10 Things to Do BEFORE Leaving on Vacation
Traveling with a disability may be a little more difficult than for others, however with proper planning you can still travel by plane, train, or automobile and by boat too! Shelley Peterman Schwarz is a seasoned traveler who just happens to use a wheelchair; here she shares her favorite Tips for Making Life Easier™ for planning and packing for stress free travel.
The Week Before Your Trip:
1. Compile a list of the important information you need to take on your trip and give an identical copy to your spouse or traveling companion just in case yours is lost or stolen. Include the numbers of important documents (driver’s license, passport, travel insurance, etc.) and phone numbers (family, friends, hotels, airlines, credit card companies, American Embassy, etc.). Print the information in a small font size and put it in your wallet. Leave a copy in a file at home and/or with your neighbor.
2.Create one good general all-purpose list (see below) of the things you should pack in your suitcase whenever you travel, laminate it, and use an erasable marker to cross things off as you pack. Add extra lines at the bottom for trip specific additions or use a sticky note to add additional items unique to your trip. If you prefer, make several copies of the list and use a copy for each trip. Once your packing is completed, put the list in your suitcase and use it to repack for the trip home. That way you won’t forget anything.
3. Tuck away valuable jewelry in your home safe or a discreet hiding place, like the tip of a shoe, inside some kitchen pots, in your sewing basket, etc. The jewelry is out of sight and even if you forget where you put it, you’ll eventually find it when you get back into your normal activities. To keep jewelry extra safe, put it in a safety deposit box at the bank.
A Few Days Before You Leave:
4. Arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail. Cancel the newspaper and other deliveries. Hire someone to cut the grass or shovel snow.
5. Make a list of all the things you want to do right before you leave: toss out leftovers and perishables; empty wastebaskets and take out the trash; park a car in the driveway; set the heat or AC to conserve energy; turn down the hot water heater; unplug appliances/computers; set automatic timers on lights and a radio and/or TV; and adjust the shades or blinds to look like someone is home. Laminate this list and keep for future reference.
6. Give your neighbor or family member your itinerary with contact information. If you are traveling out of the country, leave them with a photocopy of your passport in case yours is lost or stolen.
The Day Before You Leave:
7. Pack a small overnight bag with emergency supplies in zipper-locked plastic bags. Be sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medications, mints, gum, high protein snacks (nuts, energy bars), candy, deck of cards, book, and change of clothes. If your bags are lost or you are delayed along the way, you will have what you need.
8. Set two alarm clocks. One that plugs in and one that winds-up. (Just in case of a power outage.)
Fifteen Minutes Before You Leave, Take One Last Look Around the House:
9. Flush the toilets, grind up food in the garbage disposal, and take out the trash.
10. Double check that all the doors and windows are locked. If you have an attached garage, make sure you lock the inside door to the house as well as the garage door(s).
Make sure you have everything you need while away by using this comprehensive travel list.
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For reprint permission contact Shelley@MakingLifeEasier.com