Summer Vacation Checklist

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Check with your Vacation Rental company

First Time at a Vacation Rental House?

Find out what to expect.

If you have question or special needs, check the rental company's website or call:

  • Are towels and linens provided? How many person?
  • Are beach towel provided?
  • Is baby furniture available?
  • Babysitter recommendations?
  • Internet access? Type cable needed?
  • In-house Wi-Fi access.
  • Pets allowed?
  • Fireplace? If wood, is firewood at the house?

Prep for Vacation

  • Check underwater camera/dive case o-ring for flexibility and tight seal
  • Car an booster seat laws by state: www.inventiveparent.com/state-laws.htm
  • Copy all IDs, credit cards, travelers checks, memberships (AAA), seal in envelope, give to trusted contact
  • Digital cameras memory: clear old pictures and format
  • Instructions: get instructions for all electronics (many are on the web)
  • MP3 downloads: recorded books from the library, podCasts, music
  • Pet care arrangements
  • Send email to all vacationers; give all your cell numbers and ask for theirs; update all your cell phones
  • Update GPS software with latest maps
  • Update jump drive with new account info

Cell Phone

  • Update important contacts in your cell phone address book

Contact your cell phone provider to check:

  • Coverage where you'll vacation.
  • If there are roaming charges, consider a temporary plan change

Set up SMS numbers to send cell phone text messages to obtain local info:

Get Info on the Internet

  • Info about the area, see TripAdvisor.com
  • Places to visit, address and hours
  • Places to rent boats, sports equipment
  • Location of nearby wholesale club store (Costco, Sam's Club)
  • Church location
  • Hospital location
  • Local restaurant reviews
  • Camerashop, Target or WalMart to print pictures
  • Use Google maps hybrid view to zoom in on vacation house to see local features
  • Foreign Travel Advisories at US Department of State

Get Pet Info on the Internet about Your Vacation Area

  • Emergency pet hospital
  • Local dog laws: leash, confinement, barking
  • Restrictions on beach, outdoor cafes, trails, city parks, state parks, etc.

email neighbors your travel information

  • Cell phone numbers
  • Itinerary during trip
  • Name and car of house/pet sitter
  • Name, address, telephone number
  • Vacation dates
  • Vacation phone numbers
  • Emergency number (a friend/relative)

Give housesitter information about house

  • Alarm information
  • Cars will be left out
  • Lights will be left on
  • Names of any maintenance people (gardeners, maid service, etc.)

Bedding

  • Bath towels/washcloths (usually supplied with 1/person)
  • Bed linens (usually supplied)
  • Favorite Pillow
  • Wash cloths (usually only 1/person is supplied; bring your old ones)

Car Travel

Prepare the car for travel

  • At least one month before, make major repairs
  • At least one week before, perform regular maintenance and have thorough check (brakes, coolant, oil, fluid levels, battery, tire wear and pressure, belts, wipers, a/c, lights)
  • Car registration, plates and insurance are current
  • Fill wiper reserves
  • Check the the spare tire
  • All parts of the jack are there
  • Car manual is in the car

Buy or Check your Emergency kits

The Red Cross offers kits: Road-Side Kit and First Aid Kit

Stock the car for travel

  • Cooler
  • Coupons for meals and hotels
  • Drinks
  • Flashlight
  • Guidebooks
  • Maps and travel directions
  • MP3 player and car adapter
  • Paper towels
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Snacks
  • Soduko
  • Trash bag
  • Travel games
  • Umbrella
  • Wet wipes
  • Drive safely

Car Travel With Kids

  • Blankets
  • Books
  • Coloring books, game and puzzle magazines
  • Crayons and colored pencils
  • Drawing pad
  • Games
  • Travel journal, route map and travel stickers
  • Movies
  • New small toys
  • Pillows
  • Portable DVD player
  • Window shade

Children

Kids

  • Back-pack
  • Board games
  • Car or booster seat.
    Requirements for each State: inventiveparent.com/state-laws.htm
  • Coloring books, crayons, etc.
  • Favorite blanket
  • Favorite or new movies
  • Favorite games and toys
  • Handheld games
  • Movies
  • Rainy day entertainment
  • School work assignments
  • Tote for all toys and games

Babies and Toddlers

  • Baby food
  • Baby swim diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Bibs
  • Bottles
  • Crib or Pack and Play (may be supplied)
  • Car seat
  • Car window shades
  • Diaper bag
  • Favorite blanket
  • Favorite toys
  • Diapers
  • ID tags
  • Picture books
  • Portable crib
  • Portable high chair (may be supplied)
  • Room intercom/baby monitor
  • Sippy cups
  • Stroller
  • Swim diapers

