Family, Self

11 Ways To Prepare (And Stay Relaxed) For Your Labor Day Weekend Getaway

Photo: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
11 Ways To Prepare For Your Labor Day Weekend Getaway So You Stay Cool And Calm For The Best Vacation Ever

Labor Day weekend is finally here (HELLO no work!); and if you're anything like me, you're feeling some type of way about your travel plans (in other words, you're stressed out and already regretting going on this vacation at the busiest time of the year). 

Yes, this time of year is obviously very exciting — a mini vacation is the best way to end the summer (I mean, who doesn't want to dine, drink, and have a grand ol' time before the drudgery of colder seasons comes around); however, with travel, comes apocalyptic-like stress and insanity. It's a mess from start to finish, from packing and checking off your to-do's, to coordinating transportation arrangements and praying everything goes smoothly.

Unless you're regularly gallivanting across the globe, then you probably have no clue what TF you're doing. And that's OK.... for the most part.

RELATED: The Perfect Companion For Traveling, By Zodiac Sign

You don't have to be an expert globetrotter, but you must prepare, or disaster may ensue and ultimately ruin your plans. To get the most of your holiday trip this time around, you need to be strategic and smart: gather all the tips you can, and apply them to your current situation.

Luckily for you, I have a bunch based on years of personal mess-ups and adventures abroad. Read on for all the details about how to plan the perfect Labor Day weekend getaway (you'll thank me later):

1. Pack well in advance (and lightly).

Packing is a chore, but it doesn't have to be if, and only if, you don't fall victim to procrastination. If you're leaving on Friday, then you really should be done packing on Wednesday, leaving Thursday to complete anything last minute.

When you manage your time wisely, you will feel far less anxious and instead, be completely laser-focused.

Also, you shouldn't over pack. In this case, less is more. For starters, make a list of essentials you wish to bring. Check off what you already have, and run to your local Walgreen's to buy whatever you don't have around. A carefully planned list insures you stay organized and only bring what's 100% necessary. It's that simple.

2. Buy travel-sized.

Heavy shampoo can really weigh you down and take up space; and when you really think about it, do you really need a 16 oz bottle of Pantene? No, you don't. Stick to travel-sized, mini versions of your faves. That way, you'll have all the extra room to store your must-haves.

RELATED: 5 Risks Every Millennial Should Take While They’re Still Young

3. Pre-plan your outfits for each day before packing.

Let's face it — this travel weekend is perfect for executing your final summer #outfitgoals. However, you aren't going to wear the mini dress that has been decaying in your closet all season, so only bring what matters. To figure this out, you must pre-plan your outfits, envisioning what you'll wear from sunrise to sunset.

Pre-planning your 'fits will not only prevent over-packing, but will also help you confident and in control.

4. Always bring extra underwear.

As I said previously, less is more — except when it comes to underwear. Undies are light, small, and absolutely necessary (which should go without saying). You'll feel way more at ease if you have some clean spares in the event of an emergency.

5. If you're traveling by vehicle, make sure your car is in shape (and clean!)

Once upon a time, my family's Honda Odyssey minivan broke down in the middle of nowhere, Georgia as we were en route to Florida. That was not fun. You can avoid scenario by being proactive and getting your car examined beforehand. It's better to catch a problem when you're not in the middle of a highway.

6. Don't forget to leave early in case you hit traffic (which you will).

Leave early, or you'll find yourself trapped for hours, wasting crucial time that could be spent on the beach. The general rule of thumb is, head out on the road before 4 p.m. or after 10 p.m. You should also check online to see if any roads on your route are undergoing repairs, etc.

RELATED: 10 Unforgettable Summer Road Trip Travel Destinations For Families

7. If you're traveling by plane, get to the airport 3-4 hours early.

We always poke fun at dads for their steadfast devotion to arriving at airports excessively early, but they have a point. You need ample time to check in, pass through security, and rectify any foreseeable issues.

The worst thing you could do is miss your flight, especially since Labor Day weekend is so short lived.

8. Make photocopies of important documents.

In the world of air travel, you're nothing without your documents, so make sure you have copies of everything (boarding tickets, passport, license, etc.). You'll want extras on-hand for emergencies, and especially if your main copies somehow get lost or stolen during your trip.

9. Stay hyrdated to stay happy.

Whether you're binge drinking, hiking, or hitting the beaches, you always need to have water on-hand. Water nourishes your body, and a nourished body is a happy one ready to take on any activity. You'll be far less likely to get sick, which will help you enjoy every moment.

10. Wear sunscreen, always.

Seriously, guys — sun safety is important and mandatory to practice. I know the golden tan is coveted, but optimal skin health is even more so.

When you choose to not use sunblock, the consequences are endless and deadly long-term. There's a ton of effective sunscreen brands on the market, so there's really no excuse at this point for irresponsibility.

11. Be flexible.

From what I've learned, you have to be down for anything, which means you must be flexible.

Take a ton of risks, visit new sites, and maintain a positive attitude amid your doubts and concerns.

Flexibility allows you to be spontaneous, carefree, and passionately curious, traits that will make your Labor Day trip unforgettable. You only have three days, possibly fewer. Make the most of your time.

RELATED: How I Imagine A Digital Detox Family Vacation Would End Up

Dominique McIntee is an unapologetic Scorpio NYC-based writer, reality TV-loving heathen, and twenty-something and a knack for editing. She writes articles on astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.