Things That Don’t Matter But You Should Definitely Do Before a Vacation

Today my husband and I are on our way home from a long weekend in Orlando, FL celebrating my niece’s 3rd birthday at Walt Disney World. If you missed it, you can recap the photos of my trip on Instagram. A few nights ago, before we left, I was running around taking care of all of these last-minute things that I feel just had to be done before leaving when my husband called me out and told me to just relax.

Apparently he thinks I stress too much about things that don’t matter. Well, I think he’s wrong and I think they do matter and I decided to share those things with you today.

So, here you are:

Ashley’s List of Things That Don’t Matter  But You Should Definitely Do Before Leaving on Your Vacation


1 – Wash All the Laundry

No one wants to come home to piles of laundry still waiting to be done. I mean, if you do you’re a crazy person. I am already going to have to wash all of the clothes from the vacation. The last thing I want to do is have piles of dirty clothes in the laundry room and more dirty clothes in my suitcases and just…ugh. NO. Before we leave all of the laundry is washed, dried, and put away.

2 – Change the Sheets

After sleeping in a hotel bed for a few nights I don’t want to come home to my own dirty bed. There’s nothing I like more than crawling in to a super clean bed at home after a vacation. I don’t want my bed to smell like I smelled a week ago. I want to smell fresh clean crisp sheets on my first night home.

3 – Clean Out the Refrigerator

I clean out my refrigerator every Sunday anyway but I also do it the day before leaving for vacation. It is so gross when you come home from a vacation only to find that you had fruit, veggies, or milk go bad while you were away. The smell is rank and I don’t to deal with rotted food after a nice trip.

4 – Vacuum the Floors

No, I’m not kidding. All of the carpeted spaces in our home must be vacuumed before leaving. Maybe I’m odd for this, I don’t know, but I find the vacuum lines on carpet incredibly relaxing. It’s the pattern or the lines or something but it is really soothing for me. I love coming home after vacation and seeing those calming lines waiting for me. 

5 – Wash the Dishes

Again, I don’t want to come home to a dirty sink. I mean…NO. I want the dishes clean, not just in the dishwasher, but clean. If the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty that means I come home from vacation to chores. Is there anything worse? I know there is but this still sticks me…

6 – Get a Pedicure

This is one of my favorite pre-vacation rituals (naturally). Your feet work overdrive while you’re on vacation because we tend to walk a whole lot more than we do on a normal day. We’ll take walking tours around new cities or explore new locals on our own or visit museums or wander aimlessly around Walt Disney World for 12 hours (ahem…us) so treating your feet good before you leave is a good idea. 

7 – Check and/or Turn Off the Water Heater

Just trust me. If this thing breaks, leaks, or bursts while you’re away you’ll hate life when you get back.

14 things that you should definitely do before leaving for a vacation

8 – Turn Off the Toilet(s)

That little lever on the wall in the back? Turn it off. See #7 for an explanation. 

I’ve worked in the utility industry for over a decade. I’ve seen the water bills and I’ve heard of the destruction. You don’t want to be the person with a toilet flood waiting for you.

9 – Set Your DVR

I wasn’t here Sunday night so I couldn’t watch Game of Thrones. That DVR is my best friend right now because I’m catching up on GoT tonight. I can’t stand not knowing what happened! 

10 – Set the Air Conditioner (A/C)

Some people turn theirs off and that’s fine if you’re one of those people but I’m not one of those people. I hate coming home and feeling that hot stuffy feeling of uncirculated air. Plus, we live in Georgia and it’s June so it’s hot as blazes outside and my home will be 90-degrees when I get home. Instead, I set the A/C to 81-degrees. That way it will be warm but it won’t be stuffy.

11 – Pack Your Suitcases

Sorry but last-minute packing doesn’t work for me. I always pack the night before and that includes laying out exactly what I’ll be wearing on travel day. Every single time I leave packing until the next day I forget something. I go so far as to buy travel-sized toiletries and a travel toothbrush so that I can go ahead and pack all of those items instead of trying to remember to pack it after using it the next morning.

12 – Add the Destination Address to the GPS or App

I want to be able to just tap and go in the morning. No 5am electronic frustration for me #thankyouverymuch.

13 – Fill the Gas Tank (for a Road Trip)

Just one more thing I don’t want to do in the morning when I’m rushing around trying to make sure I get on the road before the Atlanta morning rush hour begins. If you are caught in Atlanta traffic during the morning or evening rush hour(s) you can go right ahead and add 2 or 3 hours to your travel time.

It once took me 45 minutes to travel >1 mile and I’m so not kidding.

14 – Map Out the Day One Itinerary

I don’t need to plan out every moment of every day but I do need to know what we’re doing on Day One. I hate arriving in a new place without knowing what I’m doing in those first few minutes. I mean, I’ll check in to the hotel and then…what?

Are we going to dinner? If so, where? Is there a show to see? Is there an event going on? Do we want to join a tour group somewhere? I can let things unfold once we’re there but upon arrival I need some kind of a game plan.

14 things you want to be sure you do before leaving for a vacation (even if your husband, like mine, doesn't agree)

He doesn’t stress about these things as much as I do and he said they “are not essential.” I beg to differ but that’s for another day. 

If you’re heading off on any summer vacations this year I hope you follow suit that way arriving home from vacation will be (almost) as relaxing as your actual vacation.


Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl

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