My Personal Step-by-Step Vacation Planning

These were originally posted as I was planning our vacation – It was 7 posts.  As I’ve  ‘cleaned’ things up in the blog and organized everything to make it more user friendly, I’ve combined them….

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January 30, 2015

As I plan our vacation this year, I’ll walk readers through the steps I go through….in real time…as I’m doing it.   My goal is to post every few days (early in the process when there’s much to do) and then every few weeks – detailing exactly what I did.  It’s really not as overwhelming as it may seem initially.

So….here goes…  🙂

Our vacation is in the spring this year – I have just a few months to plan it all.

First – a confession….   We own a timeshare.  This is not something I’m happy about…or proud of, but it’s a fact, none-the-less.  That means that our vacations are often dictated by timeshare availability – to keep from wasting the yearly maintenance fees. Our plan is to get rid of this (SOON!!) but first to visit some places we probably wouldn’t visit otherwise…

Now….Here’s my thoughts and decisions over the last 48 hours:

  1. Our time share offered some great deals to Vegas, Tahoe and Daytona.  We been discussing these 3 options for a couple of weeks and decided we could go to BOTH Vegas and Tahoe in one trip…  This would give us the best value on our timeshare points.
  2. Allegiant Air had REALLY inexpensive flights to Las Vegas.  We could  fly there, spend a few days seeing Hoover Dam, Death Valley, etc… (we aren’t gamblers and don’t care much for Vegas ‘entertainment’)  Then we drive to Tahoe and spend the remaining 5-6 days there (Yosemite is not too far away).
  3. Thought process:  As I began looking into the feasibility of this plan, I discovered that the drive to Tahoe is 7 hrs  (Yosemite is another 4 hrs PLUS a hotel stay). Then of course, we’d need to drive BACK to Vegas to catch our return flight…..  (No Allegiant Air flights from Reno to home.) A one way flight from Reno on another airline would be VERY expensive.  This plan was quickly becoming a vacation of MANY driving days…longer than the time we had….and a LOT of money!!!  It was dying a tragic death….   Abandon Plan!!
  4. We made the decision to skip Vegas –  Instead, we’ll fly into Reno on a round trip ticket, go to Yosemite then spend significant time in Lake Tahoe.  More time to relax sounded really nice!  Now, it should be mentioned that Tahoe is mostly about skiing, water sports and casinos. Obviously, spring when we would be visiting would not be conducive to those things, but that was ‘ok’ with us.   We want to sightsee, hike, tour mining towns, visit museums and relax.  A ‘base camp’ in Tahoe would provide us with all of those things…away from HUGE crowds.
  5. The next day, my search for flights turned up Southwest and American Airlines as having the best fares.  Choosing between Southwest and American will happen later. NOTE:  I compare fares on the consolidator websites, but always purchase on the airlines official website to take advantage of perks there.  I do the same with hotels.
  6. Yosemite is a ‘must do’ for this trip. However, the 4+ hour drive from Reno would necessitate a hotel stay. We wanted to do this either at the beginning or end of our stay in Tahoe. Based on our flight times, I realized it would ‘fit’ better at the beginning. After a little research, I liked the areas of Sonora or Jamestown, CA for our hotel stay.  The area has historical significance so our evenings there will be ‘full’. The tentative plans is to land in Reno that morning and drive to the Sonora/Jamestown area that afternoon.  There will be time to explore this historical mining town that evening.  We’ll go to Yosemite Nat’l Park-  (about a 90 min drive)  the next day.  The following day (day 3) we’ll make a leisurely drive to Tahoe (200 miles)  stopping at anything interesting along the way.
  7. We could make our stay in Tahoe 6, 7 or 8 nights.  I spent a little time reading about things to do in the area.  Based on this, we opted for 7 or 8 nights.  Now, my husband just needed to request time off at work. Every thing (reservations) are on hold until he gets approval.
  8. Tomorrow, he will submit that vacation request.  IF they approve his dates (fingers crossed….)  then we’ll spend the weekend reserving the timeshare and buying airfare.  I’m feeling a little pinched for time.  I don’t want these timeshare availabilities to ‘disappear’.   🙂

For now, everything’s ‘on hold’   🙂

How much time did all this take?  I spent about 2 hours Wednesday night…then a couple of hours Thursday on the research.  I shared it all with my husband over dinner both Wed. and Thurs nights and decisions were made over coffee and dessert!  🙂    This is probably the most time consuming portion of the planning….