Clothes

  • Arch supports or foot beds; SuperFeet.com
  • Bathrobee
  • Belts
  • Dress
  • Dressy outfit
  • Fanny pack or Back pack
  • Hat or visor
  • Jewelry, watch
  • Ladies-jacket or sweater for restaurants
  • Light rain jacket or wind-breaker
  • Pajamas
  • Pajamas/night shirt
  • Pants
  • Panty hose
  • Pool shoes
  • Purse (take only the essentials)
  • Sarong (how to tie video)
  • Shirts
  • Shoes: dressy, sandals, flip-flop, hiking, surf-shoes, tennis, walking
  • Shorts and capris
  • Slacks, dresss
  • Socks
  • Sun glasses
  • Swimsuits
  • Swimsuit cover-up (in most places it’s frowned on or illegal to go wear only a swimsuit off the beach.)
  • Sleeveless tops
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear

Day Bag and Items for Theme Parks

  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Autograph book and marker
  • Baby food
  • Video recorder, tapes and extra battery
  • Camera, memory stick, film and batteries
  • Cash (lots, really) and credit card
  • Cell phones
  • Collapsible cooler
  • Disposable camera for kids
  • Driver’s license/ID for each adult
  • Dry change of clothes for kids
  • Glow sticks and necklaces
  • Emergency bag with:
  • Bandages, various sizes
  • Bandage, 1 large for knee-size abrasion
  • Blister bandages
  • Contact number for rental car (after you loose the keys)
  • Duct Tape, about 1 foot rolled up
  • Insect repellant, wipe on pads or small bottle
  • Pain medicine
  • Rubber bands
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors, rounded kid’s tip
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes, travel pack-size
  • Fanny packs
  • Guidebooks
  • Handheld games to keep kids occupied in line
  • Hats, visors, sweatbands, bandannas
  • Keys, door and car
  • Keys, extras carried by a different person
  • Kids ID tags
  • Large zip-top bags for wet clothes
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Meal and show reservation numbers
  • Membership cards (to call AAA after you loose your car keys)
  • Mister fan and extra batteries
  • Neck lanyard for car and room keys
  • Park maps
  • Pennies for pressing
  • Rain ponchos
  • Rain poncho or umbrella
  • Snacks
  • Stroller
  • Sunglasses and straps
  • Sunscreen
  • Theme park tickets
  • Walkie-talkies (but all frequencies will be in use)
  • Water bottles with strap (avoid dehydration and tantrums)

Day Bag for Water Parks

  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Bathing suits
  • Beach bag
  • Beach towels
  • Books and magazines
  • Cash (more that you think) and credit card
  • Cell phones
  • Collapsible cooler
  • Drivers license/ID for each adult
  • Dry change of clothes for kids
  • Swimming Earplugs and Noseplugs
  • Emergency bag with::
  • Bandages, various sizes
  • Bandage, 1 knee-size abrasion
  • Blister bandages
  • Contact number for rental car (after you loose the keys)
  • Duct Tape, about 1 foot rolled up
  • Earplugs
  • Insect repellant, wipe on pads or small bottle
  • Pain medicine
  • Rubber bands
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors, rounded kid’s tip
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes, travel pack-size
  • Floatation toys
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Hats/visors/sweatbands/bandannas
  • Insect repellant
  • Kids ID tags with several emergency phone numbers
  • Large zip-top bags for wet clothes
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Mister fan and extra batteries
  • Neck lanyard for door and car keys
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses with straps
  • Sunscreen
  • Swim diapers
  • Swim goggles
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Water bottle strap
  • Water park tickets
  • Water shoes/flip flops
  • Water toys
  • Waterproof camera
  • Waterproof case for wallet
  • Waterproof watch

Dogs on Vacation

  • Blanket or pillow
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Carrier or crate
  • Collar and tags
  • Dog food
  • Dog grooming: brush, towel, soap
  • Dog motion sickness medicine
  • Dog medicine
  • Favorite toys
  • Portable in-door pet fence or portable electronic perimeter
  • Leash
  • Pet locator: www.globalpetfinder.com or check ebay
  • Pooh bags
  • Nature's Miracle and paper towels for accidents
  • Treat

Electronics

  • Batteries, every size
  • Battery chargers
  • Camera bag
  • Camera batteries, charger, video out cable
  • Cameras
  • Camera memory stick
  • Camera film
  • Cameras for kids, disposable waterproof
  • CD player, charger, headphones, and output cable to stereo
  • Cell phone and charger
  • GPS and batteries
  • Laptop computer, charger, USB cables, wireless network card, internet cable
  • MP3 player, charger, headphones and output cable to stereo
  • Music CDs
  • PDA and charger
  • Video recorder, batteries, charger
  • Video recorder memory cards or tapes
  • Walkie-talkies and batteries

