Oh summer! The warm air, the bright sunshine, pools, beaches, vacations, airplanes, long car trips, packing and the fear of a vacation gone wrong! During the famed season of travel, there are so many possible tribulations to ruin an otherwise wonderful vacation. Fortunately, these traps can be avoided with careful planning and a little flexibility!
Plan Your Trip!
Before you set foot on new land, or even begin to pack, research your destination. Find local grocers to avoid trips to the hotel shop for personal items. Find local activities geared toward your group, such as a playground for kids or shopping for adults, to curb stagnation between activities. Also, call the hotel and ask them what electronics they offer. Most have hair dryers, and some have ironing boards, so these items may be left home to save room in your luggage. After you feel a familiarity with your future surroundings, it’s time to prepare the family!
Make lists for individual members of your family. Include everything down to the number of underwear needed for the time away! Following this list will ease the tension of remembering the small necessities, like toothpaste. After the list has been filled, the night before you leave, post it somewhere obvious, such as the bathroom mirror. Last minute items are less likely to be left behind with a second look at your list. After the list has been written, it’s time to pack!
Some Handy Packing Trips
Packing is a special talent, with an acquired taste. Barring all those who dump and stuff, there are a few tips to ensure your belongings arrive safe and relatively clean. Before you dust off the luggage from storage, decide what will go into the bags. Lay clothes out by outfit to make sure you have full outfits for each day. Include socks, underwear, and shoes for each outfit. Don’t forget to double check your lists! After you have decided everything you will bring, begin packing. Decide which articles of clothing are the most wrinkle free, roll them into a tubular shape, and insert them into shoes. Under clothing and socks are perfect for this, and the space saved in the luggage is invaluable. You’ll need to leave some extra space, or better yet pack an empty bag, for souvenirs and trip memoirs. Grab a box of Ziploc bags and head to the bathroom. Put your bottles of personal items, one each, into the Ziploc bags. If there are any accidental leaks en route, the only thing that will have liquid on it is the bag and the bottle. After your luggage is packed, lay the last minute items, such as toothbrush with holder and toothpaste with its own Ziploc, out on the bathroom counter so you can grab and go at the right time. Now that we’re packed, it’s time to head out!
Airplanes and Automobiles
It’s always a good idea to take the minimalist approach when flying or driving. Bring only the essentials into the cabin of a car or plane. Overloading can lead to complicated hassles such as fellow passenger discomfort and driver distraction. Bring a small bag into the cabin of a plane or car, and fill it with interesting hobbies. The bag can have a variety of small items to entertain and keep everyone interested. Make sure to include snacks for kids. After just a few hours, you’ll be there – your summer destination!
At the hotel room, check the room for personal items belonging to others before you unpack. If your trip is short, such as an overnight, skipping the hotel provided dressers will make cleanup and checkout faster. Take a few minutes to get familiar with the room. Review the amenities offered, the room service list, and the towel supply. Assuring you have everything you need immediately will smooth out a vacation. For example, if you have four people in your party, and the hotel only offers three full sized towels, call the front desk, request another, then let them know you will need the same amount of towels for each room service visit. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy your vacation.
Back Up Plans for Bad Weather and the Unpredictable
Vacations are fun, but sometimes there are unavoidable situations, such as weather. If there is a reason your destination turns out to not be all you had in mind, or a situation causes a sudden change of plans, head for the hotel phone book. Some creative planning and quick thinking can save any vacation. If your destination was a theme park, and the theme park has a reason to ruin your trip, talk to the park because they usually can assist with saving your vacation. If your destination was an outside trip and the weather decides to ruin your trip, the hotel front desk or the person in charge can assist you. However, the phone book is always a sturdy stand by. Look for inside activities, advertisements, and other areas of interest on the spot. Every vacation destination has locals, and every destination has a rainy or cold season. What do the locals do when it’s cold and wet? The phone book and the hotel staff will have these answers. Creativity is key, however, and remember, this is your vacation so trying to accept the unavoidable and enjoying yourself as much as possible is why you are there! Make the most of whatever may happen, and you are guaranteed some interesting vacation memories.
Check Out Time
All good things must come to an end, and vacations do end all too quickly. At checkout time, be sure to double check under the beds, open all drawers, and check the bathroom repeatedly. Pack for leaving the same way you packed for arriving. Hopefully, you saved the Ziplocs! Remember to double check flights, departure times, and arrival times. Repack the cabin bag the same way it was packed for arrival. Then, head home, and distribute pictures of the perfect vacation!