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How to prepare to have the best vacation ever

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’re just trying to make it to your vacation.  This affects your preparation and remembering to do things to make your vacation the best it can be.  Check out Michael Hyatt’s podcast How to vacation like a pro.  He and one of my friends Michele Cushatt (an incredible person!) give a 40,000 foot view.  Let’s get down on the runway and help you prepare to take the trip of a lifetime.  Here’s all the practical stuff to bring/do to make your vacation the best it can be.


  1. Start a list! Make your list of things to do and also things to pack (will be next week’s post!).  This will take the guessing game out of vacation/going away.  Keep it in your phone or somewhere easily accessible as you think of things.

1-2 weeks out:

6 Things to do the week before vacation or longer travel:

  1. Email your itinerary and travel plans to a trusted friend. (my parents always send my sister and I this when they travel)
  2. Let a trusted neighbor know you will be gone and to keep an eye out.
  3. Put a hold on your mail and newspaper (do people still get those?). You can do it online with the USPS.
  4. Check any bill due dates and pay them. Getting a late fee after a great vacation is like a punch in the throat.
  5. I have a rule where I don’t pack the day I’m leaving. This makes me pack the night before and gives me some time to remember things that aren’t on the list.
  6. Get ahead on work.  Look over the next 2 weeks and see what might need to get done.  Be crazy efficient the last couple of days.

If going international:

  1. Make copies of important documents (passport if going international, or drivers license) and stash them in your carryon.
  2. Call your cell phone company and find out what the dealio is. (I got home from the Middle East once and had a phone bill that was 10x my monthly bill!)
  3. Call your credit card companies and let them know you will be traveling. Don’t want to get caught in the middle of Australia and not be able to rent a snorkel.
  4. Find out the electric where you are going and get adapters

Day before or day of:

  1. Adjust the thermostat
  2. Unplug heavy electronics
  3. Empty fridge of perishables and remove trash from your house
  4. Start automatic timers for your lights if you have them
  5. Set your security system if you have one
  6. Lock all windows and doors
  7. Check the weather forecast and add a couple items of clothing accordingly
  8. Set vacation responders—email and phone message (and extend it to the day after you get back—this will allow you to get caught up).
  9. Move your spare key (maybe under the mat or in the flower pot are not great spots)
  10. Close your curtains. (helps with the utilities and with creepers)

Pete Hardesty

Pete Hardesty grew up in Baltimore, MD and graduated from the University of Virginia. Pete then joined the staff of Young Life in 1997 till present. He lives outside of Washington D.C. where he leads the college division of Young Life for the eastern part of the U.S. He loves college students, beach volleyball, and his 2 nieces very much. Likes: His nieces, Ravens football, college people (even though they make him feel old), movies, cigars, Thai food, the Middle East. Dislikes: Country music, tomatoes, shrimp, rice crispy treats, and wet socks. Pete believes because we only get one shot at this life we need to figure out what matters and give ourselves to it. Let’s make it count. If you have a problem with this, he challenges you to meet him behind the dumpster after school to fight.

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