Getting ready for a family car trip need not be stressful. The secret is a little advance planning and then go with the flow. Remember back to family vacations in your childhood? The best memories are probably silly "Griswald" experiences and family time spent together.
Clear off work responsibilities in advance so that you aren't getting text messages or cell phone calls while away. Your job will still be waiting for you when you get back!
PLAN & BUDGET
· Anticipation is half the fun - anticipate the best, but plan for the worst.
· Assign everyone a couple of "get ready to go" tasks.
· Arrange pet care while away or if travelling with your pet make sure they can handle a long car ride.
· Estimate how far you'll travel each day so you can book campsites or motel rooms in advance.
· A blow up pool is a convenient substitute as a toddler bed instead of renting a cot.
· Pack a small flashlight or nightlight to navigate in dark bedrooms.
· Well in advance order a "trip tik" from CAA or go on the Internet to plan your route around construction zone detours.
· Have a summer tune up done on the car, check all fluid levels and inflate the tires.
· Collect maps of the areas you'll visit and purchase or borrow a portable GPS navigational system.
· Ensure that you have your license, ownership and insurance documents.
· Lock all doors, windows and the garage.
· Install automatic timers with random settings on lights and radios so the house seems lived in.
· Leave a key with a trusted relative or neighbour to check on the house. Ask them to put out some garbage on collection day.
· Have the grass cut and the plants and lawn watered.
· Have the papers, flyers and mail removed.
· Create a comprehensive packing checklist that you can use again next year.
· Pack one overnight bag so the whole car doesn't have to be unpacked each day.
· Limit each child's belongings to one backpack or duffel bag. Teenaged girls tend to bring every accessory they own and boys over pack electronic toys.
· Pack double duty items - a big blouse can double as a top, shirt, housecoat or beach cover. Zip lock bags are indispensable for snacks, wet bathing suits or as a carsick bag.
· Limit high tech toys and substitute old fashioned fun such as a Frisbee, deck of cards, crossword and wordsearch books and magnetic games like Scrabble.
· Carry a selection of CDs in a portable case, some for each age group. Or listen to books on tape.
· Bring along books and magazines to catch up on reading.
· Remember the camera and video ensuring you have all the cables and chargers.
· Record daily events in a trip journal.
· List all medication, health card numbers and allergies.
· Reapply sunscreen frequently and keep it away from upholstery.
· Wear sunglasses and cover-ups to prevent sunburn from UVB rays.
· Replenish the first aid kit and include antibacterial hand lotion and motion sickness medication.
· Instead of lugging pillows around, stuff pillowcases with beach towels for a back seat snooze.
· Pack plenty drinks - bottled water or tetra packs of juice.
· Keep napkins, paper towels or wet wipes for quick clean ups.
© 2007, Karen Sencich, Professional Organizer, Speaker and Writer