Summer is the classic time for a family car trip. But you don’t want to come home feeling like you need a vacation after your vacation! Use these tips and strategies to help your family head out smoothly and return home refreshed.
Along with the usual tasks of arranging for house sitting or child care, make sure you have attended to these often-overlooked items:
- Service your car well in advance in case you need unexpected repairs.
- Inform your credit card company that you are traveling. Sometimes fraud departments freeze activity on your card if they see charges from unexpected locations.
- If you are traveling with small children, make sure your hotel room configuration allows for separate bedtimes for the adults and kids. Even if you have a suite, you should still clarify whether the sleeping areas will be separate.
Maximize economy and efficiency with these packing strategies:
- A week before you leave, produce a written packing list so you can start gathering items as they occur to you. You can generate lists based on the type of trip you specify, whether it’s camping or a trip to the beach, at www.dontforgetyourtoothbrush.com.
- Along with checking the weather, remember that museums, theaters and restaurants are often quite chilly. Pack a light sweater or sweatshirt for each person so you’ll be comfortable.
- Carrying a permanent marker can be very helpful to label drink bottles and souvenirs.
- Pack some fun activities for the car to alleviate the dreaded backseat boredom. You can print license plate bingo cards and find lots of other ideas at http://www.momsminivan.com/.
- We love audiobooks! The whole family can share the experience of a book together. Find audiobooks on CD at your local Goodwill® stores, or visit your local library.
- Pack a cooler with some favorite sandwiches and drinks to lessen the number of stops and save money. Research the most scenic and fun places to picnic along the way.
- A “power inverter” from your local electronic supply store allows your car lighter outlet to accept regular wall plugs, avoiding the need for special car chargers for all of your devices.
Make a gentler re-entry by considering these points:
- Resist the urge to bring home things you do not need. Take a few moments when packing for home to ask yourself if items like hotel soaps and shampoos are really necessary, and have a storage place in mind for new items. Remember, clutter starts by first bringing it into the house!
- Unpack right away so you can feel at home as quickly as possible. Many of our organizing clients have stashes of unpacked bags they have procrastinated handling.
- Make sure you plan for time to deal with mail, email messages, and other tasks that have accumulated during your absence.
- If you follow the “One In, One Out” rule, make a donation to Goodwill for each new thing you brought home! Find your nearest donation center here.
Taking time to plan means the difference between a stressful ordeal and a relaxing retreat. Organize yourself and reap the rewards!