by Catherine Nunes | TimeToo® founder, and parenting and lifestyle contributor
Feeling overwhelmed by the prep and planning for your family vacation? It is true that getting a family ready for a vacation is quite frankly, exhausting. The daunting array of tasks, hand-offs, packing lists, pet care arrangements, home care details, just-in-case emergency plans and a synchronized coordination might be compared to launching a space shuttle.
Here’s six great ideas to simplify prep and eliminate stress before your family vacation. We at www.TimeToo.com have created some free vacation checklists and schedule savers at the Tic Toc® Spot parent resource page. They are among my favorite tips and vacation prep short-cuts to make prepping for vacation travel easier than ever.
1. Use a Vacation PrepList or Checklist: Put all the key household tasks on one countertop list to coordinate and communicate how items like the mail, the newspaper, pets, plants, and home security will be handled while you are gone. Include an “out the door” checklist with all the last minute to-dos and reminders for tasks like watering plants, cleaning out fridge, setting thermostats and remembering tickets. Or let Time Too do the work for you --- and use our free, one-page printable Tic Toc - Vacation Ready Preplist with out-the-door checklist included.
2. Leave a Pet Sitter Instruction Sheet: Give your pet sitter instant handoff instructions and leave need-to-know information for your pet. Feeding info, exercise instructions and emergency contacts are best kept on one single page. Click and print the TicToc-Pet Sitter To-Dos Sheet complete with areas for writing down Fido’s schedule and pet care essentials and a mini- Pet Tracker chart to let the pet sitter record feeding, water and play activities. This one is editable online, so you can fill in the form with your computer and print it out with your information.
3. Get the Kids to Pack for Themselves: Impossible, you say? Not with a little organization, and a little help from a time-saving checklist, a staging area for their packing and a mom checkpoint before they zip up the bag. If kids do the packing, they will have a better chance of finding items in their bag, and you’ll avoid the endless questions like “Where is my supersuit?” Time Too has created a printable one-page kids travel packing checklist. It’s designed to help kids 4 and up think and plan for what travel bag packing organized from Head to Toe. The idea was inspired a friend and mother of four, who had her kids packing themselves before they could read with this simple practice. This Tic Toc - Head to Toe Packing List includes a separate checklist for their carry-on and fun traveling pack.
4. Create a Family Share Essential Bag No need to pack 4 different suntan lotions or tubes of toothpaste. Label and create a Family Share Essentials bag for vacations. Items like hairbrushes, hair bands, shampoo, suntan lotion, toothpaste are easier to handle in one large zip bag. And let kids (who are now packing for themselves) know where are those items will be stores and packed.
5. Bring Home Contact & Maintenance List With YOU Every household needs a centralized home and maintenance list that includes emergency family contacts, neighbors information with phone numbers, security company contact information with pass codes, plumbers, etc. Just in case the unexpected happens, you’ll have these important numbers at your fingertips. And those you’ve asked to “keep an eye” on the house ---will have it too.
You can use a copy of your Baby Tracker contact list, or start with a fresh one by printing it out from the Tic Toc Spot at TimeToo.com
6. Create an Instant, Shareable Travel Itinerary Gone are the days of typing up your travel plans---- flight schedule, hotel information and travel details---so you can leave it with need-to-know family members and friends. Now there are a number of apps –free and small fee– that can do this for with you without you typing up anything. My favorite is a web service and mobile application called TripIt www.tripit.com. Tripit turns all your flight, hotel, car and travel details into instant itineraries that can be viewed on your mobile device or easily emailed and shared with others from your PC or smartphone. Tripit inputs and formats your travel schedule and details simply by forwarding any confirmation emails to the Tripit service. Really, no typing! And with more modern magic, Tripit adds maps and restaurant recommendations as it knows where you will be staying or visiting. Remarkable! This is a wonderful time-saver and makes me a happy camper or city visitor.
Enjoy and share all of these time-saving ideas and family schedule helpers! Get your family ready, the house ready and the pet ready in less time giving you more time to relax and enjoy your fun in the sun .
Want to access all of TimeToo's free time-saving Printables to help organize, monitor and manage your family, home and life? Baby Tracker contact lists, emergency forms, school forms, and travel helpers all available in one-page printable formats to make it easy for you to record and reference. Go to TicTocSpot at TimeToo.com