summer vacation planning guide

Summer is here and that means cookouts, hanging at the pool and of course, Summer Vacation! If you love Summer Vacation but dread organizing it then fret not my busy mom friend. I’ve put together a Vacation to do List and a Summer Vacation Packing List just for you! Scroll down and check it out!

Growing up I was always impressed with my mom. She would single-handedly travel with us three kids cross country every summer. Keep in mind ladies that this was before the days of cell phones!

Horrifying right?! I know!

As I myself became a mom and started traveling with my own kiddos, I began to really appreciate all that my mom had done to give us those incredible summer vacations. I’ve asked her over the years how she did it. I discovered created a Summer Vacation on a budget with kids all comes down to planning.

I take as many trips as finances and school calendars allow and over the years I have planned many trips with my family. Every time I have at least a few questions for my mom. Asking her how to save money, or the best planning tips, how to get through the airport and not loose your marbles. That kind of stuff. I’ve gotten so many tips through conversation and research that I’ve put together some truly handy stuff for you.

Psst! For even more help planning for Summer Vacation check out our Vacation Planning on a Budget Bundle. Here’s what you get in the bundle ?????

  • 9 Smart Tips to Help You Budget for Your Vacation
  • e-book – Budget Vacations Your Family Will Love
  • Report – Plan a Family Vacation Under $2k
  • e-book – How to Manage Your Money to Plan for A $5K Vacation in Cash
  • Worksheet – How to Manage Your Money to Plan for A $5K Vacation in Cash

This bundle saves you loads of time from digging around all over the internet and trying to piece together how to plan your Summer Vacation.

Now that you’ve gotten your Vacation Planning on a Budget Bundle, let’s get you set up with a Vacation to do List and an Ultimate Packing List.

Vacation to do List

  • Map out your destination. Will you fly, drive by car? Who will meet you when you arrive?
  • Gas up your vehicle if you’re driving, and get any other maintenance done such as an oil change or replacing filters.
  • Reserve where you will stay or work out the details if staying with friends or family
  • Print out copies of everything including your ID, your credit cards, your reservations. Put them in a safe place of your suitcase. You never know what may happen and if you might need those things. Don’t rely just on your cell phone.
  • Put a hold on newspaper and other subscription services
  • Put a hold on your mail. Just use this handy form from the USPS.
  • Arrange care for your pet and plants
  • Put your lights on light timers.  This way they will turn on and off as if you’re home. According to Best Reviews, the Century 24 Hour Plug-in Mechanical Timer is a really good one and the one we choose too.
  • Create a “Vacation to do List.” Sure, it sounds a little like Clark Griswald in National Lampoon’s Vacation – but trust me if you do it the right way a to-do list can be helpful instead of a hinderance. A Vacation to do list can help put your mind and allow you to actually relax and enjoy your vacation! All of the little details were planned while you were still at home.
  • Download ebooks, music, movies, games, etc. Not every place has the best Wi-Fi, so use your time at home to download any movies you want to watch on the flight or in the car.
  • Tell your neighbors you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on things for you, just in case.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you are going. Provide an itinerary so they can reach you if need be, or come looking for you if God forbid something were to happen.  Don’t just rely on your cell or modern technology. Be safe.
  • Pay your bills or put everything on auto pay for your vacation. You don’t want to come home to late fees. #bummer
  • Inform your banks. Tell your banks where and when you will be traveling. Trust me on this one. You don’t want to have your card shut down as you and your family go out to a nice dinner.
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QUICK TIP:  If you are driving to your destination make sure to bring extra chargers and an emergency kit in the back of your car just in case of emergencies or bad or unexpected weather. When traveling, it’s always better to be a bit over prepared than under prepared!

Another quick tip.  This tip is for those of you that may be driving to your destination and plan to stay at hotels here and there before arriving. Make sure to pack a small bag or backpack with everything you need for just one or two nights per person. That way you don’t have to lug all the suitcases into the hotel each and every night. #genius ?

The next list you’re going to want to make is a “Packing List”. Creating a packing list for everyone in your family will help avoid the dreaded meltdown and will ensure everyone brings exactly what they need! This will also help you weigh your bags before you get to the airport so you don’t have to spend time taking something out of your bag if it weighs too much.

Summer Vacation Packing List

  • Cool and warm weather clothes, even if you are going somewhere warm make sure to bring one or two sweaters you could wear just in case.
  • Beach items, if you are going to the beach make sure to pack everything you and your family is going to need ie, beach towels, sunscreen, cover-ups, swimsuits, hats, beach toys, sandals, swim shoes. Put all of your beach items in one bag so it’s easy to find them once you get to your destination.
  • Shoes, again all in one bag unless you only have one pair of shoes to wear for the trip!
  • If you are driving make sure to bring pillows to make the ride more comfortable, food and beverages to avoid making too many stops.
  • If you are flying make sure each family member or at least the adults have a carry on bag with a full outfit including extra shoes, PJs and toiletries just in case bags get lost along the way. This will ensure you at least something else to wear while you’re waiting for your bags to arrive and that way you won’t have to spend extra money on clothing and such.
  • Pick three or four neutral colors for tops and bottoms that go together for the entire trip.
  • When deciding how many outfits to bring, count the number of days you’re going to be on vacation, then cut that in half. This will help you cut down on bags and will ensure your bags aren’t too heavy.
  • You may also want to bring one set of clothing to wear for both travel days that is comfortable. That way, you won’t have to rush around looking for what to wear when you leave from vacation or are arriving.
  • Bring layers, light jackets, short sleeve shirts, etc.
  • Bring an extra bathing suit just in case
  • To fit more in your suitcases make sure to roll clothing instead of folding.
  • If you are packing necklaces, to avoid them getting tangled up lay them on a pillowcase and roll them up. This will ensure you have tangle-free necklaces and your own pillowcase to sleep with!
  • Whether you are driving or flying, make sure to bring some food and snacks with you so that you have something to eat once you arrive. That way the first day of your vacation isn’t spent running to the grocery store! It’s vacation right, relax!
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At the end of the day, a vacation is all about spending time with loved ones and making tons of memories! Making these lists beforehand will help put your mind at ease and help alleviate some of the added stress that comes with travel! Where are you traveling to next??


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