Don't Forget: Checklist for Making the Perfect Getaway

Vacation! Got to love that magical mix of travel, relaxation, recharging and adventure. The only downside is the preparation needed to actually get out the door and on the road. Isn't it ironic how much work it can be to organize time away from work? Any task is easier when you have a plan, so I always make a checklist — here's my basic one, expanded to include some great reader tips. Check it out and bookmark for your next trip…

7-10 DAYS BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE:

• Launder favorite clothing and/or take it to the dry cleaner.
• Put in stop mail and newspaper delivery requests.
• Plan meals that will finish up the food in your refrigerator.
• Confirm pet sitting plans.
• Check your data and calling and roaming plans for your cell phone service and make sure you understand any potential additional charges and add international discount calling and message plans as needed.

THE WEEKEND BEFORE:

• Get out the suitcases. • Tell a trusted neighbor that you'll be away, when you'll be back and how you can be reached in case of emergency. • Make two copies of your passport/ID. One to keep separately when traveling and one to give to a friend - this info makes it easier to have it replaced at a consulate if necessary. • Return any books and videos to the library. • Make sure the fridge/freezer is stocked with basics that will not spoil so immediate shopping is not required when you return • Prepay bills that will come due while you are away.

THE DAY BEFORE:

• Copy all of your travel itinerary/hotel/car/sightseeing information and links into one email, with a clear subject line and send it to yourself - then, when traveling, you only need to search for one email on your phone/laptop to see all the pertinent info.
• Put timers on lights/radio.
• Empty the kitchen compost container.
• Move any wet laundry from the washer to the dryer.
• Move your car to the non-street sweeping side of the street or leave a key with a neighbor if that isn't possible.
• Pass along any food that might go bad while you are away.

THE MORNING OF YOUR TRIP:

• Water plants
• Close and lock windows, lower shades.
• Unplug the tv, computer and any kitchen electronics that won't be in use while you are away.
• Adjust the temperature control to the most efficient level.
• Remove all bedding to allow mattress to air out while you are away.
• Take out the trash.
• Turn OFF your alarm clock - your neighbors will thank you!

As soon as you leave the house, take a minute and take a deep breath, relax and start enjoying your time away. Travel isn't always easy, but you've planned well and you deserve a great time - make the most of it and don't sweat the small stuff - you're on vacation!

Image: Adrienne Breaux/LonAnne's Vintage and Modern Texan Charmer
Original post and reader comment thread used to create this new, revised checklist: Things to Do at Home Before Leaving for Vacation