Get Ready for Your Vacation: 30 Essential Tips

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Robert Sihler

Vacation is something we desperately need and which most of us don’t get enough of. When your vacation time finally arrives, you need to get ready for it. Following are some essential tips about planning for work, home, travel, and arrival.


1. Work Projects

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Finish up any incomplete projects before you leave, and don’t start any new ones. If you don’t, you’ll risk alienating clients and colleagues, and your vacation from that job might be a permanent one.

2. Make Sure You’re Covered

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If there are regular responsibilities you have, make sure you have them covered or that your supervisor is seeing to that. Nobody appreciates extra work being assigned to them at the last minute.

3. Prepare for Return

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Make a list of the things you’ll need to do as soon as you return. This will help you make a smooth transition back to work and help you fight the post-vacation blues.

4. Subscriptions

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From the daily mail to fresh food deliveries, put these things on hold. First of all, fresh food will spoil, and you’ll come home to something nasty. Second, an overflowing mailbox or doorstep is a big “Welcome” sign to burglars.

5. Online Orders

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If something won’t arrive before you leave, don’t order it. The package may get stolen or might, as we noted just before, send a signal to burglars.

6. Perishable Foods

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Eat them up. Don’t buy new ones you can’t finish. Freeze what you can. Throw away what you can’t, and not into the kitchen trash bin but to the big one you keep outside. Spare yourself some ugly, foul-smelling surprises upon your return.

7. Bills

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Pay off any bills that will come due while you’re gone. Depending on where you’re going, you might not be able to pay them online. Even if you have good internet access, it’s easy to forget about those bills.

8. Pets

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Do you have pets? Make sure to make arrangements for them well in advance. Scrambling at the last minute creates a lot of stress and often means you’ll pay more. If your pets stay home and someone comes to visit them, it will be easier to plan for some of the earlier issues on this list.

9. Prescription Meds

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Make sure you have enough for your time away and that they’re legal where you’re going. It’s also smart to make sure you can get refills of the same or equivalent where you’re going.

10. The Bank(s)

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If you’re leaving the country or traveling vast distances on your own, let your bank and credit card companies know. This can help you avoid blocks that can be really inconvenient but are meant to protect you from fraud.

11. Download, Download, Download

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Fill your devices to capacity with whatever content you love. Then you’ll be able to enjoy it wherever you are. Never count on good internet when you travel.

12. Packing List

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Make your list several days ahead of time. This will improve your planning and reduce stress.

13. Double-Check

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Make sure you have the right flight time and number. Also, verify with where you’re going that they’re expecting you. It doesn’t happen a lot, but sometimes places do overbook, and people who wanted to just check in and relax are suddenly in panic mode.

14. Itinerary

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This can be a tough sell for people who see vacations as an escape from the regular world. Still, even if you’re in that camp, things can go wrong, and it’s good to leave a plan with someone you trust.

15. Laundry

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Do the laundry before you leave. You’ll have fresh clothes when you get home. Washing the vacation laundry will still be in order, but you’d like not to have to add old laundry to the mix.

16. Online Check-in

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Most airlines, if not all, offer this now. This saves time and stress at the airport, and you can go straight to check-in your bags or to security if you’re not checking anything.

17. Check the Weather

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This is for both your departure airport and your arrival one. You’ll want to plan for extra travel time if local conditions might be bad, and it’s a last chance to make sure you’ve packed the right clothes for where you’re going.

18. Charge Your Devices

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Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll want everything fully charged. In cars, family members sometimes fight over charging outlets. Most planes don’t have any at all.

19. Have Some Cash

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For domestic travel, it’s always a good idea to have at least enough cash to cover tips, meals, and small items like a soda at a convenience store. Cash is also a temporary backup in case you lose your credit card, or it gets hacked.

20. Declutter Your Wallet

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Remove anything you won’t be needing. A good example is the multiple grocery-store cards you may have that won’t be relevant where you’re going. This makes it easier for you to find exactly what you need, and it reduces the hassles that come with a lost or stolen wallet.

21. Personalize Luggage

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If you’re flying, you should put some easily identifiable marker on each piece. That makes it easier to spot your items on a crowded carousel. It also makes it easier to avoid the mess that comes with mistakenly grabbing a bag that looks just like yours but isn’t yours.

22. Spare Keys

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Hide a spare key somewhere that isn’t obvious (like under the front door mat). People sometimes lose their keys while traveling, and you don’t want to have to deal with being shut out of your own home upon return if that happens.

23. Prepare Some Return Meals

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When you get back from a trip, you don’t feel like running out to the grocery store to get dinner. You might order takeout or delivery instead, you might get fast food, or if you get back unexpectedly late, you might have no options. Some frozen pizzas or pre-cooked meals can be a lifesaver when you return home.

24. Empty Trash Cans

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This is especially true for any trash cans that have trash that can spoil. So the bin in your home office might be okay, but those in bathrooms and kitchens aren’t. You don’t want to return to foul smells and “interesting” growths.

25. Snacks

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On a road trip, whoever’s driving probably won’t want to stop much. On a plane, you kind of don’t want to stop unless you’re at your destination. Pack enough snacks to get you through your day so you don’t have to overpay for things you don’t really want if that’s even an option.

26. Weigh Luggage

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If you’re flying, check the weight limit for each piece. Usually, it’s 50 pounds, but it can vary. If your bag is over the limit, you face steep extra charges or the possibility of having to remove items and leave them behind.

27. Check the Locks

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Have you ever driven away from the house and suddenly started wondering if you forgot to close the windows, lock the front door, or shut the garage? Include checking these things on a list of what to do before leaving, and check it off as you do it.

28. Water Those Plants

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Going away for an extended period probably means you’ve secured someone to take care of this and other daily things. If your trip is shorter, though, make sure you’ve watered plants sufficiently so that you don’t have to get new ones after you return.

29. Adjust the Thermostat

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On a winter trip, you need the house to stay warm enough to keep pipes from freezing, plants from dying, etc. So, adjust downward. In the summer, bump the temperature up a little so that the house won’t be as cool as you like it but won’t be a sauna when you get back. Depending on how long you’re away, this can save a lot of money on energy bills.

30. ID and Passport

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One of the worst travel experiences ever is showing up at the airport (or border) and realizing you’ve forgotten the ID you need. This has caused many missed flights and many ruined vacations. Before you leave, make sure you have the documents you need.

The 20 Most Spectacular Waterfalls in the U.S.

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Waterfalls are among the top outdoor attractions people like to visit. Their effects range from soothing to inspiring to awe-inducing, and although they’re most common in mountainous areas, there are waterfalls in every U.S. state.

With more than 17,000 documented waterfalls in the country, any list of the best is going to be subjective, but you won’t be disappointed by the ones here.

The 20 Most Spectacular Waterfalls in the U.S.

20 U.S. National Parks Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

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Our National Park System is one of the country’s greatest treasures, and it’s often been called “America’s Best Idea.” Currently, there are 63 national parks from the Pacific (American Samoa) to the ocean south of Florida (Dry Tortugas) and from the Arctic to the tropics.

Most people won’t get a chance to visit them all, so if you could only visit 20 and just one time each, which ones should they be? Here are our recommendations:

20 U.S. National Parks Everyone Should Visit At Least Once

The 15 Most-Visited Countries in the World

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The world is big, and there are countless places to explore. Some countries attract many more visitors than others. Countries that are popular with tourists often have a lot to see and do, as well as friendly people and great food.

According to Insider Monkey, these countries have the most visitors every year.

The 15 Most-Visited Countries in the World

The 5 States With the Best Roads (And the 5 That Are Just the Absolute Worst)

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The state of the roads is important to everyone who travels over them. Virtually everyone notices when the roads are bad. The journey becomes bumpy and shaky and may even damage your vehicle.

Some states are doing a better job with their road quality than others. According to USAFacts, these are the states that have the best roads and the ones that do the worst job on their roads.

The 5 States With the Best Roads (And the 5 That Are Just the Absolute Worst)

The 30 Most Beautiful Places People Must Visit


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There’s no way you could ever come up with a definitive list of the world’s most beautiful places. However, if you ask around, some places come up a lot more frequently than others do.

Not in any particular order, the following are some of those places that people mention over and over again.

The 30 Most Beautiful Places People Must Visit

Author: Robert Sihler


Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.

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