You might as well call us the Griswolds. Every year, we take at least one major road trip. Many times it is to our far-away homes and then sometimes it is exploring a new region. Because of this, I have learned that taking some time up-front to organize our vacation, makes it much more enjoyable for me in the long run. I hope you enjoy this Vacation Planner. There are checklists galore, from what to do before you leave to what to pack in your snack box to keep everyone content. You will find it all here.
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1. Stop mail and newspaper.
2. Plug lights into automatic timer.
3. Turn off water-heater.
4. Put pine-sol in toilets and turn off the water (between tank and wall).
5. Tape fridge &/or freezer shut (I have never done this, but it is a great idea)
6. Turn up your air-conditioner.
7. Turn on your alarm system.
8. Make sure your batteries in fire detectors are working.
9. Give your car an overall once-over (oil, water, windshield washer fluid, tires, etc.)
10. Don’t forget to give a trusted neighbor a key and tell them your schedule & leave numbers.
11. Hold your newspaper at the post office and schedule it to be delivered the day your return. (You can do this on the USPS website)
12. Put your newspaper on vacation mode. A big pile of newspapers at the end of your driveway just spells trouble.
I make a binder for road trips. It includes:
1. Customizable Vacation Checklist – As everyone has different items to pack, this is a great template that will help you print out your own packing list. This is a more in-depth packing list, if you are packing for a family. This one is great, too! (I never think I need a list. But, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. This helps me remember the bathing suits, shoes, pj’s or toothbrushes, I would have otherwise (& have!) forgotten. 😉
2. Passwords & account numbers that I may need away from home
3. Map – printed out, so I don’t have to rely on cell coverage far from civilization
4. Nearby activities at destination
5. Menu, grocery shopping list & recipes
6. Map of destination area
7. List of activities when the kids start going crazy in the backseat
8. Packet for receipts (it’s great to be able to look back and see what you really spent)ACTIVITIES IN THE CAR:
1. A binder for each small person. Include things that are their age level, pertaining to vacation destination.
2. Maps, so the kids can follow along on the ride.
3. Great Games – Car bingo, Bananagrams, Spot It! Travel Edition, etc.
4. Mad Gab
4. Coloring pages, printable games, etc… there is NO END to fun printables online. My daughter loves paper dolls and my son loves the minecraft paper crafts. Both are easily found online for free.
5. Spending money. This is great fun for the kids when you stop at a rest-area or gas station.
6. A new book
7. Movies & electronics
Here are some items I consider “must packs:”
• Sanitizing wipes – For hands, spills and hotel rooms, pack travel size packs in each of your children’s backpacks.
• Sponges – Take a sponge and cut it into 2-inch strips then moisten and place in a Ziplock. These will be handy for quick washing of water bottles, children’s cups, faces and more.
• Earphones – Pack one set per person. Use with the electronics they bring along or for airplane entertainment.
• Gum – Take along several packages of gum to help prevent ear pain in little ones.
• First aid – Create or purchase a mini-first aid kit complete with bandages, antiseptic wipes and children’s & adult’s pain relievers/medications.
• Plastic sealable bags – Pack extra, empty Ziploc in the various sizes. They come in handy for dividing snacks, storing liquids, wet items and more.
• Reusable shopping bag – Great to use as a beach bag or laundry bag and for day trips and bringing home souvenirs in, if you run out of space in your suitcase.
• Plastic grocery bags – Stuff a couple in your carry-on bag just in case you need them for garbage or soiled clothing.
Keep your budget healthy & your tummy feeling good. Build your own healthy snack box & add in a few fun things that you normally wouldn’t purchase for the trip.
1. Frozen juice boxes, water bottles, or other favorite drinks.
2. Antibacterial wipes
3. Home made Chex Mix, popcorn or nuts. Something salty and crunchy.
4. Home made Chocolate Chip cookies or your families favorite treat. Home made granola bars would be great, too.
5. Cut up fruit & veggies – Easy to transport fruits/veggies such as celery sticks, baby carrots, frozen grapes & frozen blueberries are all easy to bring along and they don’t get easily bruised.
ACTIVITIES WHILE CAMPING (a.k.a. Make Some Memories!)
click on these links for awesome project ideas – you will need to bring along a few basic items (which are listed on each craft) – for most of the crafts, you will need to take a walk in the woods and gather rocks, sticks, leaves and acorns.
Camping Scavenger Hunt List
All you need for this is just a list printed out for every “hunter” and a brown paper bag.
|1. Pinecone||6. Acorn|
|2. Smooth river stone||7. Bird feather|
|3. A Maple Leaf||8. Rock that looks like an arrowhead|
|4. Sand||9. Winged seed (like maple, dandelion, etc..)|
|5. An Oak Leaf||10. A rock that looks like an animal|
|Bonus #1: A bird nest||Bonus #2: An antler|
Photo Scavenger Hunt List
Everyone takes their cell phones and this list into the woods and captures as many of these pics as possible.
|1. Hollow log||6. Tallest tree you can see|
|2. Climbing a tree||7. Wildlife (extra credit for the best pics!)|
|3. An Oak Tree||8. A Pine Tree & team members|
|4. A boot print||9. Animal tracks|
|5. Animal scat (ewwwww!)||10. Swinging on a vine|
|Bonus #1: A bird in flight||Bonus #2: A beaver dam|
|**All group members must be in at least 1 picture!!**|
Do you have some great ideas to share with our community? We would love to hear from you in the comments. Please feel free to include a link to your blog as well, if you have one.
Have a happy & fun vacation with your family this summer! I hope this vacation planner has simplified your planning as well as encouraging you to “make some memories” with your family.
God bless, Kristen