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Vay-cay-shun baby! Time to get ready! Part II

2010-01-13 - 10:49 a.m.

So today Iím building on the steps I follow when getting ready for vacation that I listed in my previous post, which were:
1) Research
2) Make a list Ė not just of what to bring but what you need to do, like arrange for plants to be watered and mail to be taken in
3) Search your house for what youíve got
4) Shop for what you donít got (or know you have but canít find, dammit!)
5) Lay out everything in piles beside the bags
6) Pack
7) Groom
8) Lay out your clothes to wear and put bags, etc. in designated area ready to leave the house.

Hereíre the deetsÖ

1) Research
When do I start this? Well, Iíd say you technically start when you decide what kind of vacation you want Ė beach? Spa? Humanitarian volunteer experience? Dude ranch? Ė and your budget, and you want to investigate the options available. Once you know at least the rough location you really should look into what you might need to have in the way of shots, etc. for there, and the sooner the better. For example, a full course of Twinrix takes 6 months to fully protect you against hepatitis A and B, and itís recommended for a whole whack of tropical destinations. The good news is that I think you can get away with only two before you go, which only take a month Ö just donít forget to get that third since two only protect you for a year, but the full 3 shots means youíre good-to-go for 18 years. Big difference!

2) Make a list Ė not just of what to bring but what you need to do, like arrange for plants to be watered and mail to be taken in, visas to be applied for/passports to be renewed, etc.

For items I intend to pack, I make a list with one column segmented into sections - ďgeneralĒ and for each person - then split the next two columns to designate which items go into carry-on (including things youíll actually wear enroute), and which should be in your checked luggage, with a separate section to give me space to put a checkmark as these things are packed. Iíll share a few items Ė heck, maybe my whole list Ė in the next post, if youíre curious.

3) Search your house for what youíve got
Itís the dead of winterÖ now where the heck did I put that snorkel mask? Give yourself some time to ferret out items that you know you own before giving up and purchasing new ones.

4) Shop for what you donít got (or know you have but canít find, dammit!); borrow what you can
Yeah, itís not easy to find your aqua socks in your basement, but youíve turned it upside-down and further frustration just ainít worth it. And boy, while youíre shopping anyway, could you ever use some extra storage for your cameraÖ

5) Lay out everything in piles beside the bags
Donít just pack it as you go along! You need to be able to check that all-important list in one shot.

6) Pack
Yay! Finally!

7) Groom
Youíre going for a week and you will be wearing a bathing suit and in lots of pictures. Rather than make your family wait while you insist on busting out the razor before hitting the pool, do everyone a favour: if you have any personal grooming routines that donít have to be done daily Ė Iím talking cutting your nails and shaving, waxing, etc. of various body parts (if you know what I mean, and I think you do Ė take the time to do it the night before you go. Likewise if you want to give yourself the best chance at pictures with everyone looking as you like them to, get a haircut/dye your hair/trim the kidsí bangs in the week leading up to your departure. If you donít care about you or your kids looking a little wild, you know you wonít be in front of the camera, or you perpetually live in a state of camera-readiness anyway, then donít bother, obviously.

8) Lay out your clothes to wear and put bags, etc. in designated area ready to leave the house.
Your bags are packed, youíre ready to go Ö and you have to get up at a godawful time to get to the airport. Make sure you have all your bags in one place (I canít pack the car too much ahead of time in the winter here because everythingíll freeze, so I designate an area beside the front door) for quick car-packing. Laying out clothes for yourself and your kids, and a few non-perishable breakfast items/snacks for the car before you go to bed, will also make things go smoother in the morning.

I know this sounds like a lot of prep, but I am a list-maker (I will add stuff that Iíve already done to a list: it captures it for referring to next time I do the same sort of activity, and I have the satisfaction of being able to check things off right away) and Iíve really found that following this process definitely helps me relax and enjoy myself when it counts Ė when Iím actually there on vacation!

Before - After


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