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We all enjoy March break—our toes in the sand or relaxing by the poolside, but the planning, organization, and dreaded packing can lead up to wanting to literally pull your hair out

To make your preparation easier, we’ve pulled together a few tips to consider, so you can hopefully enjoy a stress-free, relaxed vacation, on the slopes or in the sun.

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1. Make a travel itinerary. In the movie, Father of the Bride, the Dad (George) said, “I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That’s getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition.” The same holds true for traveling. Planning the event in advance, specifically by creating a travel itinerary can help you consider what you want to do, and overall, save you a lot of time and headache. For instance, if you are heading south for warmer weather, you may want to spend a day or two at a theme park, but also a day at the beach or just sitting by the pool. If you’re traveling with other people as well, creating a travel itinerary gives everyone the opportunity to agree on what you are doing before you leave. Although there may be last minute changes or requests, at the least, you have a structure for what your days will entail. Following find a sample itinerary for you to use and modify. Trust me, there is no greater pleasure then when someone asks you, “What’s for lunch?” or “What are we doing tonight?” than being able to simply point to the list!

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2. Create excitement for the trip. The last thing any parent wants to hear on vacation is: “I’m bored!” Showing the kids what you added to your travel itinerary, as well as pictures and videos of the adventures you are about to undertake, will not only create structure for your trip, but it will also give you the opportunity to get your kids interested. There is no greater joy in travel planning than when the kids are excited to do what you’ve worked so hard to plan.Beach towel

3. Develop a ‘Before we leave’ list. No one wants to go home, tired, after a vacation to wilted plants or a driveway filled with snow. The saying goes, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”—and this couldn’t be more true than when you are planning for a trip. Creating a ‘Before we leave’ list can help you remember to water the plants, call the cat sitter, ask your neighbor to shovel snow or mow the lawn while you’re away. Although we all hope it doesn’t happen to us while travelling, god forbid, someone in your family gets sick—and you forget to buy travel insurance.

4. Make a March break packing list. The (traveling) devil is in the details. There is probably nothing more stressful during a vacation than realizing you forgot something as simple as a toothbrush. Be sure to compare your list to the travel itinerary you developed. For instance, if you are going to the beach, you may want to pack swimsuits, shovels and buckets for the kids, as well as sunscreen, and towels. No one wants to arrive at the airport’s rental car stand, then realize they forgot to pack their driver’s licence.

5. Give your contact information to relevant people. Create a document that outlines the address and phone number for where you are staying as well as how to contact you. Give the document to the important people in your lives (parents, house sitters, kennels). Similarly, it is a good idea to give each person in your group the contact information of your resort/hotel location and phone number/your cell phone numbers, if they get separated or get lost. Travel-documents

6. Notify the credit card company that you will be travelling during March break. While driving to Florida, Calculated Traveller’s Founder had her card cancelled because she was buying gas in different states and the company assumed her card was stolen.

7. Get your car tuned up. If you are going on a road trip make sure that your car is tuned up, check your fluids and that everything is road worthy.

8. Bring travel maps and a GPS. Before you leave, print maps and/or plan to bring your GPS so you know where you are going and aren’t wandering aimlessly, and wasting time that you could spend at your destination.

9. Check airline restrictions. Each airline allows for a different number of bags to check and/or carry on as well as the weight restrictions for each bag. For instance, for the last trip we booked, the airline only allowed us to carry on one bag that can fit under the seat in front of us. If a bag must be put into the overhead bin, they charge $35 more per bag. The last thing you want to do when you are at the airport is to unpack a bag or pay because it is over in weight or size.

10. Sit back, relax. Once you arrive at your destination, the hard part is over, so now you can sit back and relax, drink in hand, knowing that the preparation you made means that you can now truly enjoy your March break vacation![divider_flat]

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” —Ernest Hemingway

Please feel free to comment or add any additional tips or advice below that you have for other travellers.