Who doesn’t love a vacation? What’s more, they are great for your health. According to psychologists, taking time out from a stressful day-to-day routine is essential for mental wellbeing.
Unfortunately, they can be pretty stressful if you don’t get organized. If you’ve ever mislaid your wallet or almost missed a flight, you’ll appreciate the power of planning. Consider this your pre-vacation checklist.
1) Write down your troubles and leave them behind: The whole point of a vacation is to take a break from everyday life. You can’t do that if you’re thinking about your problems! A few days before you leave, spend half an hour writing everything down in a journal. Include a few notes about how you could solve them. There’s no need to take your woes with you.
2) Make sure you’ve only packed things that fit: Don’t squeeze yourself into uncomfortable clothes on vacation, and don’t pack stuff that makes you self-conscious. If you feel confident in that red thong bikini, that’s great – but it’s fine to pack a one-piece too. It’s disheartening to arrive at your vacation spot without clothes that don’t fit and flatter you.
Sit down a few days before you leave and make a list of everything you want to take. It’s so much less stressful than throwing everything in a suitcase and hoping for the best.
3) Make sure you have enough medication: Do you take regular medication? Be sure to pack enough to last your entire trip. Take a few additional doses too, just in case your journey home is delayed and you need to stay a couple of extra days.
4) Check and double-check your timings: You don’t need a minute-by-minute itinerary, but it’s just common sense to know where you need to be and when. For example, do you really know how long it will take to drive to the airport? Are you totally clear when you can check in and out of your holiday rental?
5) Clean your house: Discard perishable items that could go moldy in your absence. No-one wants to come home to a fridge of rotting vegetables! If you have the time and energy, wash and change your bedlinen. There’s something wonderful about coming home to a freshly-made bed.
6) Put security measures in place: Don’t let your home become a burglar magnet. Leaving the curtains or blinds fully open or closed makes it clear that you’re away. Instead, leave them half-open. Invest in some timers that turn the lights on and off at predetermined intervals. If possible, leave a car in the driveway.
7) Hold the mail: Unless you have a kind neighbor to hold onto your mail, it’s best to put it on hold. Don’t forget to cancel any newspapers too
8) Leave copies of important documents with a friend or relative: Pass on copies of your flights, rentals, and any other key bookings and addresses. If you are going abroad, include copies of your passports.
9) Buy a guide if you won’t be able to understand the local language: Going to the bookstore and getting a printed guide is a great way to get excited about your trip. Alternatively, you can always save space in your suitcase by using an app like Duolingo.
In case you need another incentive to learn a language – research shows that it enhances your creativity and mental flexibility.
10) Make sure your bills are covered: Don’t risk coming home to late payment fees. Check that your utility bills are all paid before you leave.
11) Tell your bank that you’re going on vacation: Some banks automatically freeze credit cards if you use them in a new country. This system is great for fraud prevention but could leave you in a tight spot if you aren’t carrying cash.
12) Get a pre-vacation beauty treatment: If you want to get a tan or a wax, schedule it in advance. Getting a lymphatic drainage massage – or just indulging in cellulite self-massage – is also a good idea to get prepped up.
13) Pack your chargers: You’ll kick yourself if you forget your phone charger. On a similar note, be sure to take a power adapter if you’re venturing abroad.
14) Take some boredom-busters: Finally, remember that long drives, rides, and flights are tedious. This is especially important if you are traveling with children. E-books, apps, and online games take up no space and will entertain anyone for hours.
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