Guest Post: Planning for a Vacation Made Easy!

Today Arianna is helping me out while Will and I are getting everything ready for our trip. I seriously cannot believe tomorrow we will be on the road, so excited! 
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Make lists - lots of lists.
Each time we plan for a vacation, I put together a list of necessities. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, I write out all the things that would be nice, but we can do without if there isn’t enough room in our bags. Usually, our bags are full, but not overstuffed or too heavy.

Our destinations usually involve pretty temperate weather, which is great for keeping our luggage below the airlines’ weight requirements. I pack a variety of lightweight clothing that can be layered for warmth if necessary, and only sacrifice the space for one single heavier garment. I also bring a stain remover pen and a Ziploc bag of laundry detergent for absolute laundry emergencies. (You can also buy single-load detergent portions, if you’d rather.)

When everything’s packed, I file those lists away, and then when we return from our vacation, I cross off things that weren’t helpful and add any necessities I missed or non-essentials I ended up thinking about when we were away from home.

One more note here: on all my necessities lists, “CAMERA, BATTERIES, CHARGER, AND MEMORY CARDS” are always listed on the top, in big, capital letters. I figure that we may not ever make it back to that destination again, and the people you’re traveling with won’t look the same next time, so I like to capture as many moments as possible. Camera equipment is the one exception I make to packing light, so I can capture and treasure those memories for years to come!

Consult the experts.
Normally I make a list of attractions and other things I have my heart set on doing or seeing while we visit our destination. I do this by researching travel guides online - Frommer's is my husband’s favorite - and seeing what the experts recommend. I also usually take time to do a few quick Google searches a few months before the trip, and I skim though to make sure there aren’t any bad reviews or cautions we should take before arriving.

Use your resources.
Don’t get me wrong, we love to travel but we don’t feel comfortable spend tons of money on huge vacations. We like to spend a mediocre amount and take a number of smaller vacations throughout the year. When traveling on a budget, I’ve been consulting frugal travel guides for everything except lodging recommendations. (We love our hotel points!) Sites like Frugal Travel Guy were very helpful for us when choosing the best attractions to visit, and also for seeking out the best hotels and their deals. 
Prep work.
Not only is it hard to pack for yourself but packing for your family too can raise stress levels. When it comes down to it make sure you have the basics packed. Almost every time we go on a trip we pass a Walgreens or a Wal-Mart. So, recently we have been purchasing some of those necessities at our destination. If you’re packing before, don’t pack the entire bottle of shampoo. Use three or four travel containers to store those necessities. You can fit those bottles a lot easier in your suitcases then the huge bottle. Another thing that takes up tons of space in a suitcase is a sweatshirt. I can tell you first hand I probably have bought a sweatshirt on 70% of our past vacations. If you are like me, leave the sweatshirt at home and buy one there.

Finally, here’s one more Mom-centric tip before I sign off:  take care of things at home before you go. Try and have your family or neighbors watch the house and grab the mail. Clean out all the garbage’s and the fridge so you don’t come home to a terrible smelling house. Lastly, take care of any pets. We normally find a local pet sitter for the week while we are gone. When you know everything is safe and sounds at home, you can fully enjoy that feeling of vacation!
Happy trails, everyone! Feel free to share any further advice in the comments!

Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at !

1 comment :

  1. So, recently we have been purchasing some of those necessities at our destination. If you’re packing before, don’t pack the entire bottle of shampoo. Use three or four travel containers to store those necessities.


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