Whether you’re going to an amusement park, visiting the beach or being a tourist in a new city, there are some essentials you need to remember before you can fully enjoy your vacation. Of course you need to pack your sunblock and make sure you’ve got the tickets, but did you remember to turn off the stove? Are your pets taken care of during your week long absence? Here are some of IKO Community Management’s fundamental dos and don’ts for preparing for your family vacation:
Do pack an essentials bag. Pack your necessities in an easily accessible bag. Use this carry-on for medications and prescriptions, chargers, extra cash, toiletries (don’t forget hand sanitizer and sunscreen), keys, extra change of clothes and emergency information. While you’re packing this bag, download a weather app so you can properly prepare you and your family for summer’s tendency for rain and extreme heat.
Tip: Use Ziploc bags to avoid packing a separate toiletry bag. They’re spill-proof, too.
Don’t leave your lights on at home. Running up your electric bill when you’re not home is unproductive and expensive. To avoid these charges and help the environment, unplug all of your electronics and surge protectors and disconnect your Internet. You can also set a light timer to only turn on the outside lights at night to scare off hungry raccoons and other night visitors.
While you’re working about your house, tackle the laundry and do the dishes. You can even ask your children for help. When you’re done, make sure your stove, washing machine, dishwasher and dryer are turned off. Clean out all perishables and leftovers from the fridge to avoid a smelly house upon your return. Finally, before you leave, lock all your doors and windows.
Do your homework. Check when your destination’s busy season is, so you can avoid crowds, long lines and traffic. Also, try setting a limit to souvenirs and snacks, so you can splurge on tickets to attractions instead. Budgeting means you’ll spend more time enjoying an experience together than wearing a T-shirt. Speaking of experiences, print a schedule of local events your family may want to attend so you don’t miss out on anything when you get there.
Don’t rely on electronics. Like we said, pack your chargers and capture memories with your camera, but if you and your family have a long drive ahead of you, try playing some old-fashioned car games. Car Bingo and the License Plate Game pass the time just as well as playing on the iPad or watching a movie, and you’ll get some family bonding in. If you’re flying, depending on your airline, you can get a backpack full of goodies to occupy your children, including coloring pages or small stuffed animals. Books, like I Spy, are also a great option no matter the form of transportation.
Explore as a tourist and as a local. If you’re going somewhere new or you’re practically local, do everything! If you’re off to Disney, take neat pictures with Disney’s PhotoPass or get a telescope picture at almost any beach. Ask locals for the best restaurant instead of going to a big chain. Explore your destination to find secret treasures, but make time for the basic attractions. They’re popular for a reason!
We bet you’re excited for your next summer vacation! Just remember while you’re picking a destination, it’s wise to plan, budget and research before confirming reservations and dates. When you do pick a place, find a pet sitter, pack the sunscreen, put down the electronics and enjoy all the aspects, local and touristy, that it has to offer. From all of us at IKO Community Management, have a safe vacation.