Simple Travel: Steps to Preplan Your Vacation

This post is a part of a student-written series, 20 Ideas for Travel Bliss. Ronni Meier is a student at  Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Check out Ronni’s personal blog — College Chapel.

I know how you feel. You are so ready to be on vacation, you want to skip all of these superfluous steps and just go. If you preplan and take a few simple travel steps now, you will accomplish the main goal of vacation; you want relaxation, not stress.

  • Do your research beforehand.
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Sounds simple right? That’s what the “pre” in “preplan” means. This is the key to simple travel. When you go anywhere, local merchants invite and encourage you to try out their product.  You want to come with a plan and a purpose. Know what you want to do before you arrive that is best both economically and entertainment wise.  Also make sure that you know what kind of weather the intended area of travel is having so that you can pack appropriately. It makes for simple travel when you know all of your available options.

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Becki (my mother), and she had planned an anniversary trip to Key West. Unfortunately, Becki left out some crucial research. She found all of the fun places to visit and planned their vacation, but she forgot to take into account the season in Key West. So when a hurricane blew in, my parents’ flight was canceled, and they had to change their location. They ended up choosing San Francisco. Unfortunately, because they had no idea what San Francisco had to offer, many of the venues they found had a “ticket in advance” kind of set-up.  My parents didn’t end up doing much, and they didn’t get the trip they wanted.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Know the purpose of your trip.

The best way to do your homework beforehand is to have an idea of what you want out of the trip. For example, if you are seeking a vacation that is relaxing, find a beach that isn’t surrounded by commercialism. If you are looking for adventure, look into a camping or sporting endeavor. My grandma loves to walk, so her vacation involves a walking tour. No matter what your ideal vacation is, make sure you plan to get it!

Know the details of your trip.

Believe it or not but your vacation spot may be different throughout the year! It is a good idea to take into account seasons, weather, and the supplies you need to bring. For example, a good question to ask yourself if you are planning to go camping would be what kind of camping supplies do you need? What dangers are in your area (e.g. bear season)? What clothes do you need to bring?

Close down the fort.

There are a few key steps to make sure you complete before you walk out your doors.

    • Stop the mail- You don’t want an overflowing mailbox to come back to, and that is a good sign for robbers that you haven’t been home for awhile. Take advantage of the UPS Hold Mail Service.
    • Have a neighborly check-up- If you have good neighbors you trust, it is wise to have them house-sit, checking in occasionally just to make sure all is well. And if it isn’t, then you will hear about it sooner rather than later.
    • Leave emergency numbers- These could be given to your neighbors or to family, etc. but make sure that in case of an emergency, someone can get ahold of you.
    • Turn off the heat- you don’t want a toasty, warm house if no one is living in it. Your heating bill certainly doesn’t want that. If you are leaving during the summer months, the thermostat can either be set for 90 degrees or turned off. During the winter, the thermostat should be set for around 50 to keep the appliances and pipes from freezing. See to see more energy efficient ideas.

Be prepared for transportation.

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      If you are driving, make sure you have had your car serviced recently. You definitely don’t want to break down in the middle of nowhere. It would also be wise to plot out the convenient stopping gas stations in your route. Driving- Has your car been serviced lately? Where are the convenient stopping gas stations in your route?

    • If you are flying, make sure you know your plane details.  How early does your flight recommend you arriving? What is the weight system for luggage? Are you going to bring a carry-on? Make sure you check FAA regulations for what you can take on the plane.

Take care of the extras.

      • Children- If you plan to take the kiddos along, make sure to bring entertainment. It will keep them occupied and give you time to relax. Depending on how young your children are, be sure to make sure that you have the appropriate car seats for them. If you are flying, make sure to have soothing techniques prepared. Nobody thinks a baby is cute when he or she is screaming in the plane.
      • Pets- Depending on how long your trip is, the best idea here is probably to board your pets. If you are uncomfortable doing that or the rates to board are too expensive, the house-sitting neighbors might be persuaded to check up on Skipper if you brought them cookies.

Overall, the key to simple travel is to be a pre-planner. These are some good steps to begin to think about as you prepare for your vacation. Break them down one at a time, and get excited to go on vacation. It is so much easier to pre-plan than throw everything together in a night.

Please leave a comment if you have found other ways to prepare for simple travel.

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