Sunday, June 28, 2009

Top 5 Organizing Tips to Ease the Stress from Your Family Vacation...July Newsletter Article

Family vacations are a great time to have fun, take a break from the everyday routine, see new sites and recharge. It can also be a time of stress - preparing and planning, traveling and returning home are all high stress points for many. I'm sharing my top five organizing tips to help ease some of the stress that comes along with taking a family vacation.

Tip #1: Make Lists
Lists will definitely help you reduce your stress while you are planning your family vacation. Rather than trying to remember it all, I suggest creating master lists on your computer that you can print and use each time you take a trip. You will be able to greatly reduce your planning time and stress for the next vacation and lessen the chance of forgetting any details.

Start with the list of the things you need to do to get ready to leave on your vacation. Do you have to make arrangement for the mail and paper? What about pets and plant watering? Will you be using a house sitter?

Next, make lists for the items you need to pack. Give children their own lists to be responsible for. Help create lists for younger children by using pictures, numbers, and words of the items they can gather.Keep your printed lists with you so you can easily jot down ideas whenever they come to you. Take time to update the master lists as needed.

Tip #2: Clean and Organize that Vehicle
If you will be taking to the road, be sure to take the time to clean out that messy van or car. Pick a day, preferably the week before you will depart, to get your vehicle fresh and ready to go. Most people tend to feel more relaxed in a clean and organized space. There are some neat car organizers that make it easy for the kids to have items, such as coloring books, crayons and games close at hand.

Tip #3: Set a Budget and Stick to it!
Take time to create a budget for your vacation. How much will you spend on lodging, fuel, travel expenses, food and souvenirs? It's so easy to say yes to unplanned purchases when you are in the joyful moments of your vacation, but can that expense be justified when you get back home or get your credit card statement? Keep in mind that kids will remember the experiences, not the stuff.
Tip #4: Copy the Contents of Your Purse and Wallet
Photocopy the credit cards, driver license and other documents that you are carrying with you while on vacation. Keep this information in another location. If your purse or wallet were lost or stolen, you would have that information at your finger tips. I also try to limit the items in my purse I take with me on vacation.

Tip #5: Schedule Returning Home and Downtime
I think this is an area that many families overlook. I would suggest allowing at least one full day of recovery time before you get back to your normal schedules. Just think about the tasks there are to do when you return home. How long will it take you to complete those? There's laundry to wash, the car to unpack, mail and email to go through and you barely have the energy.

Remember to focus on one task at a time. If you look at the big picture, you'll get overwhelmed and that's when that stress level rises. Don't schedule appointments or play dates in the first few days after your return. Give your family time to adjust and get caught up.

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Six Feet Under Blog said...

I love the idea of photo copyingthe contens of your purse. You have such great ideas!

Creative Junkie said...

We just got back from a week's vacation and I agree with pretty much everything you said (LOVE the photocopying tip - never thought of that one!)

However, my husband refuses to set a budget on vacation. REFUSES. Which totally stresses me out. Which negates the entire reason for the vacation.

ConnieFoggles said...

I agree, the copying idea is wonderful! And the downtime after a vacation is a must. It helps to really enjoy your time away.

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