I have been lacking in my duties to blog between my health, the crazy weather and trying to organize a trip Ive been pretty overwhelmed. I have one daughter so I am not use to the chaos of having four teens to manage. One kid is easy and if they forget something no big deal you can buy something but with four they forget something it is extremely costly. In my past life I was either a manager or the general manager in the food and beverage industry which is basically having to take care of 20 to 30 teenagers at a time so I can figure this out, maybe.
So first thing I approach it like a manager, I make a list what needs to be done with a timeline. Call me narotic, call me OCD (if you ever saw my house you would not think I was OCD) but I am wanting to work smart not hard, again manager. First is figuring out when my step daughters will be here and when they should pack. Second find a house/dog sitter to keep my adopted teenage son from having a huge party at my house. Third everything else! Out comes my agenda to plan out all calls or things that need to be done. My head is spinning so time to break it into small peices that are more managable.
Now comes out the clip board with the check lists, again manager but they use these check lists because they work so laugh all you want. Obviously I need check list on what to pack now remember I am used to just one kid so there was no concern about bringing too much but there are 6 of us going so time to streamline. I gave the girls a packing packet that has a guideline on what to pack as far as the essentials go. Also included in the packet is an outfit planner with each day broken out with am and pm. With that is a paking hint each item should be able to be mixed and matched with a suggestion that for every short or skirt you find 2 way to style it or ideas on using a dress for a day look and later changing it up to a night look.
I have a leather pouch that holds all of the travel documents needed for the trip and pre check with airline, we are going to Mexico so you need to make sure you have all of the information entered, ie passport numbers. Anything that will make the airport easier when traveling with 6 people is a must especially since our flight is at 6:oo am. My personal bag is already loaded with all of that so I don't forget anything. I also registered with the American Embassy where we are going and when if you lose your passport doing that will make the process easier and it only takes a few minutes to do. I make copies of passports, birth certificates and id cards and put them in an envelope. Again manager so plan for the unexpected disaster. I also make a copy of the passport that the girls can carry with them istead of the actual passport.
I am not 100% anymore since I got sick and I have to compensate, again work smart not hard. A copy of all credit card info with the international phone number in case we lose or have one stolen. Also we call all banks and credit card companies with where we are going and how long we will be there. Some banks will allow you to put spending limits per day for extra peace of mind but I don't get that nuts afterall what if I see the perfect dress or pair of shoes? I go to my neighbors tell them we are going on vacation who is going to be staying here, what cars will be here. I also tell them we are not expecting any deliveries or having any work done on the house so if you see vans or trucks and a lot of activity call 911. This I recommend all of you do I have a couple of nieghbors that work from home or stay home and it is the best security as well as being free. I also make a second folder for flying home to keep that organized
More checklists, wallet, cash, credit cards, toiletries to pack and other essentials that can't be packed until the night before and some not until the day we leave. The night before we leave I will put them on the bedroom door of each girl. Yes you can buy things in Mexico but again 4 girls so expensive not to mention the selection is not exactly the best so you won't be able to pick up your Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer or cleansing oil. Medicine, contacts, an extra pair of contacts and of course chargers for all of the phones, Ipads, kindles and laptops because that could be disasterous what would they do talk to each other, god forbid. Tip buy sunscreen before you go it is actually quite expensive to buy in Mexico and again selection sucks, I prefer Supergoop and Clinique city block for my face and neck. You can but supergoop in a 41 oz bottle at Amazon and 4 teen girls, 3 people (including me) are extremely pale and burn like crazy so lots of sunscreen is needed. I just bring small containers to fill and bring to the beach.
Now the dogs and the house I actually have a 'manual' from previous trips but honestly its really not a crazy list. I just have important phone numbers, emergency numbers and things like the Wifi password. I also make a copy of the dog sitters drivers license and car registration, I am the granddaughter of a Chicago cop. Of course the number of the vet whom I have already contacted so if he has to come out to the house, yes my vet comes to the house, he can bill me later. If something does go wrong with the house I will leave a blank check with the neighbor and he can get someone out if needed. This way I do not have to worry about anything going wrong it will be taken care of. I will give her my skype, email and condo number but if there is nothing I can do about it maybe you shouldn't tell me so I can just enjoy my vacation and deal with the crap then.
The goal is to avoid any stress by being organized and prepared this way when we get there all we have to do is enjoy the sun. I don't want to waste time having to buy things that the girls forgot it is my vacation too. Once I get there I go into vacation mode so no schedule or things we have to do. I hate tours, tour groups or being rushed. I want to just do what I want to when I want.
TIPS FOR VACATION PLANNING:
If you are paking your car at the airport remove the garage door openers and any personal information including the insurance and registration. If someone breaks into your care they will have your address and a way into the house.
Make copies of all documentation, register with embassy
I make itenirary for trip there and bag with flight info, dates and info on where we are staiying just in case and I make another for the return that is with copies of travel documents. I put one on the outsid of the bag and one on the inside
Since they are teenagers they will go off on their own so each kid gets a make shift ID with their name, my name, passport number, address of the condo and phone number
Copies of all medication as well as an explanation of what I have with my doctors number current protocol and things that should not be done that would make my condition worse
Call credit card companies and bank to notify them of where you are going so they don't put a freeze on your cards
I have decieded to purchase sim cards for the phones we have and turn them into prepaid phones. You obviously can purchase prepaid phones in Mexico or whether you go but I don't want to spend my time looking for one and activating them.
Trip advisor or other sites for resturaunts, travel tips and things to do to or more important things not to do