We recently took a long (9 hours!) trip home to Cincinnati.
I want to remember to do a few things again on our next trip, and I want to remind myself NOT to do a few things.
Remember to super clean the house before leaving on vacation.
...it was wonderful to come home to a neat, tidy home. Deep clean kitchen, bathrooms, etc, make beds, do ALL laundry, empty trash cans, pour a little bleach in the potties and down all drains.
Do not go grocery shopping that last week before vacation. Use up what you have. *Also remember, that does NOT mean you have extra money to spend on vacation! Since you will use up everything you have that week before, you will pretty much need to stock up upon your arrival home.
Remember to be aware of what the kids wear the last few days home, put back what you want to take on vacation. But don't really worry about packing until the day before you leave. Pack super light, but cover all practical bases. *Do laundry on vacation (who wants 10 loads of laundry to do the day you get home? Not me.).
Leave very early. 5:00 AM at the latest. The kids will be 'confused' by the darkness, and fall asleep fairly quickly. Then they will also nap before arriving at your destination.
...eat a quick 'breakfast' before leaving. Donuts and milk is a good choice. Don't use dishes.
(saves us from having to stop to eat twice)
Remember to clean out the fridge and pantry. A 2-week old hamburger is not what you want to deal with upon opening you refrigerator door for the first time. Neither is a couple of old potatoes in the pantry, or apples on the counter in the apple basket.
(So thankful we did not get fruit flies!)
Do NOT forget to set up for a friend to stop by and water the garden and flowers.
(Our tomatoes did not make it...and my hanging baskets of petunias still haven't fully recovered!)
Do NOT forget to stop any UPS deliveries when you stop the mail.
Remember to turn the AC up considerably, but take my advice, and don't turn it off (especially if you live in the VERY hot and humid kinda-south). But do unplug and turn everything else off (I once saw on a news show where it cost a woman hundreds of dollars a year to leave a nightlight on in her kitchen!).
Empty the van the minute you get home. Of everything. Luggage. Garbage. Pillows and blankets.
...Start the laundry right away. Unpack suitcases. Get the sippy cups and travel mugs in the dishwasher. Cut the grass and water the landscaping. Then make dinner, and carry on like you never left (you'll have time, since you left so early in the morning).
Smile a smile of thanksgiving and contentedness. You are HOME! (which is almost the best part of going on vacation. almost.)