10 Smart Things To Do Before Leaving for Summer Vacations
It's getting to that point in the summer when school is right around the corner so we squeeze every last drop of summer we can by booking vacations all the way up to when school finally begins again. And while summer is a break for many, it's also chaos for some and somehow everything about our late summer vacations becomes "last minute." This includes packing the night - or even hours - before departure, and a panicked scurry around the house trying to do the bare minimum so that your house is still standing when you return. Well, NO MORE, I say to the panicked pre-vacation that ultimately sets a bad tone for your happy time away. Behold a Top Ten list made with you in mind to keep your ducks in a row and keep your stress to inexistent.
1. Put your mail on hold - or better yet, have a trustworthy neighbor pick it up and hold it for you.
This should be the most basic and obvious item on our countdown seeing as it is one of the easiest ways for theives and other predators to know that you're not in town, giving them plenty of time and opportunity to get whatever they might want in your home. That said, be sure to pack away any items worth putting out of plain sight. Why bait the fish, right?
2. Pay those bills!
If you go on vacation at the end of July and will be gone over your big due date, your rent and mortgage payments will not care that you took off to spend the week in the tropics. Check all your bills a couple of weeks out and get those babies paid ahead of schedule so you don't wake up in a cold sweat on vacation when it's too late.
3. Service your vehicles.
This one might seem a little extreme, but checking oil levels, tire wear, and battery life may save you worlds of pain departing or arriving back home. Easier said than done? Oil can be checked from the hood of the car. Tire wear and tear can be evaluated using a simple explanation from Firestone Tires, "Place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln's head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining." and click here to find out how you can tell if your car battery might be dying or need replacement.
4. Only bring the NECESSARY.
This includes everything from clothes to shoes to credit cards/check books to food - almost everything! This is why we pack and plan ahead of time. So that you don't get stuck with hundreds of dollars of checked bag and weight limit penalties. This is ALSO why checklists were invented. 🙂
5. Turn up the AC (summer) or down the heat (winter).
It's pretty self explanatory conserving energy and costs, but often an item forgotten by many.
6. Take out the trash. All the way out.
There's absolutely no reason trash should sit in an idle house for days on end. Come home to pleasant smells! This might also include cleaning out the leftover take-out in your fridge and all other perishable items sure to go bad during your trip.
So maybe push this to the very end of your checklist if you're someone who puts off cleaning like teenagers put off doing laundry, but hear me out: coming back from vacation is hard enough, so why not make a little paradise to come back to?!
8. Pack smart - and not the night before.
As someone who has routinely underestimated the sanctity of this rule, I can tell you it's not worth having 10 different options for each outfit you plan. Pick and stick! Stick with your pre-planned outfits and keep the extras to a minimum. Your suitcase, wallet, and traveling companions will all thank you later.
9. Pre-plan snacks & meals.
Airports and eating out for every meal adds up, so by planning ahead with snacks and easy on-the-go meals you'll keep it a cost-effective trip, and probably a healthier one at that.
10. Find a packing checklist you like...and USE IT!
The internet, and Pinterest namely, is filled with helpful tools and checklists to do the brainstorming for you and keep you on track for the most stress-free summer vacation of your dreams. Plus, with some research you can even try to find packing checklists specific to wherever you're going if it's a common destination! They really do think of it all, don't they...