And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vacation Prep

Are you taking a trip this summer? We are! Yay! We try to do a little something each summer but we haven't had a big, long vacation in several years so we are very excited. I have a few tips to make your vacation even more relaxing:

*Make a list of things you need to buy before you go. I like to pick up a few things in the weeks ahead of time (just one or two extras each shopping trip) and then to make one final trip to the store a few days before we depart to get anything else we've thought of. One thing that makes this easier is keeping a list AFTER each trip. You will think of things that you wish you had brought/ purchased/ done before the trip and if you keep a list it will help you on your next vacation.

*Pack snack bags. This goes along with the trip because you may need to buy some snacks and drinks for a cooler for the road trip. I also like to make each child a bag with their name on it and fill it with leftover candy from Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Halloween.....surely that Halloween candy is still good right?

*Start packing suitcases about 4-5 days before you leave. This gives you time to wash all your laundry and again gives you time to add in things you may initially forget. I also start bags in the bathroom, kitchen, and if we are going to a warm, sunny destination I make a separate bag of swimwear and gear.

*In addition to their snack bags, I allow each child to pack an "entertainment" bag. They charge their electronic device (DS, Kindle, portable DVD player, whatever your kid enjoys) and then place it in their own backpack with notebook, pens, books, small toys, and their snack bag. This eliminates arguing, boredom, and begging for snacks at every stop. I've told you before we LOVE audio books so we take some of those along as well.

*Speaking of audio books, we borrowed some from a friend this time. Never hesitate to ask friends to borrow items. I'd rather borrow from a friend and replace if there is an issue than to worry about losing library books (we return them all before we go) or buying everything new. Awesome friend also lent us a wagon that folds up just for the beach. Woohoo! That's a huge savings for us, will be totally useful, and wasn't a burden on the friend because it was just sitting in her closet.

*Keep a calendar of events happening during the dates you will be away and call before you leave to let others know you won't be able to make it. For us this included things like choir, ball, church activities, etc. It's just common courtesy to let others know if you can't participate in an activity or event.

*Speaking of letting others know, you shouldn't tell Facebook but it's a good idea to let Grandma know you are going to be away. Family members and friends that are in regular contact may need to know you will be gone. You don't want anyone to unnecessarily worry or send the police to break down your door if you are gone. Now I know we all carry cell phones but if you are going on a family vacation it is a great time to turn it off or put it down for awhile.

*If you are a homeschooling family, you need to decide beforehand if you will:
     A) Do schoolwork while you are gone. On some trips we take a backpack and work while we are away.
     B) Incorporate school into the trip with field trips to museums, nature reserves, etc. We've also done this and it is always lots of fun. Many field trip friendly places have printables or info on their website to enhance your learning experience.
     C) Take a true vacation (homeschoolers are always learning even if it isn't planned ya know)

*If you are a blogger, you should keep a close eye on your blog and schedule accordingly. If you do book or product reviews try to schedule shipments around your trip. Sometimes this doesn't work as it should and packages will arrive or reviews will be due while you are gone. Enlist a neighbor or friend to take care of your packages (or put a hold on deliveries) and work with the sponsor to post your review early or late. Don't forget you can pre-write posts and set them to future post.

*Last but not least look for coupons, events, and deals before you go. Scour the internet for 30 minutes and see what you can find! There is a wealth of information available about restaurants, entertainment venues, grocery stores, and more. You might be surprised by what you find and how much you can save!

What are your BEST vacation tips? Share in the comments.

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