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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plan a Vacation

So, the kids are out of school for summer vacation and everyone just wants to get away from home for a while. Time for your once-a-year or so "family vacation" This time, though, you'll actually be ready for it.

This is the Steps

1. Research, research, research. Do it online and discuss it with other travelers. For inspiration, go to websites to browse travel photos, journals and videos posted by real people sharing their experiences.
2. Decide what day/time you will depart and return. Write it down!
3. Decide what place(s) you will be going to.
4. Calculate how many people are coming along if you're not alone.
5. Fill up the suitcases. Pack as many outfits as you will need for the vacation, plus, an extra or two. Don't forget your undergarments, pajamas, hygiene items, shoes, swimsuits/towels if swimming, etc.
6. Be prepared for certain situations. Planning ahead for things that could possibly happen will make the trip a whole lot smoother. Decide on a schedule for what each person wants to do along the way. Gather the family together and discuss what you had in mind. Be prepared for arguments. Everyone must be willing to compromise.
7. Pack a first aid kit - and make sure everyone knows where it is - because you never know what could happen. In the first aid kit there should be band aids, anticeptic cream, paracetamol and allergie tablets at least. Also it might be useful to have an emergency contact list in the first aid kit.
8. Find a pet-sitter ahead of time if you own any animals that can't come along. If you decide to bring any, you must remember that they can't go inside restaurants or hotels, and they will have to make bathroom breaks as well. It's best to leave them at home. Put your pets into detail for the sitter and leave them with your phone number in case they have any questions while you're gone that you forgot to cover.
9. If it's a family vacation and you're traveling by vehicle (for a long time), bring stuff to keep everyone entertained and comfortable.
10. Decide what form of transportation you're taking (plane, vehicle, etc.)
11. Estimate the total cost of your vacation. Be sure to include restraunts (food & drink per person each day), gas for the vehicle to get there, back, and to places nearby where you'll be staying, hotel rooms per night, and any other activities that you plan on doing. (Swimming, the zoo, etc.)
12. If the trip seems a bit pricey, you may want to consider looking for discounts. You can normally find accommodation and travel discounts online. While your at the site, they can also help plan your trip.
13. Work around the price. Normally if you're visiting family in another state, you can stay at one of their houses overnight (if there's enough room for everyone). (Free showers, food, television, and bed!) And if you offer to pay for the gas, you can normally borrow a neighbor's "extra" vehicle for free and they'll take care of any animals while you're gone. And if you buy a gas card, you can save money on the gas! You just gotta think ahead!
14. Work some overtime at your job before you ask for a week/weekend off for vacation. They'll be more likely to give it to you when you want it.
15. Bring everyone's medications (if the family takes any.) Be sure to bring enough.

Some Tips

* Look for discounts.
* Plan as far ahead in advance as possible.
* Bring a map if you're driving there!
* Be prepared for the weather. Watch the weather channel for when and where you'll be gone. Bring clothing appropriate for what the weather will be and something that's not according to the weather in case it decides to change.
* If you must change planes, try to arrange so you do in Portland or Seattle. They both have very nice airports, so if you have an unexpected (or expected) long layover, you won't go bezerk.

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