Entertainment

  • Books and magazines
  • Games
  • Glow in the dark necklace for night beach fun
  • Cards and rule book
  • Poker chips, travel-size
  • Puzzles
  • Scrapbook items for vacation
  • Sudoku
  • Travel journal

First aid and Medical

  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Antacid
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Anti-itch medication
  • Bandages, various sizes
  • Blister bandages
  • Butterfly closure
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cough drops
  • Ear-dry
  • Eye drops
  • First aid kit
  • Kids pain medicine
  • Excedrin Migraine
  • Mosquito bite Itch Soother or Bite Zapper
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Pain reliever
  • Prescription medications
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Sinus/allergy medicine
  • Tweezers

First Aid for children

Don't take foods across country borders  or in/out of Hawaii.

  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Pain relief for kids
  • Prescriptions
  • Teething pain killer

Food

Don't take foods across country borders  or in/out of Hawaii.

  • Baking powder
  • Beer, wine, liquor
  • Bread for breakfast
  • Bread for sandwiches
  • Bottled water
  • Butter
  • Cereal
  • Cheese: havarti or cheddar for sandwiches
  • Cheese: goat cheese or feta cheese
  • Chips, pretzels
  • Chocolate and/or cocoa powder
  • Coffee, ground for drip
  • Coffee-creamer
  • Couscous or rice
  • Crackers
  • Cooking oil
  • Eggs
  • Espresso powder
  • Fresh herbs: Cilantro, Basil, Mint, Flat-leaf Parsley
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, lemons, limes, orange, seasonal fruit
  • Fruit snacks
  • Garlic bulb
  • Granola bars
  • Hot chocolate
  • Hot sauce
  • Ice
  • Ice cream
  • Jam
  • Lunch meat
  • Meat or Chicken
  • Milk
  • Mixers
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Onions: green/scallions, red onions, shallots
  • Orange Juice
  • Peppers: jalapeno, red bell peppers, chilis
  • Popcorn
  • Salad greens
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seafood
  • Spice wheel, a compact spice container for camping

All dried Herbs and most spices should be replaced twice a year.

  • Spices and special condiments
  • Sour cream
  • Sodas and drinks
  • Sugar
  • Sweetener
  • Tea
  • Tortillas or wraps
  • Yogurt
  • Vegetables: avocado, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, local produce
  • Vanilla Sugar (for coffee and vanilla substitute)

Food For Kids and Babies

  • Baby Food
  • Cereal
  • Cheese sticks
  • Jelly
  • Juice boxes
  • Raisons
  • Peanut butter
  • Pop tarts

Food For Dog

  • Dog food, dry and canned
  • Dog treats

General House Supplies

  • Beach bag
  • Candles, votive
  • Candles, citronella
  • Collapsible cooler
  • Fabreeze (good for bathrooms and general odors)
  • Fire wood for fireplacee
  • Flashlights with led, crank and phone charger
  • Hand soap for each bathroom
  • Laundry bag
  • Matches or lighter
  • Mending kit
  • Mini-reading light
  • Mosquito coils
  • Nightlights for each bathroom
  • Tissues
  • Toilet Paper
  • Umbrella
  • Wet wipes

Kitchen Supplies

Expect to supply these items:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Coffee filters (you won't know the type/size until you get there)
  • Cookbook you’ve been wanting to try
  • Dish detergent
  • Dish scrubber pad
  • Dish towels
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Garbage bags
  • Kabob skewers, bamboo or wood
  • Kitchen trash bags
  • Paper napkins
  • Paper plates
  • Paper towels ( roll/day for 6-10 people)
  • Plastic forks and spoons
  • Plastic wrap
  • Recipes for vacation cooking
  • Straws
  • Zip top bags, various sizes

Kitchen Tools – If You Just Can’t Cook Without it

  • Cocktail shaker and muddler
  • Coffee press-pot
  • Corkscrew
  • Espresso machine (Live big!)
  • Ice crusher (Mojitos!)
  • Kitchen knives, you won’t find sharp ones at the rental
  • Panini press
  • Water filtering pitcher
  • Wine stopper

Laundry Items

  • Baby detergent
  • Bleach
  • Dryer sheets
  • Laundry bags
  • Laundry soap

Office Supplies

  • Envelopes for maid tips
  • Contact info of friends and relatives for postcards
  • Marker
  • Notepad
  • Notebook
  • Pen and pencil
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Stamps
  • Stationery

Outdoor Activities and Sports

  • Beach umbrella
  • Bicycles and helmets
  • Bicycle carrier
  • Exercise: heart monitor, pedometer, clothing, equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Frisbee
  • Golf clubs
  • Kites, get single-line parafoil kites for kids, they are fun and easy to fly.
  • Tennis rackets and balls
  • Water bottle or water bottle strap
  • Waterproof case