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February 1, 2015

Great!  My husband texted Friday afternoon saying that the vacation dates were approved.  Onward!    🙂 🙂

I won’t make any reservations until he gets home…It’s a ‘thing’ with us to make the reservations together.  ha!  In the meantime, I’ll decide between Southwest or American Airlines.

  1. Thought Process:  These flights are the same price – down to the penny… (benefit of competition….ha)    🙂  They both are offering a $100 statement credit  for applying for  their credit card AND using it to purchase the tickets.  American gives 1 free checked bag/passenger to their credit card holders.  Southwest doesn’t charge any baggage fees.  Things look pretty ‘even’ so far…but what about those pesky little annual fees?  Ahha…That’s where they differed.   American is waiving that fee for the first year.  Southwest will charge it immediately – $99.  That totally negates their $100 discount!!!   Decision made – we’re flying American!  🙂  I’m pleased as I don’t really care for Southwest’s boarding process – no reserved seats.  (NOTE:  We’ll cancel the credit card in 11½ months!!.  We REFUSE to pay annual fees…..)
  2. Now I want to know about visiting Yosemite.  This time of year (Spring) may present some off-season disadvantages (roads not yet opened; limited hours at visitor centers, etc…)   However, the advantages to traveling at this time is less congestion, lower rates, etc… I just need to confirm there will be enough roads  open in the Sierra Nevadas to make it worth our time.  This process proved a bit frustrating, unfortunately, as the NPS.gov site was NOT giving clear information and the phone number was automated.  That afternoon I stopped by the AAA office for Tourbooks (a WONDERFUL benefit of AAA membership, by the way) and there I found the information I was looking for.  There would be some closed roads, but we would be able to see as much of the park as we could fit into a day.  We can be happy with that.  🙂
  3. Hotels in Sonora:  We have to choose between a ‘historic’ hotel which will be all about the experience but forgo the amenities or modern updates….OR a modern hotel which would have the modern updates/amenities but omit the ‘flavor’ of the historic area.  After reading many reviews, I still couldn’t make a decision.
  4. Friday evening, we tried to make the timeshare reservation but their website was down.  I finally made a phone call and that ended up being a GREAT thing.  They offered me some incentives for another trip.  I made the timeshare reservation, got my ‘incentives’ and heaved a sigh of relief.  I had been worried the availability would ‘disappear’ while we were in ‘holding mode’.  🙂

Saturday morning:

  1. Time to purchase airfare.  We applied for the credit card to get the $100 discount then used the card to purchase the tickets.  🙂
  2. Now with confirmed flight times, we can reserve a rental car. My strategies for finding the best rate on rental cars is in   Finding Bargains on Rental Cars.  In reading that you’ll see that I don’t worry about rate when I reserve a car.  I just reserve it to get in the system, then cancel and rebook as the rate goes down. I research these on consolidators, but again, only make the reservations on the company websites.  The best deal there (today…) was with  Thrifty – $244.  I reserved it.  Then I grabbed a 3×5 card and wrote pertinent information (company name, confirmation # and rate)   As I find it cheaper I’ll reserve and record the new information there.  This will be my record as I cancel and rebook throughout this process.  I LOVE to go back and see what I have saved…  🙂 haha!!
  3. The last thing I did was to create a ‘vacation’ folder in my email and drop all the email confirmations from today into it.  They will be easy to locate if I have a questions or when I need to locate the rental car reservation to cancel/rebook.

It’s all Done!!!   🙂

Time Invested in This Part:

Friday:   about 1½ hours or research;    Saturday:  about an hour

The most time consuming things are done for now….From here on out, it’s just the ‘fun stuff’  🙂 🙂

Speaking of the ‘fun stuff’….  My husband had to go in to work this evening for a few hours.  It’s a dreary rainy day so I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and my AAA Tourbooks.image  This sounds like an absolutely marvelous way to spend a few hours!  🙂  I’m not including this in the ‘time investment’.  This isn’t a necessity…this is just FUN!!!  🙂  🙂

I’m going to go read now  🙂

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February 11, 2015

Most of the decisions/reservations are made – so my main focus for this last week was to upload and edit pictures from the camera so the memory cards would be empty and ready for new and beautiful images of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.  That seems to be the ONE thing I procrastinate with….then stress over in the last few weeks before our vacation because memory cards need to be empty before we leave.

