Let’s talk lists!
In your preparation, you’ll have many lists in your vacation notebook and honestly, organizing your thoughts and ideas into lists goes a long way for a successful vacation. So, lists…you’ll need a list for things to pack, menu list, grocery list, activities list, things to remember to take care of before departure, etc. In this part of the series, let’s get into what some of these lists look like.
Things to pack- I’ve actually made a template in MS Excel called “Vacation Packing List”. It may seem obvious what needs to get packed but something always gets left behind. Always. What I did in creating this template is to make a column for each family member. Then I created rows of items…basically you mentally dress yourself from the undies to the shoes. Here’s our basic list…not completely inclusive and I always write things in at some point, but this helps make sure it all gets packed and blankie doesn’t get left behind!
Also..this list? Comes with us! Because you have to get all this crap back home, right?!
Menu List: Remember here you have 3 meals to consider times the number of days you’re on vacation. Include travel days, too! Some easy lunch/ dinner meals to consider:
- Hotdogs and beans and/ or mac & cheese
- Cheeseburgers and corn on the cob
- Baked/ BBQ chicken tenders
- Spaghetti & garlic bread
- Grilled cheese and tater tots/ crinkle fries
- Soft tacos and refried beans/ rice
- Fish sticks and mashed potatoes
Breakfast can be cereal, frozen waffles, yogurt…whatever. It doesn’t need to be extravagant because you’re gonna want to get out of the house and out for your activity.
Grocery List: For this list, think through all meals each day and write down the ingredients you need for each thing. Next, think of any other considerations you need for the week. Swim diapers? ketchup? bottled water? Now, look through your list and see if there’s any part of it you may have on hand and can bring with you. No sense buying a coffee creamer container when you have a giant one at home from which you can pour a portion into a Ziploc bag. Look at your meal list to see if you need any spices and try to pack those if you can so you don’t need to buy them later.
Activity List: With activities, you’re at the mercy of the weather so have options. It’s amazing what kids enjoy and so often we find that the free and low cost stuff is just as exciting to them as an adventure park. We usually don’t tell the kids where we are headed each day so the excitement builds as they try to figure out what we are doing. In this list, we have indoor (rainy day) alternatives, all-day activities, short activities…go for everything. For example, our New Smyrna Beach, Florida vacation has included things like:
- Ponce Inlet Lighthouse -$8/ adults, $4/ children
- National Seashore -$5 parking fee all day
- Fishing -Free
- Flagler Ave beach- $5 parking fee
- Brevard Zoo- $20/ adults $15/ children…also includes a water feature- need change of clothes and towels!
- Boardwalk park- Free
- Kennedy Space Center $50/ adult $40/ child (yikes! Maybe not this trip!)
- Blackpoint Wildlife Drive- Free
- Manatee viewing dock- Free
- Dolphin cruise- $75 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)
- Swimming pool- Free
- Mini-golf- $25 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)
- Bowling- $25 family or less (look for local tourism magazines for discounts)
From your activity list you can determine the time you’ll spend and from there you can figure out what meals you want to serve each day or whether it would be necessary to eat out, etc. Don’t forget AAA, military, or student discounts. If you are a member of your local zoo at home, chances are good those passes are good at the zoo at your vacation destination if they are affiliated with the same association.
Watch out for Part 4 where we’ll talk about the kid factor before, during and after vacation!
Until then, how do you feel after you return home from vacation? Are you rested or frazzled?
Don’t forget to follow our blog so you don’t miss the next installment of our summer vacation series…”Life’s a beach…vacations that don’t kill me”!