Summer is here. You can feel it. School is over, children are out riding their bicycles and birds are singing from dawn until dark. What an amazing time of year. Summer vacations can take on many forms; major trips, several weekend jaunts or even a staycation. Whatever the format it takes, taking a vacation is one of the most important things we can do for our family and ourselves. With a little planning and organization you can pull off a stress-free, fun-filled trip.
So you decided on a family vacation?
Take the stress and disorganization out of the vacation planning. Create a binder using various tabs for all your ideas and inspirations for your itinerary, or if you are techier then sites like Evernote or Springpad are great for compiling vacation ideas.
WHO – is going?
WHAT – what does the vacation look like to you? To your children? What is your budget?
WHERE – camping, cottage vacation, resort or a staycation?
WHY – no explanation required.
WHEN – when is the right time for a vacation for you and your family? Do you have hockey camps or other activities you have to work around?
HOW – how far in advance should you plan? How are you going to get there? Finally, what are the steps you need to follow to make it happen?
Planning – Whatever vacation you choose to take, the planning at the start of it is crucially important. Failing to plan for a trip can leave a family very disorganized and frazzled. There are many great vacation checklists that are available online for no charge. Websites like Packing Lists Online allows you to customize your trip; who is going, what style of vacation, what activities are you planning, who is going, and what to take care of before you leave. Genius! If you are more traditional paper and pen, checkout Knock Knock’s travel checklist. Although these check lists covers almost everything, things like meals, activities and attractions are usually missing from these checklists. Ensure you give yourself enough lead time to organize these aspects of your vacation.
Vacation is not just about going away anymore. Staycations are a pretty big trend, a great way to stay close to home and save money, as well as a great way to reconnect with your family. Also, if there are any hockey camps planned for the summer, this route allows both to be achieved. These family vacations can be near free if organized and planned correctly. Here are some great tips from Real Simple on how to plan a Staycation.
Packing – If you are flying, consult your airline’s website to verify checked baggage limit, as well as acceptable amounts for carryon. Again, sites like www.packinglistonline.com will help you customize your packing list, however, it is still mindful to keep in mind the following when packing.
- If you are traveling with a partner you might consider packing half of each person’s things in the other’s bag.
- Pack only versatile clothes, only pack clothes that fit in the “I will definitely wear it”. Try to pack neutral colours. Roll your clothes, you will be able to fit more in.
- Pack in zones; money & valuables, clothing, toiletries, last minute items/carry-on.
- Pare down shoes. They are heavy! Choose a few pairs that can multitask.
- Carry a change of clothing and some toiletries in your carryon, just in-case your luggage goes to a different destination than you do.
- Finally, look at what you have laid out and then half it.
If you are driving again you are limited to the space that your vehicle allows. Although you may be more inclined to not feel the need to pare down your suitcase, remember, the heavier your vehicle the higher your gas consumption. Keeping your things (such as food, music and beach items) in individual containers sold at stores like Target. Keeping these items contained not only keep the car organized, easy to locate but it also acts as a safety measure to prevent loose items flying through the vehicle in the case of an accident.
Travel – If you are flying, kids aren’t the only ones that airline travel can take a toll on. Replicate what you would do for the kid’s comfort when travelling. Ensure you pack yourself snacks, drinks and something you enjoy –books, magazines, audio books, DVDs, and water.
If you are driving, the subject of packing the car for travel is a whole other article in itself; I highly recommend you check out the fantastic blog iHeartorganizing for great tips. For other tips to pass the time in the car check out my precious article “Road Tripping”.
Some other things to keep in mind – Don’t forget your pets, plants, yard and home. Arrange to have pets boarded or cared for by a friend, and water houseplants well before leaving, or set up a time-released watering system, suggest our friends at The Container Store. To help keep burglars at bay, set timers on the interior and exterior lights in your home. Check your local ads for concierge services; their business is to help you with the little things, so you can enjoy your time with your family.
Favourite Organizing Products for Travel – There are so many more, these are just a few.
|Shelves to go are an easy way to keep your suitcase organized and your clothes unwrinkled.|
|Charge your electronics wherever you are. The XD Design Window solar charger sticks to the inside of a glass windowpane, so that the PV panel gets maximum exposure to the sun.|
|Grid-It, it s a great way to keep all of your electronics and accessories organized.|
|These caddies from Thirty-One are great multi-purpose pieces. They can be used for makeup, shower products, or even for the back of the car housing kids activities.|
Best Apps for travel – With technology what it is today there are literally hundreds of apps and online sites that will help make your family vacation organized and a success. Departures magazine and Yahoo finance have done a great job compiling a lists of the top travel apps. If you try any of these comment below on your experience.