My Accomplishments last week:

  1. I downloaded 600-700 pictures from the camera and began sorting, purging and  editing….   Kudos to those who stay on top of this task!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂
  2. Something interesting came up in a conversation with my husband this week.  I told him I had reserved our rental car – a ‘compact’.  With just the two of us and 2 suitcases, we like to get the best gas mileage possible.  He brought up an interesting point…the steep mountain passes would require a car with more power than a compact would probably have.  This was not something I’d thought of.  Our trips to the Rockies and Smokey’s were in our personal vehicle – which has power to handle the climbs.  He had a valid point – I changed the reservation.
  3. OneDrive is my planning program of choice, so I spent about 5 minutes  setting up my OneNote notebook.  I sent a few webpages there (NPS.gov) then  synced it all 🙂

Several days later:

4. Thoughts progressed to meals and groceries which we’ll need very soon after arriving.   I checked Walmart.com for locations of Walmart stores. Because I live in the “Land of Walmarts”,  I’m used to Supercenters every 3 miles. That is NOT the case in NV/CA. Not only are there fewer Walmarts….but most of what I found were not Supercenters (with groceries). I 2 and sent the maps to OneNote.  They’re not conveniently located so we’ll probably just find a grocery store when we get there.  NOT what I prefer, but not a tragedy by any means.  haha!!   🙂

5. Over the weekend, we went shopping – clearance sales (and ‘fun’)  At Macy’s, we came across this little dandy – “packable” down coats. The coat stuffs into the left hand pocket – In the picture below, there are TWO coats – the green one…..and the navy one packed inside the bag. Identical size, brand, etc…image  I expect chilly mornings – perhaps chilly days in Tahoe and Yosemite. Packing coats (with airline baggage fees) was not exciting to me. These are the perfect solution…extremely lightweight and compact  (approx. 12×6)  🙂    Best part…they were on clearance..  Regular $195 – with 60% off…then an additional 30% off…and a $10 coupon.  We paid about $50 each for them including tax!!  We’re planning an Alaskan cruise… someday….. and they’ll come in handy then too.  That makes it easier to justify the purchase.

Time Investment on all this?

I spent about 3-4 hours on Sunday afternoon with the pictures, however, I don’t include that as vacation planning time….  That’s something I should have done a year ago….  🙂 🙂

I’m also not including the shopping time in my estimates.  Shopping is NEVER a job….and typically takes all day!  haha

With the rest, I probably didn’t spend more than 30 minutes   🙂

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March 28, 2015

It’s been over a month.  With the major plans/reservations made it hasn’t been that ‘pressing’.  This can really all be done with minimal effort once the major decisions and reservations are done.   🙂

So….what have I accomplished this month?  The list is long, but remember, I did this over a month’s time.    🙂

  • I finished the photos and cleared the memory card.  Yay!  🙂
  • More Information Gathering for things to do in and around Tahoe and the Lake.  Everything isn’t open this time of year – or only open limited hours.  That meant I needed to know when they were open to avoid wasting time driving to things that were closed. Finding this info online was NOT an easy task but when I finally found it, I discussed it all with my husband one evening at our favorite coffee shop.  He had some opinions…  🙂  and we each made our “Top List” of things we wanted to do.  Other things went onto the “If we can” or “If we have time” List.  🙂  🙂  All this information goes to OneNote so it can be referenced later.
  • Nps.gov/Yosemite began giving updates on road closures and openings for the spring this month. Everything is still listed as tentative, but that’s better than no information at all.  Some roads were slated to open April 1 and others April 15.  A few won’t open until May but we’ll be able to see enough of the park to make for an enjoyable visit.  That being said, I knew that with the unpredictability of weather, I made a Plan b –just in case there was a huge snowfall in the Sierra Nevadas the week before we arrived.  Our secondary Plan was a trip to Sacramento.  There are quite a few interesting things to see/do there.  I certainly HOPE that Yosemite as a destination doesn’t fall through, but if it does, we have an alternative.  I’m prepared!!  🙂
  • The next thing on my list to think about is menus.

We stay in condos and cook most of our meals. In order to know what spices/seasonings to bring, and what to buy at the grocery store so everything is used and nothing is wasted (thrown away) on our last morning, I have to plan menus. I also bring a few of my own homemade ‘mixes’ for baked goods (cornbread, pancakes, etc…) in order to use whole wheat flour and organic ingredients.

