• Lynn Lundstrom Belles

“Getting Ready To Go Checklist” – Instant Download!

Download our “Getting Ready To Go Checklist” and Travel Like an Architect™

Because Architects think of everything, are well prepared, leave nothing to chance!  They make GREAT plans for building a fabulous Vacation!  This information will apply to any Architect, business owner or other well prepared travelers going on a Cruise!

Rob and I are flying to Miami and embarking on yet another “fathom” journey, exactly one week from today, so we are getting ready to go.  We have both been busy getting caught up on work.  Rob is finishing up all of the pending architectural projects and I have been paying bills, processing quarterly tax payments, and filing the associated reports for our business’. It always seems like we have plenty of time, but then suddenly we are rushing around at the last minute!

We have long since stopped telling clients that we are leaving, we just quietly finish and deliver the work.  We learned long ago that if we tell of our plans, certain clients will invent urgencies, that are not urgent at all.  We can do this because our vacations are always a cruise, so we are never out of touch!  We bring our business phones and don’t even feel guilty if we have to do a bit of work..  This time I am bringing our calendar along, to update it and create the 2017 Design. It’s a CAD drawing on a laptop computer. I can work in the airport or on the ship.


It’s a good thing that we keep a list to refer to each time!  It is what makes us really are good at this!  We have refined it to an art form, so I though I would share the list with you. I updated it, to explain everything we do, in writing, to prepare for a trip!  Download it Today!

Before or During the Booking Process

  1. Check the name on your booking confirmation email to make sure it matches the name on your passport.  If it does not contact your travel agent immediately!

  2. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months beyond your trip end date, if it is not renew it <click here>.

  3. Check your cruise itinerary destinations to see if a Tourist Visa is required in any of your destinations.  <click here>

  4. Check airfare to your Embarkation city to make sure it’s affordable!  If it is buy it – because these fares change daily and it might go up!

  5. Some countries require vaccines or malaria medication for entry.  Rob and I always get a flu shot, because we work in isolation, then suddenly when we travel we are around hundreds of people!  Find out if you need a vaccine <click here> enter the recommended date in your calendar and set a reminder to get the vaccine.

  6. Find a Park Sleep and Fly if your drive to the airport is over an hour.  This reduces the risk of missing your flight – and then missing the boat!

  7. Purchase travel insurance because “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. Insurance covers more than you think ask your travel agent for a brochure.

  8. Advise the cruise line of any special dietary requirements, like dairy or gluten free, and vegetarian or vegan preferences.  Your travel agent will be happy to do this for you!

We use a “Passenger Information Form” that is embedded in our website, to gather information, that we need for your booking, in a secure, and accurate way.  The automated form never forgets to ask you about something important!


Getting Ready To Go Checklist

Just after Booking – and before the packing stage of your trip

  1. Arrange for a house/pet sitter.  Our favorite sitters are young people who still live with Mom and Dad.  Usually a responsible college student pre-screened by our daughter. They appreciate staying at the Belles Home Resort while we are away.  It’s like they get a vacation too!

  2. Begin researching your destinations to discover what you might like to do there.  Read some travel blogs and look at Google maps!  Make sure to turn on “Earth mode”, so you can spot the cool stuff, just like we do!  Don’t forget YouTube, where you can see movies of the most interesting things in the places you will go!

  3. Make sure that you have a “no fee international transaction bank card” like Capitol One or Chase Sapphire. If you don’t you may want to apply for one while there’s still time.

  4. Make a list of “Expectations” and “Household Procedures” for your House Sitter.  Include things like garbage day, where to put the mail and which days you water plants.  We even give a few rules, just to make sure our house sitter can’t say “I didn’t know”.  Do it while you are not under pressure, when you can think, of everything you need to convey.  Add to it each day, as new things in your daily routine come to mind.


Getting Ready To Go Checklist

The Week Before

  1. Check the weather, so you know what to pack…  Download the latest version of our Packing List and get your bags out of storage.

  2. Check your country’s travel advice bureau for any current alerts or warnings.  The U S Department of State, Bureau of Consulate Affairs publishes them <click here>

  3. Send your house/pet sitter a text to confirm the date and time that they should arrive.

  4. Exchange some currency at your local bank.  You do have to order it so don’t wait till the last minute. It takes a few days at Chase Bank in Rockford.

  5. Re-Stock your travel toiletry bag with things that you wouldn’t want to be caught without!  Use our Packing List for ideas!

  6. Think about what cameras or devices you will be taking with you and make sure they have good batteries and you can find all the cords and charging devices.

  7. Clean your house! Because no one wants to stay in a dirty hotel. If you leave your House Sitter a clean house you are five times as likely to get a clean house back! Who wants to come home to a dirty house anyway?….

  8. Choose your seats for the flights as soon as your airline makes them available.  They will actually publish a time when seats are first available and can be selected.  Login then so you don’t get leftovers.

  9. Think about how you are going to stay connected, whether this is turning on international data roaming, on your cellular plan, or just using wifi wherever you can.  The internet connection on the ship costs extra, but is available.  The least expensive way to stay connected is through texting.

  10. Fill any prescriptions and get a letter from your doctor if you think that you need to.

  11. Purchase and download our forever Packing List!  It has EVERYTHING you could possibly need! We keep updating it so that once you purchase it you can download it every time you travel forever! Only $9.99


Getting Ready To Go Checklist

The Day Before – there is a lot to do you will be glad you have a list!

  1. Close up your bags and weigh them carefully.  There are many different baggage scales that you can buy, pick your favorite <click here>

  2. This is the one I use!  Once your bags are packed and weighed be sure to toss the scale in, you will need it when packing to come home!

  3. Make sure all of your bags have tags on them with current contact info. Including and especially mobile phone numbers! Yes, even your carry on!

  4. Put your Cruise Bag tags on too, and carry a spare in case the airline damages them. We are always optimistic that if our bags are mis-routed, someone might see the cruise bag tag and know it was urgent to get them to us.

  5. Make one final trip to your favorite grocery store to pick up snacks, gum or magazines to keep you busy in flight because you won’t want to pay the prices at the airport store!

  6. Leave your itinerary with your house sitter so they can refer to it if they need to contact you.  It will be useful to know which days you are on the ship and which days you are not.

  7. Complete online check in with your Airline.

  8. Check in to your Park Sleep and Fly hotel.

  9. Find out the shuttle schedule and let the desk know the time of the airport shuttle you intend to take.

  10. Set an alarm on your phone but also request a hotel wake up call, just to be sure!  Get up early enough so that you don’t have to hurry.

  11. Plug in ALL of your electronic devices to make sure they are fully charged prior to your flight.  Any carry on devices must be capable of powering on, or you are subject to confiscation if they can not.

  12. Get a good night’s sleep.

The Day Of


  1. Be ready for the shuttle about 5 minutes early – wearing comfortable shoes – and layered clothes.  You never know if the plane will be hot or cold, so make your attire adaptable.

  2. Check your bags at the counter and proceed to security right away.  If there is time for something else you can do it on the other side of the security checkpoint.  Security is the “wildcard” so get it done so you can relax!

  3. We always enjoy our first “vacation cocktail” at a place near our gate, even if it is breakfast time.  We suggest that you do the same 🙂

We have done this so many times……  It just never gets any easier to break away.

That’s why it’s so important to rely on a list!  

We know this helps because we use it ourselves!  

Have a safe and fun trip!

~ Bon Voyage ~

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