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Pre-Summer Vacation Checklist For Travel With Kids

It’s that time of year again – the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, the sky is clear and the sun is shining – it’s summer! We wait all year for this special season, and one of the great things about summer is the ability to take a (much needed) vacation. Preparing for a vacation is probably the least fun part, but it’s the part that will help you get the most out of your trip. Here are some ways you can effectively plan for your summer vacation:

Before You Leave

  • If you don’t already have a passport and will be traveling outside the U.S., be sure to initiate the passport application process at least one month before your trip in case there are any issues.
  • Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery by contacting your local USPS office to hold your mail for the days you’ll be gone. Alternatively, you can have a neighbor, family member, or close friend be responsible for retrieving your mail. Don’t forget to restart your mail delivery services when you return!
  • Set all of the automatic timers in your home if you have them. Make sure to have them periodically go on and off throughout the day to scare those potential intruders away.
  • Make two to three copies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance cards, credit cards, etc. to bring with you on in case you misplace one. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Ensure you have a luggage tag attached to each piece of luggage. For extra security, only include your name and phone number on your luggage tags, not your home address.
  • If you are taking any medications or supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about prescribing enough medication to last you for the entire duration of your vacation.
  • If you are flying, be sure to pack an extra carry-on suitcase with any medications you need, extra underwear, socks, jackets, and anything essential you might need if your checked baggage got lost for a day or two. Be sure to double-check that it is a carry-on sized bag; airlines can be strict about this.
  • Empty all of the perishables from your refrigerator and pantry – the last thing you’ll want is to come home to a smelly kitchen!
  • Right before you head to the airport, triple check all of your doors, windows and garage doors are securely locked.
  • Take out all of your garbage to avoid any lingering odors when you return.
  • Change your voicemail greeting to let people know the dates you will be gone and that you will be out of touch.
  • If you have pets, be sure to book a boarding location or talk to friends/family far enough advance to see if they can watch your pets.
  • Leave all of your valuables at home. If you are engaged, consider buying an affordable CZ engagement ring to replace your expensive one – especially if you are going out of the country. Pickpocketers tend to be sneaky!


What to Pack

Here’s a general packing checklist that will help you prepare for a carefree vacation:

  • Sunscreen and lip balm (aim to bring SPF 30 or higher for extra protection)
  • Sunglasses/eyeglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Flip-flops
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Exercise clothing
  • Jackets (just in case it gets chilly at night)
  • Camera/ Video Camera
  • Batteries (you never know when you’ll need them!)
  • Chargers for your laptop, phone and any other electronics
  • Toiletries (makeup, shaving gel, deodorant, face cleanser, shampoo/conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Disinfecting wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Bug repellent (especially if you are going somewhere that’s extra humid during the summer)
  • Medications (bring enough to last you the whole vacation)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cash, credit cards, traveler’s checks
  • Emergency contact information
  • Extra copies of all reservation confirmations
  • Language dictionary (if you are traveling to a foreign country)
  • Travel blanket, pillow and headphones for plane flight
  • Directions and maps of your vacation destination (in case you can’t use your phone’s GPS)
  • Plane tickets/itinerary