I started thinking how hard it can be to pack up as well as take care of the home front while you are away.
We don’t want to be the mom who suddenly says (as in the movie Home Alone!) “Where is Kevin!”
1. Let the planning of a trip be a family affair. The parents have the last word of course but children love to feel that they have a voice in these decisions.
2. Once you’ve decided where you are going, start making lists of all you need:
• Are your passports up to date?
• Make all the reservations you need as: flights, hotel rooms, rental car, driving maps, or phone calls to friends and family you will be seeing.
• Don’t forget all the details pertaining to the safety of your home:
– Have a neighbor pick up the mail, newspaper and any packages that might be delivered. Be sure to give them all your contact information. I prefer a neighbor because if you contact the post office or the newspaper office, someone there will see your address and know you will be gone.
– Set timers on different lamps throughout your home.
– Turn off your sprinkler unless it’s very hot and then have a neighbor keep an eye on it in case there is a leak.
– Set up any type of care for your pets whether it’s a pet sitter or a boarding place.
– The day before you leave, water plants, pay bills, adjust your thermostat, unplug major appliances and clean out your refrigerator of perishable foods.
• Don’t take valuables with you such as jewelry. Some hotel safes just don’t work and I have found it’s better to just wear the jewelry I want. If I do need to take more pieces, I pack them in my carry on.
• Always keep your power cords, chargers, eye glasses, contact solution and case, prescription meds, and retainers with you in your carry on. Luggage gets lost and so anything that is vital to you needs to stay with you.
• Notify your credit card company that you will be using your card in a different state/country.
• This sounds silly but always keep your money, drivers license, boarding pass, credit cards and passport in the same place! I can’t tell you the times I’ve panicked because I didn’t follow this simple rule. Now I have a travel purse with a zipper pouch that helps me keep everything in one place. In fact, find a purse and a carry-on bag that you use each time you travel whether in a car or by plane and you will be much more organized.
• When you are traveling with children, make it fun! Bring their favorite “lovey”, toys, activities, etc. And have plenty of snacks and drinks. Remember that they will get more tired than you will. Also, this is not the time to make them give up on their pacifier etc. You may even want to bring a friend for your older children.
• Last – I don’t think it’s a good idea to use social networks (such as Facebook) to notify the world that you will be out of town. It’s an open invitation for someone to rob your home.
And remember to take lots of pictures! You are making memories that will last a lifetime!