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It's finally that time of year! With what seemed like the most prolonged fall and winter, mainly in part to being locked down from the previous winter until recently, Americans (and people worldwide) are traveling again. And, not just one family trip - studies are showing people are getting out there in full force, from simple day trips, mini weekend getaways to international destinations, and week-long beach trips. Nothing says sweet summertime like renting a house with friends and family for a week or so at the beach. 

But, after all this time stuck at home, you may already have one foot out the door due to excitement and not be planning your vacation out the way you ought to be. There's a pretty straightforward checklist of things that people need - beach towels, flip flops, bathing suits; but there is also a ton of stuff we need beyond that to make sure you have the best vacation ever. Follow these guidelines, so you don't forget a thing, and your trip is worry-free!

First Aid Kit

Whether you're flying or driving to your destination, it's always a good idea to have a small first aid kit that fits compactly in your handbag or carryall. You never know what can happen - even though chances are nothing will. But, luck favors the prepared, so you want to make sure you have a small kit when things are on hand in case it does. This means any essential medications that you're prescribed to take daily—a small stash of band-aids, a pain reliever like Acetaminophen. You also want to have some sanitizing spray or wipes and a list of emergency numbers. If you're going to be even more prepared, you can order a small kit online at a very affordable price. These first aid kits are great to keep in the glove box of your car when you're not on vacation anyway, so they're an excellent investment. 


When you're thinking of essentials, you're probably mainly focused on the type of clothing you need for where you're going and your smartphone. But, you have to remember a few other vital things. If you're traveling internationally, don't forget an adaptor that will make your chargers and other electronic devices (hair tools, tablets, etc.) compatible with the outlets in that country. If you're going to a warm and sunny climate, SPF is a must. You need an emergency contact list, a copy of your passport, banking information, and probably an extra credit card (travel with the one that earns you the most rewards). Travelers Checks may seem outdated, but they're not a bad idea to have on hand just in case. You also should have an insurance card - again, luck favors the prepared. 

For the Road

You want to make sure you're comfortable on your long drive or flight. So pack yourself healthy snacks and a reusable water bottle. Traveling already takes a toll on your mood and body, so staying satiated with healthy food and good old-fashioned water will have you arriving at your destination feeling ready to go! If you're flying, it's never a bad idea to bring earplugs and gum, a travel pillow, and a tablet to keep you occupied. Two of the most frequently visited beaches for Arizona natives are heading south on a short flight to Cabo, or a medium sized drive, 5-7 hours, due east to the beaches of La Jolla and San Diego. 

Memory Makers

These days we almost all use our smartphones as our cameras exclusively. But, the reality is, they will never compare quality-wise to the photos you can capture with an actual camera. If it's within your budget and you plan to do a lot of traveling (heck, even if you don't), consider investing in a quality camera to capture life's precious memories. If you are taking photos and videos only on your phone, make sure you get a waterproof case for it, especially if you're going to the pool or beachside. You could even purchase a disposable waterproof camera really cheaply just for the trip. 

When packing for your vacation, the main things you want to keep in mind are - where you're going, how long you're going to be gone, and the typical climate of where you're headed. Ultimately this will affect everything you pack, from clothing to extra gear you may need. Bon Voyage!