At 5:30pm next Friday, Slade and I will officially be on vacation for a week!
We have been planning this vacation since December. Normally, I feel like time passes at a snail's pace when you're looking forward to something. Yet, these past few months have went by pretty darn quickly.
Our original plan was to go to Branson, Missouri for a few days to spend some time in the mountains. We were going to fly up, but after thinking about it, we decided to drive so we would not only save some money, but be able to make stops on the way up and back. Our final itinerary looks something like this:
Neither of us have been to any of these cities yet (other than Jacksonville), and we are really excited to have a vacation that is a good balance of exploration, relaxation, and of course...good food. (Please let me know if you have any "must do's" for any of these places!)
I feel like the time leading up to vacation can always be a bit stressful, just because there are so many details to confirm and preparations to be made. Since we are just over a week away from leaving, we obviously have all of the major details sorted, but there are still some smaller details that need attention.
I have put together a list of things that could and should be done when you are preparing for any vacation. These are basics that can apply to any type of trip. Since we only have nine more days to prepare, I'm talking about nine tasks to check off of your list.
1. Double confirm your transportation.
We are taking my car on this trip. Something I have been reminding myself to do for weeks is get my oil changed, so I made an appointment to go do that this weekend. I also need to wash and detail my car, because it currently has lots of little Bell hairs throughout the interior, and several Bell licks on the windows. Other than these things, my car is in good shape and ready to go! Moral of the story is, make sure your car is ready to make the trip. If you're not taking your own vehicle, make sure to confirm your rental car or flight arrangements.
2. Confirm pet care arrangements.
Our cat Rizzo is the easy part of this equation. She is independent and easy to care for so she will be spending the week with Slade's mom in Jacksonville. Bell, on the other hand, is a bit harder to find arrangements for. Luckily, my cousin Nathan, who is a college student, will be house/Bell sitting for us during the entire time we are gone. That way, Bell will be in the environment she is used to and everything she will need will be at his fingertips. So, whether you have a house-sitter or your pets stay at a kennel or with family, just confirm that those plans are in place.
3. Identify any extra items you need to buy.
Make a packing list and think about everything you're going to need to bring with you. Then, think about things that may be missing from that list. I discovered that there are a couple of things I need to pick up...a strapless bra (for some of the shirts I want to wear) and a new pair of workout pants (since we will be doing some hiking in Branson and all of mine are super worn out). It's so much easier to think ahead than to discover what you're missing while packing.
4. Try to solidify an itinerary.
Slade and I have already decided that we don't want to have every second of every day scheduled. However, there are a lot of options for things to do and places to eat in each city that we're going to. We want to decide on the attractions we want to do for certain ahead of time. This ensures that you feel like you're making the most of your time, and also that you won't just be aimlessly wandering around and wasting time trying to decide what to do.
5. Confirm your accommodations.
Whether you are staying at a hotel, or with family or friends, make sure your reservations have been solidified. If you aren't paying ahead of time, it also never hurts to get an exact cost of what you will be paying upon arrival. Being prepared makes the process so much easier!
6. Scrutinize your budget.
Traveling can get expensive if you're not paying attention to what you're spending. Go ahead and sit aside any costs that you will need for attractions/gas/etc. Setting a ballpark figure for what you want to spend on food never hurts either. If you haven't paid for your accommodations yet, don't forget to deduct that from your total amount as well.
7. Take a look at your route.
Sitting down to do an overlook of your trip can be super helpful, especially if you're going somewhere that is unfamiliar to you. This will also help you decide on the most efficient routes. Even if you're just going to the airport, knowing how to get there in advance could avoid you missing your flight.
8. Clean your house.
You're probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but hear me out. If you clean your house a couple of days before you leave, you will have a clean space to come home to. When you get home, you're going to be tired, and the last thing you want is an additional stressor. In our case, we will have someone staying in our home while we are gone, so it's also the polite thing to do, ha ha.
9. Make a playlist.
What is the best way to pass time in the car or on a plane? Music and podcasts, of course. Sit down and make a playlist of all of the songs and podcasts you want to listen to on the road. Give yourself a variety to keep things lively. What are some of your favorite things to listen to when traveling? Tell me in the comments!
Bonus: Get excited!
If you're more stressed than excited for your trip, you need to change that. Get all of these necessary things done, and you will already feel more at ease. Traveling is supposed to be fun! Vacation is supposed to be rejuvenating. Don't let your anxiety ruin that!
Do you do these things before a trip? What additional precautions do you take?