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  • Adriane Weinberg
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Do you know the most popular months to take a vacation? July and August, respectively. June and September follow. I was a little surprised that December wasn’t in the top four, at least from what I read online.

Vacations are supposed to give us relief from the stresses of everyday life. You certainly don’t want your vacation to be stressful! Maybe last time you forgot to bring your medication or were worried that something awful could happen to your house because you hadn’t taken precautions. These nagging thoughts can be quite unsettling when you should be relaxing.

So how do you prepare your summer vacation to make it as trouble-free as possible? Make checklists! To get ready for your trip (not the arrangements for the trip itself), here are 29 essential tips.

Checklist — do a few days ahead

  • Confirm reservations. Get them in writing and bring with you.
  • Decide what to bring for each family member. Make separate lists for each person. Include toiletries, medications, vitamins, sunscreen for warm destinations and so on.
  • Check suitcases and travel gear for usability and pick which ones to use.
  • Decide snacks and games to keep kids occupied while traveling.
  • Give a key to a trusted neighbor to check the house every few days including the outside entry for fliers and packages, a sure sign you’re not home.
  • Print or type your itinerary and make three copies. Keep one and give copies to a family member and the neighbor with your key.
  • Print or type a card with your family’s full names, insurance information, doctors’ names and phone numbers, allergies, health conditions, and emergency contact name and phone number.
  • Decide which electronic devices (with cords and chargers) to bring.
  • Figure out how much cash and which credit, debit, ATM and other cards to bring.
  • Put small valuables in a safety deposit box.
  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery.
  • Arrange care for pets, inside plants and mowing the lawn.
  • Give the alarm company the dates you will be away and how to reach you.
  • Contact your local police to request a vacation check so patrol officers will monitor your house for any unusual activity.

Checklist — do one to two days ahead

  • Pack items from above lists, insurance cards and driver’s license.
  • Remove unnecessary credit, debit and store cards from your wallet.
  • Put the information card in your wallet. In case of emergency, that’s where first responders will look.
  • Put the itinerary in your handbag or wallet so it’s always with you.
  • Toss perishable food.
  • Tidy up so you won’t return to a messy house. 

Checklist — do right before leaving the house

  • Turn off main water line to house to prevent leaks or floods.
  • Adjust thermostat temperature.
  • Unplug small electric appliances such as toaster oven, hairdryer and coffeemaker. (This should be a house rule even when not going on vacation because these devices can spontaneously catch on fire.)
  • Double-check that all appliances are turned off.
  • Set timers to turn lamps on and off at different times.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Set the alarm system.

Safety and general tips

  • While away, do not post on social media your travel plans, photos or updates. Wait until you’re back home to share your adventures. The bad guys scour sites like Facebook and Twitter to see whose houses are empty to rob them.
  • Count the number of bags you’re bringing. Every time you deplane, take a taxi or other transportation, and leave a hotel, recount (adjust for bags added or subtracted) so nothing is forgotten.

Add other items to your lists as you think of them. As you accomplish each task on your checklist, cross or check it off so you don’t duplicate effort. Crossing or checking off tasks actually feels cathartic.

Have a fantastic vacation and create lots of fun memories! Remember to share after returning home.

Product of the Month






4-Device Leather Charging Valet from Sharper Image,

Store and charge up to four devices using the devices’ own cables. It works with any USB device including iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android. The 10″ x 5″ x 1.5″ valet is small and comes in a zippered bag so it’s great for travel. It sells for $79.99. For more information or to order, click here

Notable Quote

What we love to do we find time to do. ~John L. Spalding


Adriane Weinberg

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