My plan is to have leisurely mornings at the condo with big breakfasts – since we expect it to be cool outside.  Then, we’ll probably want light lunches (fruit, salads, etc….)  We’ll cook nice evening meals that are easy to prepare and require very few ingredients to minimize waste.

I came up with menus that could be planned for one night, then ‘re-invented’ later in the week as an ‘ingredient’ or side item for another meal.  For example, I’ll cook beans one night….then use what’s left in taco salad the next night and as a side item with the enchiladas 3 days later.  Left-over taco meat becomes a topping for the baked potatoes and/or chili on the hotdogs, etc…  Everything is inter-linked.

My Menus:

  • beans and cornbread
  • taco salad
  • baked potatoes with toppings
  • chicken enchiladas
  • hotdogs with chili
  • fried chicken strips and potatoes  and veggies

This is 6 meals for 8 nights, but having done this before, I KNOW that’s enough food- possibly allowing for a last-minute decision to try a local restaurant if we wish…  It will keep us fed all week!  🙂

Breakfast:

  • Fresh fruit  (A staple for us!)  🙂
  • cereal
  • steel cut oats and/or malt-o-meal
  • eggs, bacon and toast  (If we want Sante Fe omelets, I’ll have the ingredients )
  • pancakes (Our preference is waffles, but most condos don’t have waffle makers….)   😦

Lunch:

  • sandwiches & chips/veggies for picnics
  • salads for days at the condo/resort
  • Lighter lunch of fruit, almonds, peanut butter, crackers, etc… when we’ve had a big breakfast  🙂

I make/bring my own homemade baking mixes for cornbread and pancakes.    (I’m particular about ingredients….)  I’ll just add eggs, oil and milk to them.   🙂

Using every item and ingredient we purchase at the grocery store (without having to throw anything away on the last morning) has become like a game for me.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years.  🙂

I come up with multiple ways to use things – I mentioned how I utilize the beans and/or taco meat.  I’ll buy a 5# bag of potatoes and between fried potatoes, hashbrowns, baked potatoes, etc… we should be able to eat them all.  If there’s any left, I can always make hashbrowns for breakfast.  🙂   Cheese is in almost every item on the list.  I’ll purchase a LARGE block of it…and HOPE it lasts the entire week without having to return to the store for more.  ha!

I actually bring cereal in our suitcases.  Why?   We could never eat an entire box of hot or cold cereal – certainly not more than 1 box if we wanted variety during the week. So, I bring 2-4 servings of each of the cereals (cold and hot)  in Ziploc bags in my suitcase and we get the variety that we want.  When it’s eaten, I have room in the suitcase for souvenirs.  🙂

Our last day’s menus are always ‘whatever’s in the kitchen’.  We may have some unusual combinations/meals, but it’s always good food….I’ve never heard complaints.    🙂

Now……..with menus decided, I can make my lists of things to take and what to buy at the grocery store in Tahoe.  Any seasonings I need (chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper) will be in my suitcase (prescription bottles, washed out, work great for this)  Then, a few weeks before we leave, I’ll pull out coupons for grocery store purchases to take with us.

Time Investment in this:   Photos:  LOTS of time!   Researching Tahoe, Yosemite and coming up with Plan b: 2-3 hours.  Menus & lists – probably 30 minutes.  This list doesn’t really change much from vacation to vacation.  I’ve found what works well to eliminate waste…..No need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ every year….

All of this was done over 5-6 weeks.    🙂  It’s not that much to do in a month and a half.

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April 6, 2015

The vacation countdown is beginning.   🙂

More Information gathering:

  • Day trips to nearby mining towns (Virginia City, Carson City, Genoa)
  • Nps.gov website for updated info on road openings/closing in Yosemite.  Because weather is constantly changing, I needed to keep on top of this.

I learned that Mariposa Road and Glacier Point Road will be open.  Snow has been lighter this year so roads are opening sooner than normal.  🙂 🙂

My searches through the NPS website also turned up an APP for Yosemite.  After so much frustration at the absence of information on their website, I found everything I needed in the app!!!

My Short-Lived Rant:  I understand the concept of putting info in an app.  That’s great!   But to NOT have that info on the Nat’l Park website as well just makes no sense to me.   OK, rant over!  🙂

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Next, I began researching Carson City and Virginia City.

