CELEBRATION TRIP PLANNING CHECKLIST
Don't sweat the details!
A celebration trip is supposed to be about kicking back, relaxing, and making unforgettable memories with friends and family, but getting ready to take a trip can be a stressful experience. Between packing, purchasing last-minute travel items, and figuring out who’s going to pick up your mail and feed your pets while you’re away, the lead-up to vacation can be enough to make you rethink your travel plans.
Don’t sweat the details – with our helpful Celebration Trip Checklist, you can relax to the fullest knowing everything has been taken care of! Here’s everything you need to pick up, schedule, and pack to enjoy a fantastic celebration getaway.
BEFORE YOU BOOK
Choose a celebration date. Remember that if you’re inviting other friends and family (especially if lengthy travel is required), check in with VIP guests to make sure the timing you’re proposing works for them. Research event destinations that will work for your group. Be sure and ask for any group rates/discounts if your group size is large enough to qualify.
AFTER YOU BOOK
Start building your itinerary. Research your destination and make notes about restaurants you’d like to try and local attractions you want to visit. Remember not to overbook yourself— build in lots of downtime and time with family and friends!Put together a draft day-by-day schedule. Consider everyone in your group and make sure there are choices to match everyone’s abilities and budgets.If you’re flying to your destination, confirm ground transportation from the airport to your hotel. Some Xanterra resorts offer shuttle services and the tour and cruise companies offer transfers.
THREE TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE YOU GO
Make reservations. Book your hotels and restaurants and activities. Start planning menus now to ensure you’ll have the best meal within your budget. Similarly, you’ll want to book your group now if you’d like to participate in an organized activity or tour. For popular destinations or destinations at peak times, start your bookings sooner than later. It may seem like your trip is still a long way off, but you’ll be grateful to have your ‘must-dos’ secured early on. If you have an event planner, rely on him/her to help you finalize arrangements. Are you planning on giving any gifts? A welcome bag? This is the time to think about your budget and what, if any, gifts you will want to commemorate the occasion. Send a note to your guests giving them a rough idea of what to expect on the trip. Where they will be staying, the overall itinerary, what clothes/gear they will need, who else is confirmed on the trip, etc.
ONE MONTH BEFORE YOU GO
Will you be giving a toast or saying a few words about the guest of honor at some point during your travels? Start making notes about your speech now. Talk to close family and friends who know the guest(s) of honor well to collect funny stories, anecdotes, or special memories to include in your remarks. Shop for items you’ll need for your trip. Think about your destination and when you’ll be visiting. Will you need to pick up warm-weather clothing or cold-weather gear? Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats might be required. If you’re planning an active getaway, think about special gear or clothing you’ll need to explore in comfort. If you’re planning to have someone care for your pets, collect your mail, water plants, or otherwise look after your house while you’re away, make arrangements now. Send an update to your guests with any new plans or finalized arrangements. Ask them to share their cell phone numbers and travel arrangements with you so you can create a contact list of all guests.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU GO
If you have any prescriptions that need refilling, make sure that you have enough for your time away. Make copies of all your travel documents. Share them (along with a detailed itinerary) with an emergency contact and store images on your phone so you’ll have access to them even without an Internet connection. Pay any bills that will be due when you’re away.
ONE WEEK BEFORE YOU GO
Start setting aside items that you’d like to pack. Research helpful apps that will come in handy while you’re traveling. Get your in-transit entertainment ready to go –download books, podcasts, music, games, or movies, grab a magazine or two, and pick up a few small and inexpensive toys or puzzles to keep kids busy during your travels. Arrange for transportation to the airport for your departure, if you’re flying. Coordinate a meeting point and time for your group if you have friends or family traveling from different locations. Do one last check-in with your celebration coordinator if you have one so you’ll feel confident your special event will be a success. Do your table seatings and place cards if you’re having a sit-down dinner. If you’re hiring a band or DJ, be sure to provide them with a playlist of your favorite songs and style of preferred music. If you’re giving a speech, make sure it’s finished and start practicing!
ONE DAY BEFORE YOU GO
If you have time, change your sheets! It might seem like an odd thing to do, but trust us – when you return home after a trip, there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep in a comfy fresh bed. While you’re at it, empty your garbage cans and eat or get rid of perishable food items. Pack last-minute items. Don’t forget extra snacks in your carry-on! If you have an early departure time, set an extra alarm. Plug in your devices so they’re fully charged and ready to go while you’re at the airport and in transit. Confirm your transportation to the airport, making sure to give yourself lots of time to get there, especially during peak traffic periods. Touch base with your pet-sitters and/or house-sitters to make sure they have access to everything they need – keys, passcodes, pet food and supplies, or your mailbox. Check in online for your flight(s). Confirm flight times and any travel advisories that could impact your departure.
RELAX! You’ve done all the prep, your suitcase is perfectly packed, and you’re 100% ready for a worry-free celebration trip. Have fun making memories with your favorite people!