Five tips from productivity expert ACCO Brands help to make family vacations manageable and enjoyable
School’s out, the summer is here, and with it comes family vacations. This, in itself, brings a feeling of uneasiness to many, primarily due to lack of planning and ill-defined schedules. But rest easy—we have several tips to help you get the most out of your vacation this summer.
“Most vacations are planned with only the best of intentions—but are they WELL-planned?” asks Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce and Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands. “Poor organization can make the most well-intentioned family vacations go awry. Proper planning and time management will afford families the time to relax and enjoy their trips.”
Here are several steps you can take to get organized for your vacation:
Write it down to get around: Use a daily planner or calendar to create a “vacation map” to track all your intended activities and destinations. Plan out each day so you can easily refer to where you have been, where you are and where you still want to go. Be sure not to over-book yourself.
Do your homework: Prepare your trip in advance, as much as possible.
- Make a list of the attractions you want to visit and check ahead to find out the busiest times.
- Purchase tickets for attractions and events in advance whenever possible. Use a pocketed file or organizer to keep your tickets, itineraries and other trip materials in order.
- Gather and organize items needed during the trip, including clothes, toiletries, snacks, electronics and other equipment, including chargers and adapters.
- Don’t rely completely on your GPS—plan your driving routes. Check on current and future road construction along your routes, as well.
Perform the “21-point inspection”: For those vacations that include a long drive, perform a thorough checkup on your vehicle. You might not know all 21 points on your car but some of the most important ones can be easily checked, including fluids and tires. Consult your auto record book to see what maintenance is due on the vehicle before you leave.
Takeoff to a great vacation: When traveling by air, many things like delays and lost baggage are out of your control. However, you can take steps to make your experience more pleasant.
- Get a ride to the airport to avoid parking.
- Check for flight delays online or via smart phone apps.
- Leave your family some extra time to get settled.
- Take an earlier flight so that your family can hit the ground running on the first full day.
- Come back a day early so you can ease back into your daily routine.
A day of relaxation: A family vacation can tire you out just as much as an everyday job. Give yourself a day of relaxation. Plan some free time for the final day of your trip. That extra day will give your family the flexibility to do something they might not have been able to do during the course of the week. Maybe you’d simply like to relax and unwind. “ Isn’t that why you took a vacation in the first place?” adds Cupp.
[photo by myoldpostcards]