Guest Post by: Smile As It Happens
For many people, the impending arrival of spring break heralds the beginning of vacation time. Whether you’re taking time off from work or school for a relaxing getaway, it’s important to plan things carefully so that your trip goes off without a hitch. Here are a few tips that can help.
Get the Gear
As spring looms just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about taking your beach towel and sandals out of winter storage. Although it feels like just the other day that stores had their Christmas stock available, most retailers have wasted no time in rolling out the newest product lines in preparation for spring. And while you might find it impossible to find a new winter jacket this time of year, you’re almost guaranteed to find exactly what you need for a spring break vacation. Most stores are already displaying an array of swimsuits, sandals, sunglasses and beach towels for your selection. Besides making for a fun day at the mall, shopping ahead of time for your vacation gear will help ensure that you can find everything you need in the fashions and sizes that suit you, long before the stock is picked over.
Considerations at Home
You might be going on vacation for a week or two, but what about the home and possessions you’re leaving behind? Is there someone who is willing to care for any pets you might have? Have you made arrangements to have your mail held while you’re gone? Even though you’re undoubtedly excited at the prospect of time away from your hectic lifestyle, these are important issues that beg consideration.
These basic arrangements should be considered long before you start fantasizing about sandy beaches, warm sunshine, and piña coladas. To be sure you don’t miss something important, sit down and create a list of all the things that will need to be taken care of while you’re gone. After you’ve completed your list, start calling around to friends and family to see if anyone is willing to feed the fish, walk the dog or serve as an emergency contact. As for your mail, you can usually notify your local post office that you’re leaving for vacation and have them hold it until you get back.
When you’re planning to be gone for more than a few days, it’s easy to feel compelled to take everything but the kitchen sink. After all, you want to be prepared for any occasion that might present itself. However, chances are good that you won’t need the vast majority of those things, and the extra clutter will make it impossible to find what you do need. Over-packing is among the most common issues that can complicate travel. If you’re flying to your destination, you should be aware that most airlines charge exorbitant fees to check your luggage. These fees usually start at $25 for the first two checked bags, and may be as high as $75 each for each additional bag.
Further causing a hassle, don’t forget that you will eventually be forced to carry around your heavy luggage after arriving. You can avoid this problem entirely by keeping a practical mindset when packing. Take only those things you honestly think you’ll need like your beach gear, a few outfits, your camera, a phone charger, and maybe a good novel to read. Airlines have regulations about the sizes of liquid-filled containers, so bring travel sizes when possible. I keep all of my shampoos and toiletries in a cosmetic case I bought from Personal Creations last year. It has clear compartments, so security personnel can easily assess its contents.
Become Familiar With the Airport
If you’re counting on air travel to get you to your vacation spot, be aware that every airport is different. It’s important to get an idea of the airport’s layout before you leave home. This can help you understand where you need to go and help you avoid getting lost and missing your flight. In addition, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of air travel. Wear shoes or sandals that you can remove easily, and place any toiletries or supplements where you’ll be able to find them during security checkpoints. Also, try to find out what items aren’t allowed on the plane and leave those at home. This will not only speed up the boarding process, but will help prevent any embarrassing searches.
Before I had kids, transportation from the airport to the hotel was never something I planned for ahead of time. One hour of waiting for a taxi with a cranky, one-year-old, however; and I had learned my lesson. A lot of airports and hotels offer some type of transportation service to your final destination, but you need to take it upon yourself to cut down on wait time by learning the schedule for this service, and writing down the necessary phone numbers. Call your hotel ahead of time to learn what services they offer and how to organize a ride. If they don’t provide any, do your kids a favor and call a cab long in advance.
Most Importantly, Have Fun
Think you’ve looked over your checklist enough? Check it one more time. It’s amazing how one, tiny detail can destroy an entire vacation. I don’t mean to scare you, readers, but I can guarantee you’ll thank me eventually. When everything is said and done, and you couldn’t possibly plan another thing, it’s time to relax. That is, after all, the point of planning a vacation in the first place and, because of your preparation, you’re sure to enjoy every last minute of it. Enjoy!
About Emma from Smile As It Happens
Emma Banks has done her fair share of traveling for school, for business, and for leisure. Now a wife and mother, she continues to travel, and uses her past experience to plan ahead and prevent a vacation disaster.