Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Prepare Yourself for a Week’s Vacation

acation time is an exciting time for all. The prospects of resting, indulging in delicious foods, and experiencing new places and adventures, all raise the excitement levels in the home. I personally recall my very first time arranging a vacation to the Cabinas Playa in Costa Rica.  A week in the surfing splendor of South America had everyone in our house in a euphoric mood. However, I had to get out my checklist of what we all had to do to ensure not only a great vacation but also a smooth return within 7 days. The following outlines the things to do to prepare for a vacation.

Take Care of Deliveries

You should suspend all deliveries for the vacation period, for example, milk deliveries, newspapers etc. You may also ask a neighbor to get your mail from your mailbox as an overstuffed mailbox is almost an open invitation to burglars.

Alert Caregivers

If you have kids and there are babysitters, teachers, or private tutors who attend to them, alert them that the kids will be away. Find someone to look after your pets and plants and give them proper instructions on what to do. Be sure to give them and a responsible neighbor your emergency contact details.

Clean Up

Do a thorough cleanup of the house. Empty the trash, do the dishes, do the laundry, and remove all foods from the pantry and refrigerator that may go bad within the vacation period. At the same time, stock up with non-perishable foods so that when you get back you have food at home.


Unplug all electric and electronic equipment from the socket outlets, and then one by one just plug in the necessary ones. Leave the thermostat, water heaters, and air-conditioning at low temperatures. This is to ensure that cold weather does not damage the pipes. This saves energy (and bills) and protects equipment from power surges. You may also leave a few lights on and consider leaving a radio or TV on to give the impression that there is someone home. 


Any bills that will be due during the vacation period should be paid in advance. This is to avoid disconnection and late payment fees.

Check Car

If your vacation involves a road trip, take the car for a thorough check up and tune up. Fill up the gas tank, check the battery, change oil and other fluids, and check the toolbox and tires, including the spare. Even if you will not be using the car, it gives you peace of mind to return from your vacation to find the car in great shape with a full tank.

Pack Early

Pack your toiletries, clothes, swimwear/beachwear, tents, towels, mobile lamps, surf-boards, climbing gear, and anything else you may require at least a week in advance. This gives you time to remember anything that you forgot, and gives you an idea of what kind of luggage you will be dealing with. Some vacation spots like the Cabinas Playas will rent you surfboards, bicycles, and other equipment. If you will be using planes, the kind of luggage and weight should be monitored. Aerosol cans, gels, and liquid carry-ons should be of stipulated sizes and should be carried in one single, clear plastic bag. The bags should have locks that are approved by Travel Security Administration (TSA) to avoid having them broken while being inspected by authorities.

Travel Preparations

Choose a vacation destination that will be suitable for everyone in your group. Check for age appropriateness and cater for everyone’s interests. Organize passports, visas, inoculation certificates, notarized birth certificates, and notarized authorizations from parents who will not be accompanying their kids (both parents, especially in cases of divorcees). Jointly prepare your itineraries, purchase airline tickets, and book hotel rooms in advance. Confirm everyone’s health insurance status and purchase travel insurance. Refill any prescriptions since not all countries may have the drugs you require. At the same time, make sure not to carry medication that may be considered illegal in countries you may stop by. If in doubt, check with their respective embassies first.

Personal Preparation

Break in new shoes early to avoid discomfort and injury.  Start getting in shape even months in advance, especially if you are going to do a lot of trekking, climbing, or adventures. Check the weather and also learn the dress codes and cultures. This will guide you in making appropriate dressing choices and choosing gear. To avoid boredom on long trips, carry a book or an iPod. Carry decongestants, antiseptic spray, mosquito repellents, anti-diarrheal, and analgesics. Remember any contact lenses, cameras, charge converters, flashlights, alarm clocks, hair dryers, cell phones, and all the chargers.


Carry wallets in the front pockets, they are harder for pickpockets to access. Remove all ATM and credit cards and carry only one or two and just a little cash. Alert your credit card provider of your travel plans so they do not lock your credit cards when they see transactions from strange lands. Carry the bulk of your cash in money belts or neck wallets and put those under the shirt. When you need to remove cash from those, go to a private washroom and take out what you need and put in your normal wallet.


Delegate duties and make sure everyone knows who handles what. This will ensure you do not get too many office calls while on vacation. Arrange your files well and leave your desk tidy. Share passwords with your boss or an authorized colleague. Set your email to auto-reply. Take your call-in numbers and the passwords for voice messages.

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