Water Activities

  • Air mattress
  • Beach towels
  • Beach umbrella
  • Blow-up water toys
  • Disposable underwater camera
  • Diving gear, dive log and certification
  • Diver case for camera
  • Mask, snorkel, fins, dive booties
  • Pump for blow-up toys
  • Radio
  • Snorkeling shirt of quick-dry material to prevent sunburn
  • Sun block
  • Surfboard or boogie board
  • Snorkel gear bag
  • Swim goggles
  • Safety flotation vests
  • Waterproof case for wallet
  • Wetsuit
  • Zip lock bags for shells

Overnight/Carry-on bag with essentials for 1 day

  • Change of Clothes

Essential Toiletries

  • Contact case
  • Contact lens soaking and rinsing solution
  • Contacts and spare contacts
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses and case
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Hair styling product
  • Makeup
  • Nail file
  • Prescription medication, in the original bottles
  • Razor and charger cord
  • Reading glasses
  • Shampoo
  • Shaver
  • Shaving cream
  • Tampons or pads
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Tweezers

Essential Kids Toiletries

  • Kid’s hairbrush/comb
  • Kid’s shampoo
  • Kid’s toothbrushes
  • Glasses
  • Vitamins

Personal Information

  • Addresses and phone numbers of family and friends
  • Auto and Health insurance cards
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Checkbook
  • Dollar bills and change for tips and tolls
  • Driver’s license/IDs
  • Jump drive with password for private info: account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers…
  • Membership and discount cards (AAA, AARP, athletic club, Costco, etc.)
  • Passports or birth certificates
  • Phone and addresses of family, friends, neighbors, doctors, veterinarian
  • Phone numbers of hotel, airline, AAA, etc.
  • Travel and Reservation numbers
  • Traveler’s checks

Toiletries

  • Bath soap
  • Body lotion
  • Body powder
  • Bubble bath
  • Contact case
  • Contact lens soaking and rinsing solution
  • Contacts and spare contacts
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Deodorant
  • Earplugs for sound
  • Face lotion
  • Face wash
  • Foot powder
  • Glasses
  • Glasses case
  • Hair blow-dryer

Most Hair Driers will be low-power. If you need more-bring your own.

  • Hair brush or comb
  • Hair clips
  • Hair spray
  • Hair styling product
  • Insect repellent
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Lotion
  • Makeup
  • Make-up remover
  • Nail clippers or scissors
  • Nail file
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Perfume
  • Prescription medication, in the original bottles
  • Razor, and charger cord
  • Reading glasses
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Shaver
  • Shaving cream
  • Shower cap
  • Shower gel
  • Sunscreen, waterproof
  • Sunscreen for face
  • Tampons or pads
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Tweezers

Children's Toiletries

  • Insect repellent for children
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Hair bands and clips
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap or bath gel
  • Sunblock for children
  • Vitamins

Travel Information

  • Car rental confirmation
  • Hotel or rental house confirmation number
  • Phone numbers of reservation, customer service, ocal office
  • Plane tickets
  • Theme or water park tickets
  • Show tickets or confirmation number
  • Travel Information
  • Discount coupons
  • Guidebooks
  • Maps/directions to:
  • Hotel or, house rental agency
  • Special restaurants
  • Shows
  • Museums
  • Costco or Sam’s Club, great for multiple families

Travel Outside the USA

  • Check current passport date. Renew or apply for a new Passport
  • Apply for VISAs and check travel requirements with the US Department of State
  • Child’s birth certificate (more needed if only one parent accompanying child)
  • Picture ID and a birth certificate with a raised seal, or a passport (check with your airline for the current rules)
  • Prescription: Meds in original containers, doctor’s name and phone number
  • Travel Advisories at US Department of State

Walking out the Door Checklist

Luggage

  • If flying, weigh each piece of luggage; adjust to meet airline requirements
  • Count your luggage

House - 1-2 Days Before Leaving

  • Secure all outdoor items
  • Stop mail delivery
  • Stop newspaper delivery
  • Give house key to trusted neighbors for security, mail and newspapers
  • Backup computer files

House - Day of Departure

  • Check stove, oven and iron
  • Forward phone to cell phone
  • Lock windows and doors
  • Put lights on timer
  • Reduce heat, hot water heater and A/C settings
  • Set alarm
  • Set heat/air conditioning to moderate temp
  • Set timer lights
  • Unplug appliances: TVs, VCRS/DVD players, coffee maker, toaster, computer
  • Unplug chargers in unused cars (drains the battery in 2-3 weeks)
  • Water plants