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12 Tips For a Better Vacation

Lorelei often writes about her personal failings, and the things she, her friends, and family have learned or experienced through the years.


Vacations are wonderful times in our life that we may plan for months or even years in advance. We are finally able to get away and relax, explore, or visit family and friends. We love the trip, but often once we get to our destination we find we were not as prepared as we had hoped. A few extra items packed or some quick extra steps before we leave can sometimes make our vacation a lot more pleasurable.

1) Over the door metal hooks

Sometimes sold as ironing board hooks, they are intended to slip over the top of a door. You may wonder how these would help but they can be a great benefit. One reason I like them more than traditional over-the-door hooks is that they are a bit longer, durable metal, and inexpensive – which makes it no great loss if you leave them behind by mistake. Most hotels and vacations rentals do not provide places to hang things as they do not want to mar walls and doors with hardware. I throw a couple of hooks into the suitcase to put over the doors. I then have an area to hang robes, extra towels, garment bags, etc.


2) Motion Sensor Night Light

I was not familiar with these until a friend gave me one as a gift before I left on a trip. At first, I thought it was an odd gift but it turned out to be a wonderful idea! Again, since they are compact, they do not take up much space in your luggage. When we travel we are not always familiar with the new space we will be spending the night in. Just place one of these motion sensor night lights on the back of the toilet and once you enter the bathroom at night it senses the motion and gives off a gentle glow that lets you use the bathroom without turning on that glaring, blinding light that completely wakes you up in the middle of the night.

3) Foldable Bath Bag

Whether you have a lot of toiletries, makeup, or like to share a bathroom bag with your spouse, these bags are a great item to have along on your trip. They can hang for convenient use and work great with the hooks mentioned above as well. While most are marketed to women, my husband as well as I have found them very useful, especially for long trips. There are a variety of styles to choose from. Some have see-through plastic windows to view your items and others are cloth so your private items won’t be seen. Varieties come in trifold, bifold, or roll-up styles. I love to use mine for extras like bandages, lotions, brushes, and combs. Odessa hanging toiletry bag.

4) Suitcase/bag for dirty laundry

A question that often comes up during a trip is what to do with the dirty laundry. Often people just drape it over the furniture or throw it on the floor until the end of the trip. I have often used my suitcase to hold dirty clothes but that’s only if I have a dresser to put the clean clothes in. I have solved this issue by simply packing a laundry or garbage bag. This bag can then sit on the floor or be laid in a suitcase without dirtying anything else. Taking a final dip in the pool or spa before you have to check out does not leave enough time to get wet suits or towels dry before packing to leave. The plastic garbage bag becomes a good choice for holding those wet items until you can get home.


5) Beach towels

Bringing your own beach towel for use in the pool, spa, lake, or ocean is often a good idea. Many hotels offer towels but you cannot take them back to your room and they are often small. Many vacation rentals do not allow you to remove towels from the premises, so it is a good idea to bring your own towel if your destination offers you the chance to get wet.


6) Condiments and cutlery

Many vacation rentals have kitchen facilities and most hotels at minimum offer a microwave, but what a letdown when you order some take out only to find there is no salt. Maybe your dinner did not come with plasticware or there is no ketchup for your burger. I know my husband gets grumpy when there is no creamer for his morning coffee. Simply adding a sandwich bag with some packets of salt and pepper, dry creamer, some condiment packets, plasticware, and maybe some sugar can help you get by until you are able to pick up some of the things you need.

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7) Soap

While most hotels offer soap and shampoo, many of the vacation rentals do not. You do not want to find out the hard way that there is nothing to wash up with, in your rental. Again, use a plastic storage bag to pack a bar of soap and some travel shampoo.


8) Special Needs Items

I have sleep apnea which means I require an apnea machine at night. An apnea machine requires distilled water. If I am flying I must remind myself to stop and pick some up before I go to my hotel, if I am driving I must remember to pack some. It can be a problem if I get ready for bed and realize it is too late to travel out or I am some distance from a store. This can be true of any special needs you may have. Whether it is medication or some specialty item you need it can be helpful to set a reminder to bring or pick up what you need before you reach your destination. I have also called ahead if visiting someone to ask if they could pick up a necessity before I arrive.


9) Disinfectant Wipes

While it has always been a good idea to reclean surfaces when arriving at a rental because maids often reuse cleaning cloths across many surfaces, it is especially important now. With so many illnesses and the recent pandemic, it is important to make sure your trip isn’t ruined by illness. A quick wipe down of often touched surfaces with a disinfectant wipe can reassure you of cleanliness.


10) Coupons and Discount Codes

Many tourist destinations offer specials, coupons, or packages that can save your family a lot of money. Sometimes these discounts are not available once you arrive and must be purchased in advance. Check the destination city’s website for possible attractions you would like to visit and then do an Internet search for any discounts that may be available. Also, check to see if they have any discount stops at the destination itself.


11) Make Reservations in Advance

Attractions can be a wonderful part of your vacation, but what a disappointment if you are unable to get in once you get there. Many popular venues book up quickly, so if there is something you don’t want to miss make reservations or purchase tickets before your arrival. This is true of some restaurants as well. Make sure and make reservations, if possible, so you don’t have to wait to get in or have to skip it altogether.


12) A Range of Clothing

You are going to the beach and have packed the appropriate clothing, or so you thought. Unfortunately, it is rainy and cold and you do not have anything warm to wear. Or the reverse happens. You pack lots of warm clothing for your winter trip and there is an unseasonable warm-up. A few extra items is all it takes to cover your bases. Maybe add a sweater, socks, and some jeans to your summer weather packing and a lightweight tee shirt and slacks for winter weather travel.


© 2022 Lorelei Nettles

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