School’s out and your family is no doubt planning on heading out of town at some point before it starts again. Whether it is a weekend trip to the woods for camping, or a cross-country road trip there are some basics you might want to keep in mind before heading out on your vacation.
Who Are You?
No matter if it is a weekend trip to the coast or a two week jaunt to Mexico, you need to have all the appropriate identification. And not just for yourself but for your spouse and children as well. If you are leaving the country at all, everyone needs a passport. And this is something you need to obtain well in advance as it can take several weeks to arrive after completing the application process. If you are leaving the state you live in you may want to care certified copies of your children’s birth certificates, especially if your spouse won’t be joining you and definitely if you are not married to the child’s other parent. If you will be traveling by car, be sure to contact your insurance company and square up your cover. Make sure that you have your most current insurance verification card and add any coverage that might be necessary when crossing state and country lines.
Where are you going?
Do some research before you head out. Even if it is an “all-inclusive” trip, find out exactly what that means. If is better to over plan your trip then not have everything you need. Also you might want to find some extra activities that you can turn to if something doesn’t go as planned. For example, it would be awful to arrive at a museum you had planned to visit only to find it closed for renovation and now you don’t have a plan B. Also keep in mind the weather and climate of your desitination and pack accordingly. And lastly, if you are leaving the country check with your doctor about any vaccination s/he would advise you and your family to obtain.
How are you getting there?
If you are traveling by car, remember to take it in for a “once-over”. Many auto shops give a free vehicle inspection with an oil change. Some key things to have checked are the tread and pressure of your tires, all the fluid levels of your engine (oil, coolant, transmission, brake fluid, etc.), your alignment and finally all of your lights.
If you are traveling by plane, carefully read all of the fine print from the airline. There have a been a rather large amount of changes to typical flights so you want to be prepared. Each airline has their own rules about number, weight and dimensions of luggage. You also want to check on the proper procedures of bring child seats and/or stollers. Additionally, you will want to check the specific airports that you will be using for proper security procedures, each is likely to be slightly different.
A few more miscellaneous points
- Be sure to bring enough of any daily medications to last twice as long as your trip. You never know what might happen. Also it is best to carry all medications in the original packages it was prescribed in, clearly labeled by the pharmacy.
- If your children have a lovey that is small enough to travel, bring it. It will make nights away from home easier.
- Bring small items (toys, travel games, books) for your children to be entertained by during the “in-between” times, like waiting in airport or riding in the car.
- Make sure that at least one person back home has a specific itinerary of your trip. They should know when you are leaving and when to expect you back as well as the best way to contact you should something happen with your home.