“Where do we wanna go on vacation this summer?”
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and each and every one was doing his/her thing. It was silent in the living room, but this question woke everybody. The children started to sum up exotic places like New York (far far away!), Italy (it’s so nice and warm there) and even Japan (because there we can visit a special Pokémon store). It became instantly clear, we had some intense discussions ahead of us. To involve our teen and tweens in the process we gave them a deadline. They could come up with a destination by a certain date. If there was no agreement about it, then we, mom and dad would pick one.
We are visiting England in Great Britain. We don’t want to go very far because we are driving instead of flying. And we don’t want to drive for 2-3 days in a row before we are at our destination. This way we can make a stop for a couple of days in the Netherlands to visit family and to “catch our breaths” so to speak. Besides, what is beyond vacation for us moms than not having to come up with dinner or clean after ourselves, right? Vacation start after just 1-day driving, yay!!
Of course, we have to organize quite a lot before taking off.
I like to make a list of things to take care of in order to make it a smooth “operation”. If I don’t do that, I get stressed out really easily. No fun for the family, I can tell you that, haha…
Here is a list of 10 tasks to prep for a great vacation after choosing where to go
1. Book your flight, ferry or train
Shop around online to find the perfect solution for you, your family and your wallet. It could be profitable to join a special members club if you travel with the same company over and over again. We have a membership with the ferry that brings us from Norway to Denmark every time we travel abroad. You can save up real money there.
2. Schedule maintenance on your car
Take your car to the garage for service. That way you know your car is ready for the trip ahead.
3. Book your accommodation
Make sure it has everything on your family’s wish list (if possible), like Wi-Fi, a microwave oven, parking and maybe a pool. Read about the place on different sites that offer reviews and recommendations. Hear from visitors that have been there, to avoid disappointment. For example, our family needs Wi-Fi or internet coverage with 1 teenager and 2 tweens. They want to stay in touch with their friends, right? But also every attraction or place you want to visit has a website they refer to for opening hours and prices etc. It was a real bummer to find out there was poor internet coverage on the cottage we stayed in once when it was stated that Wi-Fi was available.
4. Check your insurance coverage
If necessary you can take out travel insurance, but check your regular insurance first and see which of your belongings are covered and where they are covered. It could be possible that your belongings that are covered via your personal property protection are also covered when bringing those on a trip. Same goes for medical insurance. Do yourself a favor and check what you already have, before you pay for any additional insurance.
5. Medication and medical certificate(s)
Does anyone in your family need medication? (for example, our daughter is a diabetic) Make sure you have enough with you for the whole trip. You may need a medical certificate for taking certain drugs or needles abroad. To be on the safe side, take your prescriptions with you (preferably in English).
6. Planning your activities
It is fun to plan what you want to do, see or explore already before you go away. If you want, you can even book tickets for that special concert or make reservations for that fancy dinner in advance. Let everyone participate and make a wish list. Joyful anticipation already starts at home! Let every member of the family come up with a few things to do or visit. Make one family list out of the individual lists having at least one thing from every member on it.
7. Saving for your vacation
The majority of us have to put money aside for summer trips like these, right? Make sure you start saving up already when you know you want to go away. Maybe set aside a little bit extra for that concert or dinner. It wouldn’t hurt, you know. We also give our kids a certain amount of pocket money to spend on vacation on souvenirs or things they like to buy themselves.
8. Find a housekeeper
Your plants need watering, your mailbox emptying. Ask a friend, family member or neighbor to look after these and your house. Leave them your travel schedule, telephone number, and address abroad. Can he or she take care of your pets too? Maybe you need to make a reservation in the animal shelter for your pets? Do that in good time, “everybody” goes on vacation at the same time, right?
9. Make a packing list
The 5 of us use our own packing lists. And of course, we have a general list too with things like money, passports and spare car key on it. You can make them in good time or find one on Pinterest. That way you know what to pack, so you don’t forget something. It’s also great to use when doing the laundry a few days before leaving. That way everything is clean the day of packing. Let older kids pack themselves and go over it with them before leaving to make sure that they didn’t forget underwear or a sweater for a cold evening.
10. Vacation journal
You know what’s fun? Give every family member a notebook to journal the vacation. When you are back home again, it’s fun to read each other’s experiences and bring back memories from a great vacation together!