I’ve noted through all this that California and Nevada don’t update their websites with the current season’s information until the season opens making advance planning very challenging. Typically, you would not have this much trouble gathering information as most tourist areas keep their websites updated year round.

What Did I Find?  Some wonderful local Festivals (we LOVE these!!!) going on while we’re in the area.

  • May 1  Free Museum admission to museums in Virginia City, NV   (called Flashback Fridays)

  • May 2-3 Chili on the Comstock in Virginia City
  • Apr 30-May 2  Cowboy Festival in Genoa
  • To NOTE:  Treetop Adventure Park (ziplining, etc…) is ONLY  open on weekends this time of year – i.e. May 2-3.  IF we want to do that, we’ll have to plan it for that weekend.

While we are  “museum people”….We’re also particular about the type of museums we go to.  We only want to spend our time on the really GOOD ones.  ha!!  There are several in Virginia City that I want to check out.

The wonderful thing about a ‘free’ day  (in addition to the ‘free’ part) is the fact that we can walk into a museum, look around for 10 minutes and decide if we’re interested in staying.  If we are, that’s great!   However, if we aren’t interested in what we see there, we can walk out without feeling like we wasted money on the admission.  NOTE:  Most museums have ‘free’ days… at various intervals.  Always check on this if museums are on your list of things to do.  🙂   .

{Edit after we returned:  To get the ‘tickets’ for free admission, we had to go to the Visitor Ctr.  There they told us they wanted a ‘donation’ to support their restoration efforts.  Again…no problem…until they told me what the ‘suggested donation’ was…MORE than it would have cost to come any day and pay the admission to the museums we wanted to visit.  They valued the ‘free ticket’ on someone going to ALL the museums listed.   I donated…but NOT what they ‘suggested’…I came away feeling like the ‘Free Museum Admission Day” was a ploy…joke.  Oh well.  We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the museums we visited….and I think we saved .50 each over what we would have paid for the admissions on a regular day.  ha!    

Looking at the dates above, I came up with a tentative schedule to make sure we don’t miss something that we want to see/do.

  • Apr. 30 Genoa Cowboy Festival:  I don’t know if we’ll like this, but we’ll check it out.  If we decide not to stay, we can head to Carson City  – we’ll be halfway there.
  • May 1 – Virginia City –  town and Museums
  • May 2 Tree Top Adventure Park –   We’ll go there and investigate -.  If we like it we’ll stay, if not, we’ll find something else to do that day.  🙂
  • May 3 Chili on the Comstock in Virginia City –  I think we’ll drive back to Virginia City for this.   My husband enters (and sometimes wins) chili cook-offs.  He’s looking forward to this!  🙂
      • NOTE:  Tickets for this have to be pre-purchased.  We’ll check in to this on our FIRST visit to Virginia City May 1)  🙂  I don’t want to pre-purchase them in case we change our minds….

Moving on…..

  • I’ve been checking the rental car prices every week since I first made that reservation.  The price hasn’t fluctuated until the last 2 weeks.  The rate has FINALLY started to come down.  I’ve saved over $50 by canceling and re-booking our reservation. (3 times)  It took about 5 minutes each time – to check rates, reserve, then cancel the old reservation.  Of course, these confirmations were always dropped into a folder in my e-mail, so they were easy to locate and cancel.

Time investment:  Reading, researching and sending pages to OneNote:  90 minutes;  Finding, downloading and “playing” with the Yosemite app:  30-40 minutes  🙂

Breakfast with hubby at Burger King (where they have wi-fi)  to discuss it all and find out what museums he’s interested in:  a very relaxing and lazy 2 hours (we enjoyed our time and had many refills on the coffee!!  🙂 🙂

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April 23, 2015

Things are getting really busy now so I’ll just give a quick bullet list of things I’ve done this week.

