’t be as cool as you like it but won’t be a sauna when you get back. Depending on how long you’re away, this can save a lot of money on energy bills.

30. ID and Passport

One of the worst travel experiences ever is showing up at the airport (or border) and realizing you’ve forgotten the ID you need. This has caused many missed flights and many ruined vacations. Before you leave, make sure you have the documents you need.

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