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How to Prep for a Long Trip

TravelHannah DrakeComment

We just got back from a 10 day holiday to Colorado. It's nice to be home and back to our regular routine (aside from working and getting up at 6:15 for work) and it's especially nice that we came home to our house mostly in order. The night before we left was absolutely hectic and there are things I think we did well that made it easier to come back and things I wish we had done a little differently. So here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for holiday, especially if it's a long trip.

CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE

I promise you, you don't want to come home to a bunch of mouldy food and spoiled milk. We meal planned based on what we needed to use in the fridge and had left overs a few nights from our BBQ, but we still had some things to toss, unfortunately. I went through everything--opened every container--and froze what I could and tossed the rest. Still, I forgot to toss some clotted cream and what milk we had left. The cream was mouldy when we got home and the milk was nearly solid. Yuck.

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

The final thing we did in the evening was take out the trash so nothing was stinking up our house while we were gone. When Luke grabbed the bag, I gave the bin a quick wipe down and we kept the lid off the whole time we were gone to let it get some air. Our house didn't smell at all when we got home.

TIDY THE HOUSE

This is probably my number one thing whether it's for a holiday or just going to bed in the evening. I don't like coming home to clutter and feeling like I have to clean up before I can dump our luggage. I made sure everything was in order before we went to bed and everything we needed in the morning was ready for us to grab first thing in the morning. When we got home, Luke immediately started unpacking (while I beelined for a shower), so our house was in a bit of disarray for a while, but it was manageable because it was just what came out of our bags.

DO LAUNDRY

This makes sense for two reasons. One, all of your clothes are clean so you can pack anything, even what you wore the day before. Two, when you get home from holiday, you're all caught up on laundry. We've gone on trips already having a week's worth of laundry to do and it's a nightmare trying to catch up. This time, we were all caught up on laundry--even having accounted for how long it takes for stuff to air dry--so we only had a few things in the hamper when we got back. An added bonus was that we did laundry at my mom's twice while we were gone, so we only had a day's worth of dirty clothes each that we brought back. If we hadn't though, it would have been much more manageable.

ORDER OUT YOUR LAST DINNER

Our original plan was to make omelettes with some of the veggies we still had, but our last night quickly spiralled our of our control and at 8:00, we hadn't even been home yet, let alone started dinner. We were both getting hangry and I was definitely stressing out about how much we still had to do at home, including packing, so we ended up just grabbing something on our way home. It dawned on me that getting take out might be the way to go, unless you still have a meal's worth of food in the fridge. Our food was either going to keep in the pantry or could be frozen, but it just took off one thing from our to do list and it meant Luke didn't have to deal with Hangry Hannah anymore.

KEEP YOUR LAST EVENING FREE

This was absolutely our biggest mistake. Months ago, we booked a blood donation for the evening before we left and I always underestimate how long it takes. We also decided to run a few errands in town, including what turned out to be the most complicated return I've ever had to make to a store. I kid you not, it took over an hour. I wish we had planned those things for the night before--if not earlier--because it was just too much to take on that night, especially with having to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to get to the airport. I should have known better because I don't even like having to pack at the last minute!

RECRUIT SOMEONE TO WATER YOUR PLANTS

This is a duh, right? Not for us, I guess. We definitely should have found someone before we left, but we didn't even think about it until three days into our trip. It's been incredibly hot and incredibly sunny here in the UK so we knew our plants were just getting fried. Unfortunately, our friend who has a spare key only has one of the keys and was also in the US while we were gone. Whoops. Some of our plants were okay and probably just need an extra TLC this week, but our little herb garden, especially the coriander (cilantro) is basically dead. We're going to try to revive it, so fingers crossed. Luke suspects our neighbours watered our newly planted veggies because the box was damp and if so, they are our heroes! We're also hoping our avocado pit is going to be okay. The water was about 2 inches low. So don't make our mistake. If you're trying to keep plants alive, you have to get someone to come by at least once, depending on how long you're gone. 

So there you have it, just a few things you can prioritise as you prepare for your next holiday. Believe me, there's nothing worse than coming home and having a long list of things to do because it hasn't been done while you were gone. When we got home yesterday morning, all that was on our to do list was unpacking, starting laundry, and grocery shopping. We knew we would be jet lagged and exhausted from our less than ideal flight time, so we were able to just take it easy, but also had enough energy to get ready for the week ahead. The best part was that we had a salmon superfood salad (with salmon, quinoa, black beans, and avocado) and it was really nice to have a meal that tasted great and was really healthy after 10 days of eating at restaurants and splurging on ice cream.

We have two more long trips this year--plus a couple of weekends away--and I'm going to make sure I follow this list to a T to make our lives easier before and after a trip.