Vacation Prepping

Eek! 2 weeks from today I will be in Disneyland!! I can hardly believe it. And to top it off the next two weeks at work are going to be Cah-razy! So many hurdles to get over before I am free in the land of happiness!

I am a bit anal when it comes to planning for vacation. I like to have all my t’s crossed and my i’s dotted.  As we are prepping for a our “big family vacation” in January I have started sending emails to our family each week with Disney information.

But the trip in two weeks is just DH and I. Our friend will be joining us for the first few days to run her first 10k! But its pretty much a me and DH kind of vacation.

I tend to plan our vacations in stages:

First up – choosing a location (more recently it’s been convince DH we / I need to see Disney again). I tend to book at least some portion of our trip at this point (hotel, tickets, race entry, etc).

6 Months out – For a disney vacation I like to have my resort (hotel) booked prior to this date so I can book ADRs (advance dining reservations) for any “hard to get” table service dining. A few weeks before the 180 day marker I will plan out my ADR’s and then the day of I will either call in or get online first thing in the morning and get my reservations booked.  For Disneyland, this is totally different.

For non-Disney vacations I’ll start working on looking at hotels, touring plans, etc to get a rough frame for the vacation.


2-3 Months out — Time to start scouting out flights. I start looking at little before the 3 month mark so I’ll have a base price to work off. I will figure out how much I want to pay and then start searching the web for good deals. I try to check on Tuesdays and at least one other time during the week.

For Disney vacations I will also start planning each day of my trip at this point. Figuring out what I want to do, tweaking the ADRs as necessary and scoping out any special offers Disney is offering (I am hoping for free dining or 35% room discount in January!).

For Disneyland, this is when I booked our Dining reservations (60 days out, i believe?).  I will note, Disneyland does not need reservations as much as WDW. Walk ups are much more accessible. However, I wanted to be sure to get in a few places so I booked 4 total reservations (World of Color, and three breakfast buffets).

1 month out – Nitty-gritty planning. This is where I make attraction wish lists and plans.

For Disney, its through touring plans and making a touring plan for each day (I DO NOT follow my touring plans, but like to have them on hand for fall-back).

For non-disney, its making sure all the final details are booked — transport to/from airport arrangements, car rental, hotels (if not booked yet), dining plans, tickets for different places, etc.

If we are flying I will also start browsing the airline baggage regulations and fees to determine what luggage we will need to bring.


2 weeks out – I pre-pack. At two weeks out I will do all of our laundry and pull out our vacation essentials. I have a tendency to only do our laundry about every two weeks so this makes sure I’m not scrambling at the last minute for something that we NEED. I also check for all of our non-clothing items and pre-pack the suitcases to make sure everything will fit. I tend to “hide” DH’s vacation clothes so he doesn’t wear them by accident. :o)


1 week out- Pre-pack again. This means pulling EVERYTHING and packing it up. Any final laundry and picking up any essentials.

Night before – Pack for real. Unpack everything and re-load it into the suitcases in a functional way. I sort out our carry-on luggage v. checked (if we have any) and what items we will need.

Morning/Day of — Toss in any last minute items and review the check-list ONE MORE TIME. And we’re off!


So this weekend is my first round of pre-packing. I have actually already been working on this a little. I had bought some Disneyland clothing for us a few weeks back (local Disney store outlet had a clearance sale) and set it aside. I pulled the laundry out earlier this week so I can get rolling on it tonight. And, I starting making a list of items we will need to pack.


Since I am runing DDD (Dumbo Double Dare) I will need two sets of running clothes. I am debating if I should bring two pairs of shoes and leaning towards yes… I think I’ll wear my older shoes for the 10k and then my new shoes (awesome Mizunos!) for the 1/2.

I will also be making a tutu this weekend for wearing during the 10k. So excited!!


How do you prepare for a vacation — running, disney or otherwise?

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