We Know: All About Planning Your Perfect Vacation

Where do I start?

Start by looking at who's going to be on the vacation. Just you? You and your spouse? The whole family? Or even the extended family? Your perfect vacation will plan for everyone's fun, safety, and convenience.

If you don't know where you're going, start by brainstorming. Don't limit yourself; think of everything, no matter how far-fetched it seems. Then narrow it down by asking questions:

  • Can everyone in my party do this?
  • Would everyone in my party enjoy this?
  • Do we have the time?

After eliminating all the "no" answers, research the rest for cost, either online yourself or through a travel agent, who may have access to special deals you don't know about. Last, take the list to everyone and decide together which vacation you prefer.

Tips for Travel

Plan for your travel. Whether you're going by bus, train, plane, or car, there are a few things that you can have ready.

  • Bring snacks, games, books, and a light blanket and pillow for the little ones and the big ones too.
  • Know where you're going, every step of the way. If you're in a car, have the map marked out and make sure at least two people have gone over it. If you're flying, get to know the layout of each airport you're stopping at (these are easy to find online) and look for any long walks you'll have to make during layovers. This will help eliminate missed flights and missed turns.
  • Bring extra clothes for all children under six accidents happen. Check the weather the day before you leave to plan for any extra sweaters or raincoats you may need.
  • It is critical that you have all your medical needs and medical records together. Pick up fresh prescriptions a week before you leave, and if any of your family members have critical medical issues, be certain you have the most recent medical records for that family member just in case an emergency arises.

Prepare the Home Front

There's nothing worse than coming home from your vacation to a disaster at home. Make sure you secure your home by:

  1. Going through the house more than once and securing all electronics. Unplug anything that heats and turn your thermostats down or off.
  2. Let your neighbors know where you're going and what you're doing, and leave them a means by which they can reach you in case of emergency. Having someone house-sit or check on the house occasionally is a good idea.
  3. Double-check arrangements for pets a week in advance to ensure they are taken care of.
  4. A week before you leave, go to the post office and arrange to have your mail held until you return. There's no charge, and it prevents mail from piling up in front of your house. If you're expecting a package from UPS or another delivery service while you're gone, have them hold the package until a day or so after you return, or arrange to pick it up when you get back.
  5. Invest in a timer. Good timers will turn your indoor and outdoor lights on and off, and can even flip on your television while you're gone, giving the illusion that your house is occupied.

Enjoying Yourself

Make certain you:

  1. Schedule down time - if you have a busy schedule, one day of resting at the hotel per two or three days of running around is ideal.
  2. Don't try to do everything prioritize. Do the things you most want to do first, and leave some days flexible. Then you can either go back and repeat your favorites, or flip through brochures and pick out something different.
  3. Make reservations for special events before you leave home. This includes shows, dinners out, and minicruises or fishing trips. And write times for everything down in a pocket planner.
  4. Start early. If you start slowly in the mornings, you may find the crowds to be too much. If, however, you get out early, you'll be ready for lunch by the time the real crowds get there.
  5. Plan for weather, including rainy day plans. Keep your itinerary flexible enough to swap rain-appropriate activities on bad-weather days.

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