Planning a family vacation can be a bit stressful. It always helps to have a list of things to do before vacation so I don’t forget anything and get it all done. I go back to this list of things to do before vacation with kids for every vacation and it helps me stay on track and spend more time excited for some family vacation time.
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I find it best to designate a place in your house where you can collect things you will need for your vacation. Add to the spot as you go so you are ready when it is time to pack. Also keep a sheet of paper close by to make a list about last minute things. I have a great vacation planning guide for you to print at the end of this post or sign up for it here.
Family Vacation Checklist: 8 Things to Get Us Ready for Vacation
#1 Keep Your House in Order
- Have your mail held by the post office. You can set it up here. They will deliver all your mail the day your return or whenever you set it up. You also have the option to pick it up at the post office. If you have any other house deliveries like newspaper or packages place a hold on them or arrange a friend to pick them up.
- Check that all doors and windows are locked. If you have a home alarm system set that up and call to let them know you will be out of town.
- Lower your heat. Do NOT turn it off in the winter months because your pipes could freeze. We typically turn our heat to around 58 when we are out of town. If you have AC turn it off. Most thermostats have a timer. Set it to a few hours before you return home and your house will be ready for you.
- Tell a neighbor or friend that you will be gone and ask them to drive by your house or stop in and check things out.
- Turn off computer/appliances. Unplug anything that doesn’t need to be plugged in. If you have a DVR set leave that plugged in!
#2 Check Weather & Pre-Pack
- Take a look at the expected forecast and plan accordingly.
- For Summer Travel(Warm Climate):I always have my kids try on their bathing suits and flip-flops a few weeks before we leave so I have time to go out and get them new sizes if they need them. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself. My hat from last year was really beat up and I needed to go out and get a new one for our next vacation.
- For Winter Travel (Cold Climate): You will need hats, gloves, boots, and maybe even snow gear. Give yourself time to go out and purchase(or order) what you need.
- Do a once over of your toiletries so you can pick everything up at once.
#3 Electronic Up-Keep & Charging
- Download games and books that you may need on your devices. Wi-Fi may not be available when you are out and it is good to be prepared. Need ideas for Family Fun Apps? Check out my post that my daughter helped me put together of her favorite apps when on the road.
- Clean up your phone, especially if you are using it to take photos. Save and delete photos and delete apps you don’t need on vacation. You don’t want to be in the middle of taking a picture and see you have no storage. Consider a storage saving app like Google Photos or Shutterfly. You can set them up to automatically upload your photos. I have always used Shutterfly but am trying google photos for the video option during my next trip.
- Charge all devices and cameras. Do this the day or night before you leave. Pack all chargers in a bag for easy access during your trip. Also consider purchasing a portable charger.
#4 Stock up Your Travel Bag
When traveling with a family you need an awesome bag to fit all your stuff for a full day of travel. I like to have a crossbody so my hands are free. For my next trip I am using the new messenger bag from Neatpack. I am so excited to use it because it has the perfect amount of room to fit everything I need.
When traveling, I am also looking for comfort and this bag has straps that are great for all day wear. All of the compartments zip too, which offers a great safety feature.
My Travel Bag Essentials:
- Travel Documents
- Ziplock bags
- Hand Sanitizer
- Everyone’s Sunglasses/Glasses
- We are out of diapers but you could also fit a few diapers and even a small change of clothes for a potty training child. Bring a few gallon size Ziploc bags just in case there is an accident. You can also fit bottles and other baby supplies.
I’m really excited about this bag. It is a little larger than a small cross-body but perfect for all day travel. Even a trip to the zoo or museum would work great! You can fit everything you need without feeling weighed down with heavy bags.
If you are traveling soon or planning a day trip I suggest you take a look at this bag. You can purchase your own at Neatpack and use the code ROAD10OF to receive 10% off any of the amazing Neatpack products. They also have great looking backpacks! I am so happy I found this for our upcoming travel adventures!
#5 Get the Kids Involved
- You all know I love including my kids in the planning process so we always make a fun vacation countdown. You can check out all my favorites at Family Fun Activities to Countdown to Vacation.
- Pack their backpacks. My kids are old enough to bring their own backpacks. This makes it easier for us to travel and they like to help out with the planning. I always help them pack and make sure it is not too heavy.
- Stuffed Animal
- Coloring Books
- Change of clothes packed in a Ziploc bag(gallon).
#6 Double Check Attraction Times/Events
I always check the websites of the attractions we are visiting to make sure nothing has changed.
- Check the event page!! At times places close early for special events.
- Theme parks have been known to extend hours depending on crowds.
- Make sure the day you are visiting the park/attraction is open.
- Travel Documents-Passports, etc.
- Tickets for theme parks or other attractions you are doing.
- Print all your tickets or take a screen shot of your confirmation numbers.
- Check in early for your flights on-line if you can. All airlines have different rules, so check it out ahead of time.
#8 Transportation Essentials
- What is your drive time to airport?
- Are you renting a car?
- How far is hotel to airport?
- Do you need car seats on the plane or upon arrival?
- How early do you need to get to the airport?
- Is it a long flight? Check out Tips for Long Flights with Kids.
- What is your drive time?
- Will you stop during the drive at any attractions?
- Do you need a hotel for the night?
- Where will you eat on the road?
- Are you packing a cooler? Snacks, etc.
- Have you read Essential Tips for a Family Road Trip?
Now that you have done all the planning you can feel a little less stressed knowing everything is ready to go. Being prepared will help you focus on you family and enjoying all the moments. Have fun planning your next family adventure!