Welcome back to “You're Welcome” Wednesday, where we share a creative savings tip so fabulous it's bound to make you say “Thanks!” 🙂
As many of you know, I recently got back from a 10 day vacay with the fam. It was awesome. I hadn't taken a trip that long in years!
However…to leave your home, fridge, routine, pet, mail, and LIFE for a vacation of any length definitely takes some preparation. Here are a few tips of things I did before I left that I thought I'd pass along to you!
To prepare for my trip I….
  • Made a list. This is so important! I keep an excel list saved on my computer that I print off for every trip about 1 week in advance. I typically have to make a few changes as per the specific trip, but otherwise it's so great to not have to think things up from scratch every time!
  • Started packing early. I pulled out suitcases and started packing a little over a week early. Partially it was because I was so excited 🙂 But mainly it was to stay organized. We had to pay for each suitcase and I have a chronic problem of over-packing. By starting to pack early we had exactly everything we need, and there were no “impulse outfits” thrown in last minute. 
  • Went through my coupon notebook and used up any that would be expiring while we were gone. I'm glad I did! Thanks to signing up for Beech-Nut's reward/email list, I had a bunch of coupons that got me this loot for basically nothing!:
I also went through and made sure I didn't have any groupon or daily deal certificates that would expire.
  • Enlisted the help of neighbors to check on my mail and any packages that might come while we were gone. It's important to let neighbors know you are leaving so they can keep an eye on your home for you!
  • Cleaned out my fridge. The week before our trip I planned our meals around things we needed to use up. My favorite tool is allrecipes.com because you can search recipes by ingredient. It's great! You type in the ingredient(s) you need to use up and they search their database for you. Try it HERE.
    • There was some produce we didn't use up in time. I froze most of it, and gave the rest to a neighbor. I recommend freezing what you can! Here's what I did:
This is the extra produce I had that I wanted to freeze: bell peppers, green onions, red onion, strawberries, and bananas. 

Here's what I did: I washed the produce and cut it up. I left the bell pepper in strips…

…and let them dry for a bit before freezing them.

I cut the tops off of the strawberries,

then put everything in individual baggies, and stuck them in the freezer! Easy!

 ***NOTE! I do NOT recommend doing the onion. The green onion worked wonderfully (I've actually used them already since being back home) but the red onion made my fridge stink. I ended up throwing it out the day we left.

The frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies and desserts.
  • Make some freezer meals in advance so you have some food to come home to! I didn't do this, but really wish that I would have.
  • Had fun. I just had to share pictures of the Bumble Bee Bash we went to (it's that even I won tickets to). Don't be afraid to have fun BEFORE your vacay! 🙂 

  • Made arrangements for dog sitting far in advance. We have a big dog that we love, but it's a pain to go on vacation. I always try to make dog sitting arrangements for him waaay in advance A) to avoid a last-minute scramble, and B) so I have time in case the arrangement falls through. If you don't have a dog, the same applies for babysitting arrangements.
  • Video chatted with the family we were leaving behind. We said goodbye in style. I love Skype and Google Chat (both free!) so be sure to take advantage of the free resources that are out there!

  • Changed the voicemail on my phone. Especially since my phone would be completely off for the 10 days, I changed the voicemail on my cell to let people know I was gone and when I'd be back. It's wise to leave an emergency contact number on your message in case there is an emergency with a family member or with your house or something.
  • Lastly, we prepared the house: emptied all the garbages, set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature so our pipes wouldn't freeze (oh Utah, why are you soooo cold?), left a light on in our living room so it looks like we're home, and made sure the house was clean before we left. Going on vacation is a lot of work! But by properly preparing we were able to enjoy the trip that much more.
And there you have it! Those are some of the things I do to prepare for trips. I hope you all have some fun ones planned for the summer!!