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Get organized so you don't have to take a vacation after your vacation!

Vacations should be fun and relaxing, but after planning and packing for them last-minute, you can come to dread them. This week we’ll make sure that vacations we take any time this year are less stressful.

#1 Discuss plans with your spouse

What is your idea of a good vacation, whether you’re planning a trip for the family, just the two of you, or individual trips? Share your ideal and then pray about how these fit with your budget, schedule, and commitments. The earlier you plan, the more likely you can save money and avoid disappointments.

#2 Discuss activities with kids

My husband loves to tell about the time his parents took all six of them on vacation to Colorado, only for them to beg to go home to the lake they loved. Kids’ vacation preferences may surprise you.

As well as discussing vacation destinations you can afford, be sure to ask the kids about the activities they are most interested in. If you’re going somewhere that has a website explaining options, check them out together. Need to do a staycation this year? Here are 50 ideas.

#3 Create packing lists

Packing lists have made vacationing with six children so much more manageable for me. I use a simple Word document with a title for each child and a list underneath that I copied and pasted. I have had to update the list every year to remove things like water wings and diapers and add things like phone chargers, but the main work is done.

The best part of my packing lists (I have different lists for weekend and week-long trips that I store on Dropbox) is the kids use them to pack for themselves. They love doing it, actually! Depending on the age of the child, I will check to see what they’ve packed, but it takes very little of my time.

Here is a neat packing list that updates based on the number of days you’ll be gone. Or choose the items you want to pack from this list of possibilities and only those items will print on your list. Easy-peasy!

#4 Purchase needed supplies

Mentally walk through your whole vacation. See yourself getting into the car and remembering that Sam has motion sickness and will need Bonine (my favorite) before you leave. Do you have any? If not, put it on your list.

A fun way to determine what you need is to ask the kids to help you make a list. As my children get older, I find I need more luggage. Buy anything you need that isn’t perishable now. It’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about when you’re getting ready to go. I also love having separate travel toiletries stored in hanging bags like this one.

Be sure to follow the Organized Homeschool board on Pinterest for packing lists and more organized travel tips.

Follow Dr. Melanie’s board Organized Homeschool on Pinterest.

What tips do you have for getting organized for vacations?

Here is a list of previous challenges.

May 2014 Get Organized Homeschool Calendar

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge