You’ve read all about how I can pack for a family of four, for two weeks in one suitcase. If you missed that, check out my previous post.
I don’t usually grocery shop the week of traveling. We are eating as much from the fridge and pantry as we can. The night before the trip, all produce and leftovers are tossed. I freeze anything that will keep. We have a delivery service that brings up milk and eggs twice a month. I cancelled our service for those days.
I wipe down the kitchen well and clean the bathroom. I like to leave a clean house!
A few weeks before we go on vacation, I bring our dog to the vet for a checkup and make sure we’re up to date with her vaccines. I also make sure we are stocked up on her dog food and make her reservations to be boarded. The day before we leave, I bring her and all of her supplies to the doggie hotel.
A few days before our trip, I ask a neighbor to give us a ride to the airport. We’re very lucky that he’s willing to drop us off and watch our house. He also gets the mail and waters the plants and bring the garbage to the road. We lucked out in the neighbor department!
If we didn’t have such a great neighbor, I would have stopped the mail and hired someone to watch the place.
The day we leave, I make sure to take a shower. I feel so much more put together when I have freshly showered. We are all dressed in comfortable clothing and excited to go! I empty the last few things from the fridge and hand-wash any dishes. I like to wipe down all of the counters and the table. All of the garbage cans are emptied. We check that all of the doors and windows are locked and the yard is picked up. The vehicles in the driveways are locked with the windows up.
As we finish getting ready in the bathroom, everything is put into the bathroom bag and then put in the suitcase. The kids’ blankets and loveys are put in their carry-on bags. Adam and I each have a bag with our wallets, laptops and chargers (computer and cell phone) and reading materials.
We double check that our suitcase isn’t over 50 pounds. If there’s a problem with over weight bags, we can grab a plastic bag bundle and throw it into one of the carry-on bags, but this trip we are right on.
Scheduling while on vacation
When we are visiting family, we have many, many people to see. Adam and I try make the best use of our time and reduce hard-feelings by making a loose schedule. To begin, we make a list of everyone we’d like to see. Then we ask our hosts if there are any days or evenings that they are unavailable (and try to schedule events during that time) or times that they really want us to be around. Then we contact our friends and family with some time options. We usually have a day or two that is very scheduled. We can meet some friends for coffee, take a grandma out for lunch and meet a group of friends for happy hour.
In order to make these days work for everyone, great communication is key. It’s also helpful to have one of our parents take our kids for the day. The boys would rather not meet ten people or go to several different events; they’d rather be fishing with grandpa.
Be sure to manage expectations before you arrive. Try a Facebook event to let friends know you are excited to see everyone and are planning a BBQ at the park on a certain day. Let everyone know that they are important, but because time is limited, they won’t get a private audience with your family.
Let it Go
Have you ever heard the quote “You can’t please everyone?” It’s true. Sometimes you won’t be able to see everyone. Sometimes you might see them, but only briefly or in a crowd and a deep conversation is not possible. Make an attempt to chat on the phone or email when you are back home.
You can’t please everyone, don’t let it stress you out. You can only do what you can do. Let it go.
Getting Back to Reality
After two weeks of vacation, my children can struggle with home rules. Swimming daily, fishing and mini-golf, doting grandparents and family can change the reality of children. We often go through a “NO” period after a trip. No we’re not going to the beach today. No you can’t have a new toy at the store. No, I’m not making separate meals for you both. No I’m not going to entertain you all day.
It stinks to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s my job to bring my family back into a good, healthy routine with less spoiling. Be ready to battle regular bedtimes, meal expectations and rules. Welcome home!