Travel Series: Simple & Easy Travel Preparation | VIDEO |

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Hello friends! I hope you are having a beautiful Saturday. I am back with another video in my travel series.....this time simple and easy travel preparation. This is normally the way I plan for any trip. I hope you get some tips to maybe make your next vacation or holiday planning a little easier. Everything you need to know is in the video but there is a ton more info below! Hope you enjoy.




Here's more info that I talked about in the video. All these are tips and tricks that have worked for our family for a very long time. 

File Folder:
We have kept a file folder for almost every trip we have ever took. It a great place to hold all the information and paperwork that you have. Its also a great place for itenarys, etc. It holds all of our packing lists and such that help us though out the planning.  We also like to keep copies of our credit cards, id's, passports just in something happens and we loose something. It also a great idea to give an additional set of the copies to a trusted friend or family member. 

Budget:
Clearly most of us need to budget for most of our trips. Its best to planning asap. Its not always easy. I know emergencies pop up where we can't really plan but if you can just set aside a little money each payday towards a vacation fund, would make things much easier. Vacations such as cruises allow you to make a down payment most times and allow you to make payments on the vacation up until a certain point which is really nice for a lot of families. Another part of the budget is making sure your bills are paid before you leave. It would totally suck to leave for a lovely holiday only to return home to a utility being off. Yea. Pay the bills before hand so you don't have to worry about that. Its also a good idea to go ahead and notify your bank when you do go on vacation. It lets them know that you might have a lot of out of area transactions and its also helps them keep an eye on things. So let them know when you are leaving and when you should be returning. 

Travel Deals:
With this great online world there are a ton of travel deals that you can take advantage of. Be sure to check out trip adviser and yelp to search the areas that you want to visit. Do your homework. Kayak.com is great for airfair and if you are looking for great deals on rooms be sure to check out roomkey.com,getaroom.comhoteltonight.com, rodscolar.com for some of the best online travel deals. When you do bundle airfair and hotel, you normally really maximize your savings. 

Hotels: 
Again do your homework! After you have searched online and think you have found that perfect room for your holiday, step back and really think about what you need and any questions you might have. Don't just put in your card info and get the room before making sure any questions you have are answered. Call!!! Its also very helpful to use hotel reward point systems that allow you to get free rooms and upgrades at times. If you have a pet you are wanting to take, make sure where you are staying allows pets and also don't forget to take $1 and $5 bills for tipping. Its so much easier than digging through your bag to either find no cash only cards or only having a $20. Also if you are taking a big family trip just like we did at Myrtle Beach it might be useful to find a room with a kitchen to help save money with meals. We enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the room most days which really helped cut costs so make sure you get what you want and need. Also after the hotel is booked, I like to go ahead and program the hotel information in your phone just so you don't have fumble for it later when its needed. 

Packing:
I like to really think about the days activities by daytime and evening. Then I go through my packing list that I find right here along with my own to make sure I have everything. I normally lay out all the clothes, undergarments and even my jewelry before packing it in the suitcase. I think its best to try to be a minimalist but take extras like ties and hose that might get a stain or get easily tore up. I like to try to take shoes and sandals that can be wore with more than one outfit just to save space and keep the weight down in the suitcase. I also think investing in extra travel chargers can be a life saver. I don't have a duplicate for every charger yet but I am close! Its so much easier to have extra chargers that just stay with your travel accessories so you don't maybe forget one..this is great. Costly but great to make sure you have all the chargers you need. Finally, I cannot stress the importance of comfortable travel clothes for everyone traveling. I use to travel a lot in heels and can tell you that its never fun trying to run and get through huge airports in heels. No thanks. This is the time for flats and Nikes! :) No one wants to be uncomfortable so make sure everyone is dressed appropriately for travel. 

Medical:
Its always a good idea taking a first aid kit for where you are going. If you are heading to the beach the first aid kit would be a little different than when going hiking in the mountains. Take a look at your first aid kit and give it a update before leaving for holiday. You can find a lot of premade first aid kits but you could make a simple one just using a large ziplock. Its also good to make sure you have full prescriptions before you go. It can be hard getting your prescriptions filled at a out of state pharmacy and if out of the country it might be hard finding a pharmacy all together. So make you you have enough meds for your trip and keep them close. Also be sure to have your health insurance card with you just in case! 

So with all that said I also have a couple more tips about what I do around the house before and after plus a few tips for traveling with kids.

