Bronwen has lived in, taught in, and visited a number of countries and loves to share these travel experiences with others.
My mother was a great believer in making lists, and insisted that we made them too, almost as soon as we could write. Although that was a long time ago, the habit has stuck and I've become a great believer in lists. They save a lot of hassle.
The Second Term School Holidays are coming up soon in Australia, and as it is winter in the south, unless you are heading to the mountains and a ski-lodge, many families, if they are planning on going away, will be looking forward to a holiday that involves flying somewhere up north where it is warmer. Others will be going off, perhaps somewhere local, with a caravan. We used to take a tent, but having to cook on a campfire with sodden wood and knock the ice out of the hollows that have formed on the top of the tent has rather lost its appeal these days.
These ideas and lists are fairly general and can be adapted for almost any holiday. Some destinations will require more clothing, while for others you will need less (especially if you are going hiking).
List One: Home Services
Arrange to have home services cancelled or dealt with. Remember to tick them off when you have done it.
- Notify the Post Office for them to hold the mail (or get a neighbour to look out for it, which is cheaper!)
- Notify the Newsagent: cancel your usual newspapers and magazines, or have them held.
- Notify the Milkman: if you still have milk delivered.
- Tell a neighbour and ask that any papers and junk mail delivered be removed.
- Lawn mowing: arrange for your lawn mower to continue mowing. This way the place continues to look lived in.
- Garbage: if you intend putting out your bins, make sure you ask someone to bring them in for you - a bin left out on the Nature Strip is a sure sign for a thief that you are absent.
- Notify anyone who comes to help in the house, and give plenty of warning.
List Two: Pets and Garden
Make arrangements for any pets - cats, dogs, gold fish.
- Book your pet into your favourite kennels, cattery, or other pet caring place.
- Some pets, such as gold fish, may be in situ in a pond or similar; is it possible to offer pocket-money to a local child you can rely on to come and feed them regularly?
Garden: If it is going to be warm or dry, see if a neighbour can pop over and give your favourite plants a drink every few days.
List Three: Special Arrangements
Passports: If you need passports
- ensure that they still have six months left on them
- make sure they are carried where you can reach them easily
- remember to take them!
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Visas: Arrange well ahead for any Visas you may need for countries you intend to visit.
Confirmations: To avoid nasty surprises it is important to
- Confirm with all places you have booked to stay.
- Confirm flights 24 hours before you intend to fly.
List Four: Packing Prep
Get out the suitcases, ports, backpacks, haversacks, cabin bags, overnight bags, sleeping bags or whatever has been stored away and is needed for the particular type of holiday you have chosen. Don't leave it until the last minute.
Locks and Keys:
If you want to have locks on your luggage, look them out and make sure you still have keys for the ones you want to use.
List Five: Packing
What to take
This will depend on the member of the family and the type of holiday you have chosen.
- Make a basic list on the computer first (see suggested list below), and then add or subtract relevant items for each person as their needs will differ slightly depending on whether they are male or female, a child, a teenager or an adult.
- Don't wear yourself out before the holiday begins. Unless you are packing for a baby, get each person to pack their own items or, if they are tiny, let them help.
- As each item is folded and packed in the container, tick it off on the list.
- Plastic vacuum bags are wonderful space-savers.
A Basic List of Things to Pack
|TOILET BAG||CLOTHING||OVERNIGHT BAG|
Singlet or vest
Glasses/ glasses case
Nail polish remover
Dirty linen bag
Mobile phone cord
IN A BAG
Spare camera battery
Travel Alarm Clock
Glasses repair kit
Gifts for friends
A few last minute things will help greatly in making the travelling a pleasant experience for all the family. Each person could carry their own in a small bag or backpack. Some suggestions are below, but you will think of more.
- Water: Probably for each person to carry their own, but you may prefer a large bottle to share and mugs.
- Snacks: Depending on the length of your journey, they may be just something to pass the time or they may need to be filling. Try to keep them healthy: brightly coloured sweets, etc. may mean that you end up with hyperactive children on your hands.
- Games or Books: These can be for all, whether on technological tools or not. Even ideas, such as 'I Spy', spotting certain brands of cars in teams and giving points, or making mottos from number-plate letters, can work well.
- Hand-wipes: Essential for sticky fingers.
- Baby Equipment: especially extra nappies and maybe even a change of clothes for mishaps.
Finally: Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!