My family and I will be going on vacation in a few weeks. Here’s my “to-do” list in preparation for heading to the beach:
Around The House:
I’ll have a good friend come by and check on the place once or twice while we are gone. I’ll ask him to pick up the mail, water the outside plants, etc. We have no pets, so no worries there. We live in a rather rural area, so I’m not all that worried about anything happening to our “stuff”, but it’s good to have someone drop in just to make sure everything is alright. I’ve had a new front door key made and I’ll give it to my friend, so that he can have access to the house, should he need to get inside.
I like to unplug all of the major appliances (except for the refrigerator and the stove) while we are gone. I flip the breaker switch which controls the hot water heater and I flip the little “control bar” on the ice maker, turning the ice maker off while we are out of town. I’ll also turn off the water to the toilets, using the little on/off valve located at the bottom of our toilets. Finally, I’ll turn off the water coming into the small black hoses which are connected to our washing machine. Remember, those small black hoses have to endure the same water pressure as the regular pipes which run throughout your house. It’s always a good idea to replace these hoses from time to time, so as to prevent a major water leak.
At The Grocery Store:
I’ll stock up on soft drinks, bottled water, sunscreen, lip balm, and other beach “essentials”. I have found that grocery stores near tourist areas tend to charge more for their products than stores in our area, so I stock up on those items that we know we will be needing. I try not to go overboard. There’s no reason to take everything that we might need, but I do like to save a few dollars by taking those items that we know we will need.
I’ll leave a list of contact numbers, including my cell phone, with the folks who might need to get in touch with me. As a practical matter, I’ll limit the number of people who “know where I am” so that I can actually get away and enjoy a period of relaxation.
On The Road:
I’ll pack a travel safety kit, check the spare tire for air pressure, get the oil changed in our van, have the tires rotated and balanced, print two copies of our travel maps, charge up camera batteries, gather some DVDs for the kids, and basically have everything “ready for the trip”. Again, I will balance the convenience of buying snacks on the road with the lower cost associated with buying in bulk. I’ll probably pack some candy and fruit snacks for the kids, but let them get a soft drink or bottled water when we stop for gas.
And The Blog:
I may ask a few of my blog buddies to write guest posts, or I might just writes some articles and schedule them to post throughout the week. Or, I might just let the blog “sit here” and wait for me to get back, like the good old days!
While On Vacation:
I go on vacation so that I can sit by the pool, relax, read a good book, watch my kids swim, and hangout with my wife. Neither one of us are very big on going to “local attractions”. In fact, our day goes like this: Wake up, eat breakfast, go to the beach, hit to pool, eat lunch, relax inside, go to the pool, take showers, go out for dinner, walk on the beach, go to bed. Rinse, repeat. But, if we were the type of family that like places like Sea World or Six Flags, we’d definitely do some online research, looking for the best rates / family plans / cheap tickets / etc. But, since we like to be lazy, we don’t have to do that. (We might, if we get really wacky, hit the local putt-putt course.) (Our kids are not big on the old “family fun parks” either. The both dislike clowns, loud noises, roller coasters, large animals, and “dressed-up” people. My daughter doesn’t even want ‘Santa’ to visit at Christmas because of her dislike of his beard. My son hates the movie “Nemo” because of the loud chase scene and the shark. So, for the next few years at least, we are free from the pressure of our kids screaming about going to Disney, Six Flags, etc.)