First before leaving, I always consider the following:
  • Housesitter - do you need one? Go check out care.com or find a trusted friend or family member to come sit with your house. 
  • Alarm - Adding a alarm to any house ( rental or not ) will add value plus keep you safe. Having one installed before vacation really will set your mind at ease. Also if you have an alarm, don't forget to notify them that you are leaving so they can keep an extra look out on your property. 
  • Kennel for the animals - If you have animals that are not going, a kennel might be a good option to house them while you are gone. Remember.. a house sitter or kennel should also be budgeted for so you don't get hit with a surprise bill when you return. 
  • Mail - if you are going to be gone more than a day or so, its a good idea to stop the mail. If you have a friend or neighbor you trust you could just have them do it but you don't want important main waiting for you in the lost. Anyone could get it and turn your life upside down by time you get back home. 
  • Social Media - We all do it. Post our vacation plans and pictures on facebook before, during and after our trip telling everyone that you are not home. Post pictures afterwards especially if you don't have a house-sitter or alarm system. 
  • Clean out the frig - we like to eat left overs and get the frig as empty as possible before leaving. Make sure you get rid of all old food so you don't come home to science experiments waiting on you.
  • Plants - if you have plants that are going to need watered, look for a self watering system that you try out before hand or have a family member come water them but don't forget your plants!
  • Temperature - Make sure you turn your heat down to 55 and your air up or off while gone. If you have someone staying or have animals, clearly you would want to keep it comfortable for them. But if possible turn your system off before leaving to be more safe and also to save money. 
  • Windows - Our alarm system tells us if a window is unlocked but its always always a good idea before leaving to lock the windows and even double check before heading out the door. 
  • Laundry - I like to make sure the laundry is caught up before leaving so my washer and dyer are empty for our arrival back home. 
  • Trash - I always always take out all the trash before leaving. 
  • Electronics  one of the last things I always do before leaving it make sure to unplug all the electronics and appliances that will not be needed while we are gone. Why let all that stuff suck energy out of your home if your not going to be there? Plus its also safer. Its amazing how much all of us have plugged in that we don't use on a daily basis.
Arriving Home: 

Once we arrive home its normally a hectic crazy time. I have a few things that I normally do as soon as we get home.


  • Laundry - Laundry is always something I start the minute I get home....which is why I want my washer and dryer empty before leaving. 
  • Air out the house. I hate coming home to a stuffy house so normally if the weather is good, I just air it out for a few minutes. It always helps! 
  • I normally do a quick shopping trip but we always keep items in the freezer and pantry that we could use if I don't make it to the store the same day we arrive home. 
  • Plug in electronics as needed. Again...you will probably be amazed at how much stuff you don't use that is actually plugged in. I only plug them in as needed. 
  • Upload and post pictures to social media. Now is the right time to share all those pictures from that wonderful family vacation you just got back from! :)

A few more tips for traveling with kids
  • Talk about the trip beforehand. Show them online where you are going to get them excited and help take away some of the anxiety that they might get about going to a new place.
  • Let them help pack. Get them involved. 
  • Make sure depending on the age of the kids going, to have travel activities. Its hard on adults to take long car rides or flights so you can imagine how hard it could be on a child. Make sure you have some simple activities to pass the time easier. 
  • If they are in school you might want to see what work they can do while they are gone so they don't come back a ton of makeup work to do. 
  • Summer homework. I think its always a good idea to give them a little homework or maybe a scavenger hunt on vacation too. This is just another way to add in some summer vacation education to your trip. 
  • Walkie Talkies - If your kids don't have phones or even if they do but they are out of range, say on a cruise or something walkie talkies are great. You can find them almost anywhere and it will give you peace of mind if you are taking kids on vacation. 
  • Extra Clothes - I always always take extra clothes for the kids. With kids, anything can happen so make sure to take plenty of clothes! 
  • Meals - Don't forget that you will have to budget a little more for meals and such if you are taking your kids. Check into where they can eat free or at a discount in the area you are going. 
  • Buddy System - This world is scary and has a lot of dangerous people in it. I like making the kids use the buddy system if they are going to be doing somethings without you. Even if its just brothers and sisters, they still have to stick to the buddy system if they are not with us. Its just safer. 
  • Rules - kids need limits so be sure to establish all the rules and guidelines before arriving. I like to put them on a large sticky pad and hang them up in the room after discussing them. Its just a simple reminder of what is allowed and what is not allowed. 

If you have any travel prep tips I would love to hear from you! Leave the below if you care to share. :)  I will be back in a bit with another vacation video! Stay tuned. 



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