*Do NOT bring make-up or hair supplies. The humidity makes both completely irrelevant and embarrassingly messy (hint: products drip). You'll learn to love the new (make-up-and-hair-do-free) you eventually...
*Don't bother bringing a book. Some former vacationer at your location will have likely left a
*Bring sugar for coffee. I'm starting to think we're the only people on the planet that still use real sugar for things and not some color-coded packet of mystery-sweetener. Trust me, I really don't care if the yellow one's supposed to be "natural." It still tastes like crap.
*Bring coffee. What's in the cupboard/fridge/freezer is usually frighteningly out of date.
*Don't pay the least bit of attention to the weather reports beforehand, and bring that bottle of aloe vera gel anyway. Your back and shoulders will thank you. I remember vacillating back and forth while packing about whether or not to bring it, thinking I really didn't need to drag around the extra weight if each and every day was supposed to be cloudy or rainy. Trust me, sunburn relief would have been worth the backache of carrying around a whopping extra 2 ounces stored in a half-full bottle.
*What were you thinking, bringing a pair of jeans? Haven't you learned yet that there's no such thing as a cool evening in Georgia in the summer?
*Diet, schmiet. All those healthy things you thought to bring with you? Forget 'em. Everything on vacation is pale and fried and sinfully delicious, and if you fret about it, the guilt will kill you faster than your clogged arteries will. Substitute sweet potato fries for the regular variety if you must, to make your conscience feel a little bit better. Vitamin A, right? Repent with salad and flatbread crisps when you get home.
*Forget the toys for the kid. She'll be so exhausted when she gets back from frolicking at the beach or being dragged on day-trips to nowhere, she'll be more than happy to just veg out with a dvd or books. Who needs toys? They'll never even get looked at.
*Don't send the Android tablet or iPad out for repair the week before your trip. Your child might never forgive you. Or, at the very least, you'll never hear the end of it. Oh, my poor, poor baby...
*Pack an umbrella. Not for the time at the beach, but for the return home during a massive downpour and tornado warning for your town. Seriously, I would've been more than happy to wait out the rain in the car, but when coupled with the words on the radio commanding that you take cover now, the run for the house was critical so we could get down to the basement in moments, just in time for the rain to stop, storm to end, warning to be lifted. Weather's a funny thing...
Let's see what next year teaches us.