Websites Visited:

  • Yosemite National Park:  Re-checking roads to make sure nothing has changed.  🙂 They’ve had some snow this week but all looks good – no need to worry about Plan b.  🙂  
  • Hotel reservation for Sonora.  I wanted to get the best rate -which was the non-refundable reservation.  When I do that, I usually wait until the last minute to make sure nothing is going to interrupt our travel plans….  (NOTE:  This tactic would NOT work if we were traveling during the busy tourist season.  For off-season travel it worked fine. ) 
  • Rental car rates:  After that $50 drop in the rate a month ago, the rates have not changed.  This time, I deleted cookies in hopes that would produce a rate drop.  It didn’t…. I’ll continue to check every 3-4 days, but the rate we currently have is pretty good – $217 for 11 days
  • Gasbuddy.comThe map feature on this let me know that gas prices go up .50 at the CA border.  (lets me know that the price variance is a state tax thing….)   Our condo is 1/2 mi. from the border so getting gas in NV will not be a problem. 🙂

Last few things I did:

  • Typed up an itinerary for family – lists the airline flight numbers/times and phone numbers for hotel and condo in case we can’t be contacted through our cell phones. I’ll send these out  (Facebook or email) the night before we leave.  I put that on my “ToDo” list.  🙂  The night before we leave is always very hectic and if things aren’t on the list, they’ll most likely be forgotten….  
  • Made arrangements with our (adult) kids to be our ride to and from the airport.  It just so happens that our flight times work within their schedules so they can save us parking fees.  🙂  
  • Gathered coupons for items on our grocery list and a few fast food coupons  (thinking particularly of the airport).   I have 2 coupon envelopes – labeled – one for groceries; one for restaurants.  These go in my carry on.
  • We’ve accumulated quite a few brochures, AAA Tourbooks, etc… through this process.  All of those were very helpful while planning, but would be very bulky/heavy to take with us.  I want some of the information  (maps in particular as GPS is not always reliable – especially in the mountains).  I pulled JUST the pages I needed from those brochures. Everything else went in the trash.
  • I put together my folder and labeled the categories.  wp-1429755874416I’ll print confirmations next week and file them in there.

All of this probably took 2-3 hours over the course of a week….

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April 27, 2015

Well….  It’s almost time to pack and go!  For this post, I’ll write what  I WILL be doing rather than what I’ve already done….  The closer we get to ‘departure day’, the more I will need to be ‘doing’ and not ‘writing’.  🙂

WHAT I’LL DO THIS WEEK:

  • I have a small amount of grocery shopping to do (snack items for our carry on bags, etc.. )  I also need to make sure there’s adequate bread, milk, corn dogs, peanut butter and jelly for my college son who’s staying home. 🙂  (I’ll cook & freeze some of his favorite meals too, but he always asks for an ample supply of corn dogs and pbj)
  • I’ll put the spices/seasonings we’re taking in plastic prescription bottles (washed out very carefully).  Cereal (both hot and cold) will go in Ziploc bags.  I’ll make the baking mixes (cornbread and pancakes) and snack mix bags (dried fruit and nuts).  All of these go in a small Rubbermaid container in my suitcase – just in case something busts with airline handling.
  • Two days before we leave, I’ll cook food to leave here for my son –   He’ll be starting finals that week so I want to make things as easy as I can for him.  He gives me requests of the things he wants (it never changes year to year ha!)   I’ll cook ‘assembly-line style’ and have everything done in an hour or so.
  • Laundry (because clothes have to be clean before I can pack  🙂 🙂
  • Clean the House –  bathrooms, mopping, vacuuming and dusting.  Not only do I HATE to come home to a dirty house, but 2 days after we get home we’ll have guests.  I want to get everything ready for company before we leave.
  • Stop mail and newspaper and take care of the lawn (With all the rain this spring, we’re having to mow earlier than usual)  These things fall to my husband so I don’t really worry about them, however, I ALWAYS put them on my list so I can have the pleasure of marking them off without having to actually ‘do’ them first.  🙂
  • PACK!  🙂    That’s a ‘given’, right?  🙂

THE DAY BEFORE WE LEAVE:

  • Charge camera batteries
  • Print/Copy/Gather
    • Confirmations for rental car, condo, hotel, etc…  all placed in my  travel file folder.  (I’ll check rental car rates one last time before doing this.) wp-1429755874416
    • Auto Insurance:  Put auto insurance card in wallet and copied page from insurance policy showing coverage in rental vehicles in the folder.
  • Check in for flight and print boarding passes.  I like paper copies of these rather than phone apps.  Paper doesn’t break if you drop it…..  🙂
  • Clean the kitchen from top to bottom; run the dishwasher and unload it before going to bed (My son will clean up his mealtime dishes, etc… and put them in the dishwasher IF it’s empty.)
  • Check Weather.com to see if I need to make any last minute adjustments to our packing.    🙂

Time Investment in all this:  LOTS of time!!!  The week before we leave is always VERY full……  but I enjoy it!!  🙂

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