Vacation planning can be hectic, especially the week before you leave. You're trying to wrap up your assignments at work, shop for last-minute must-haves, do your laundry, finish your packing, control your stress, and keep your children from tearing each other to pieces.
In all the chaos and confusion, you might easily forget to take just a few extra steps that could enhance your family's comfort and wellbeing, both during and after your trip.
So, here are some simple tips to help you cover all the bases before you head out to Sandbridge Beach:
#1 Check Your Car
When you're on the road with family in tow, the last thing you want is car trouble. So, a few days before you leave, check your brakes, oil, fluids, and tires.
Better yet, bring your vehicle into the shop for a thorough professional tune-up. If it's been a while since your last state inspection, be sure to have that done, too.
That way, you'll have up-to-date documentation just in case you're stopped by state troopers. (Not very likely but you never know!)
Also, be sure to fuel up your car, wash the windshields, and clear any bulky junk out of the cargo area. You'll want to have plenty of room for beach gear, baggage, and so on.
#2 Take Care of Your Mail
Did you know that burglars check mailboxes to gauge who's home and who's not? If the mailbox is crammed with a backlog of mail, then the burglar assumes the family's away and their possessions are ripe for the pickin'.
How can you head off these would-be thieves? For starters, make arrangements with the postal service to hold your mail until you return. It's easy. Simply call your local p.o. or leave a note right in your mailbox.
Alternatively, ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail in your absence. Since that's a courtesy, you'll want to thank them afterward. So, purchase a thoughtful gift during your sojourn in Sandbridge Beach - say, some hand-dipped chocolates, seashell décor, or authentic handwoven baskets.
#3. Turn Off All Electronics
You never know when lightning may strike near your home while you're away. Even with surge protectors, your TVs, DVRs, computers, printers, scanners, consoles, and music systems could be vulnerable to damage. To stay on the safe side, turn off all electronics. Unplug them for good measure.
#4. Safeguard Your Entire House
Always check your home before you leave for vacation:
- Unplug countertop appliances to prevent damage during lightning storms.
- Turn off the water to your dishwasher and washing machine to avert accidental flooding.
- If you're traveling in winter, leave the heat on just high enough to keep pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Do a last-minute survey of every room to make sure you've turned off lights, lamps, coffee machines, etc.
- If you have a security system that activates sensors, alarms, and/or nighttime lights, make sure it's properly turned on.
- Lock all doors and gates.
- If you have a pool, lock the access entrance so no animals or children can inadvertently wander in.
#5 Make Arrangements for Pets
Own a dog, cat, hamster, parakeet, or other kind of pet? Make sure they have someplace comfy to stay while you're away at Sandbridge Beach, VA.
Know a friend who will pet-set in exchange for a reasonable fee? That's probably the best arrangement. Bring your pets to your friend's house. Or ask him or her to check in at your home daily. He or she can even live there while you're away to tend your pets and water your plants.
Alternatively, you can find a professional pet-sitter. Dog-sitting agencies like Rover.com can put you in touch with experienced local sitters, who typically charge around $30-$40 per day for dog boarding at their homes. Try to find a Rover sitter with a big backyard where your pooch can safely romp. And make sure your sitter loves taking long walks - that's always part of the deal!
If you prefer, you can choose one of those pet-boarding firms that offer spacious luxury kennels loaded with high-end amenities. Often these firms install webcams in the kennels, so you can check on your pet in Real Time, 24/7. Plus, they sometimes furnish pet-friendly extras like agility courses and doggie pools. Your pet will be in seventh heaven!
If all else fails, you can always board your pet at your veterinarian's bare-bones kennel. But one word of caution: If your pet's used to plenty of love and attention, he or she may not take very well to kennel confinement. Some pets develop kennel coughs, stress diarrhea, loneliness, and depression. So, you may want to consider all other options before going the basic kennel route.
What if you prefer to bring Fido along to the beach? That's no problem at all. Many Sandbridge Beach rentals do allow dogs. Check for dog-friendly options when you book through the Sandbridge Blue website.
#6. Don't Forget Your Meds
You've packed your toothbrush and toiletries, your shades and your flipflops... but what about your medications?
Make a list of all the prescription meds you and your family members are taking. Then, a week or so before you leave, check to see if you need any refills. Contact your physician or pharmacy to get your family's scripts filled in time.
7. Take a Few Minutes to Clean and Tidy
Who wants to return to a mess? It's discouraging, to say the least. So, before you set out for your Sandbridge vacation, you may want to:
- Wash the breakfast dishes
- Clear off cluttered countertops
- Wipe down grimy surfaces
- Pick up toys and Legos
- Mop floors and vacuum carpeting
- Take out trash and garbage
Spend just a short time tidying up, and you'll come back to a clean environment - cozy, comfy, welcoming. Nothing can beat that wonderful "home-sweet-home" feeling!
#8. Adjust Your AC
Traveling during warmer weather? Why not save on your air-conditioning bill while you're away at the beach? Set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you would normally. That way, the air conditioning won't kick in unless your house gets really hot. Result: The AC will run less frequently and use up less electricity.
Alternatively, you could simply turn the AC off entirely. But then the indoor air could get so hot and humid that you'll end up with mold and mildew. Better to keep it running just enough so that air can circulate freely and keep the atmosphere fresh.
#9. Freeze a Meal for Your Return
While you're at Sandbridge Beach, you'll probably dine out often at fabled seaside eateries like Sandbridge Island Restaurant... or perhaps get delectable takeout from Bandido's or Simply Steamed.
By the time vacation's over, though, you may have had your fill of restaurant cuisine. So, you'll welcome the chance to enjoy a hearty homecooked meal back at your own kitchen table.
That's why you may want to prep and freeze a family favorite before you head off to Sandbridge - for example, a savory casserole or pasta dish that can reheat well. Then, once you arrive home, you can thaw it out in the microwave, pop it in the oven while you're unpacking... and sit down to a relaxing, delicious dinner.
#10. Make Sure Your Insurance Coverage Is Up to Date
Almost certainly, nothing will happen to your home while you're away at Sandbridge Beach. But you never know. So, spend a few minutes reviewing your insurance policies before you head out the door. If any policy needs renewal, take care of it right away.
Be Prepared for a Fabulous Time If you "get all your ducks in a row," you can head off for Sandbridge Beach with a light heart and carefree spirit. Get ready, get set, and go!