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Get Organized For Family Travel

Get Organized For Family Travel and you'll enjoy the trip more than you ever thought possible!

Preparing yourselves and your home for a vacation does not have to be a huge, stressful undertaking. First you need to break it down into several smaller do-able tasks.

Before you start making plans, you might what to check out The Travel Secrets Guide which can help you to learn where and how to save money on your trip.

Now for the "do-able tasks!

Start with a Pre-Checklist

What's a Pre-Checklist? It's the first list you make by writing down anything you think you will need in no particular order. You will then take this list, set up categories and transfer everything from your Pre-Checklist under the appropriate category.

Below are some category ideas to help you get organized for family travel. Add and remove as necessary.

What To Pack -See Packing Checklists

What to Buy

What To do Before Leaving

Clothes To Bring


Activity Gear


Car Supplies

Keep your Pre-Checklist handy for a few days and add to it as you think of things. Then be sure you have transferred everything to a category.

Ideally we would all like to travel light but most of us find this rather challenging, especially when travelling with children. There are also the "unknowns" such as the weather, how dressy a restaurant is and what ammenities are provided.

The good news is that setting up a checklist will help you stay organized and also help keep you from over-packing.

The following ideas of things to do, buy and consider are not necessary for all trips. Please read it and take from it only what is appropriate for your type of trip.

If you're going out of the country, you'll need to allow sufficient time to get birth certificates, passports, immunizations and necessary legal documents in order. I recommend approximately 2-3 months before a trip.

If you are flying, confirm your reservations as much time ahead as possible. Also arrange for car rentals and hotels.

Assess your luggage needs

Do you want/need:

  • Backpacks
  • Wheeled Bags
  • Toiletry Cases
  • Hanging Bags
  • Carry-ons
  • Duffels
  • Diaper Bags

Taking a sports-oriented trip?

  • Check equipment
  • Try things on
  • Do a trial set-up (tents, etc.)
  • Make repairs
  • Replace things as necessary

4-6 Weeks Out

Do you have Maps? A good Guide Book?

Re-confirm airline, bus, train reservations and try to get seating assignments.

If traveling by car, decide what maintenance should be done and schedule an appointment. Do you need:

  • New tires
  • Brakes
  • Oil change
  • Air conditioner
  • Windshield blade replacement
  • Etc.

Locate any home security/automation devices you will use. These might include light timers, alarm systems and motion detectors. Make sure you know how to use them so you aren't trying to take care of this at the last minute.

2-4 Weeks Out

  • Arrange for house sitter
  • Arrange for pet sitter
  • Make list of important phone numbers including the house and pet sitter, doctor and so on.

Decide how you will pay for things:

  • Credit card
  • Cash
  • Traveler's checks
  • ATM withdrawals

*Check with your bank to make sure there are ATM's where you are going

Check your camera equipment. Make sure you have:

  • Film
  • Batteries
  • Extra memory stick
  • Adaptor accessories

1-2 Weeks Out

Wash all clothes you might be taking

Divide your shopping lists into:

  • Perishable
  • Non-perishable
  • Try to purchase all non-perishables this week
  • Start packing (See Packing Tips below)
  • Mow the lawn
  • Arrange for mail to be picked up
  • Stop newspaper delivery or have neighbor pick up daily
  • If you have water and/or milk delivery, arrange for delivery suspension
  • Pay bills that will come due while you are away
  • If you will be gone during the school year, make arrangements with your child's teacher/s

1-2 Days Out

Give keys and detailed instructions to house/pet sitter/neighbor. Also provide:

  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Cell Numbers
  • Hotel/Resort/Campground numbers
  • Finish laundry
  • Complete last-minute packing (see Packing Tips below)

Right Before Leaving

Walk through the house and:

  • Check lights
  • Unplug small appliances
  • Check stove
  • Remove trash
  • Set thermostat
  • Turn off water
  • Activate timers
  • Close and lock windows and doors

Do some of all of these and get organized for family travel!

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