Tips for a Smooth First Day of Vacation

Written by: Stephanie on October 25, 2023

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You’ve spent months making arrangements for your upcoming vacation. The flights have been arranged, the transfers booked, and the excursions selected. You’ve strewn clothing around your bedroom making decisions about outfits, reserved your pet’s spot at the local animal care facility, and packed your carry-on bag with love and care. You have checked and re-checked your pre-travel to-do list, working with your travel agent to ensure you are prepared for your vacation. 

And now travel day is here, bringing with it a fresh wave of stress.  

Keep the preparedness momentum going with our tips to have the best first day of vacation possible. 

Organize, So You Don’t Need to Rush

Complete as much packing and as many tasks as possible before departure day, especially if you have an early wake-up call. Set items you’ll need to access before departure near your luggage, use them, and then pack them right away after use. Referring to a thoughtfully organized packing list is also helpful for streamlining this process. 

For peace of mind, look through your documents and identification together with your travel companions so everyone sees that all important items are accounted for. 

Pack Your Patience and Go with the Flow 

Even with proper care and attention to detail, sometimes things go wrong. While this can be frustrating, go with the flow and contact your travel agent if there is a situation you don’t believe you can handle. 

Resort Beach

For Resort Vacations 

Note your resort’s check-in time and compare it with your anticipated arrival time. If you’re early, your room might not be ready for you, but resorts usually have an area for you to change your clothes and freshen up, allowing you to enjoy the property right away. They’ll also stow your bags, so make sure you have items you might want with you in your carry-on or other easily accessible bag. This could include a change of clothing, swimsuits, and sunscreen, for example. 

Some resorts lead daily tours so guests can learn more about activities and see where everything is located on the property. If this isn’t offered or isn’t of interest to you, you can spend a little time exploring the resort to get a feel for its layout. Maps are usually available, and the front desk will gladly show you your room location and how to get there from the lobby. 

Find out which restaurants are open during your stay, and when. It’s not uncommon for restaurant availability to rotate, particularly during slower seasons. If you can’t do so in advance, make reservations for your dinners during the first day of vacation. 

Cruise 7

For Cruise Vacations 

Don’t make embarkation day your first day of vacation. Arriving at your departure port city a day early is much less stressful than fretting about potentially missing your sailing because of flight delays or cancellations.  

Your stateroom won’t be ready for awhile once you have boarded the ship, and passengers will only have access to certain common areas until an announcement is made. This means you’ll be without your luggage for (potentially) several hours, so pack what you’ll need for the entire day in your carry-on.  

Find out which dining venues are available for lunch on embarkation day. The buffet could be teeming with travelers, many of whom will be rolling luggage around with them. If there is a smaller, quieter location for eating, you might be happier kicking off your vacation in this peaceful environment. 

Explore the ship and check out the day’s activities. A great first day (and cruise) starts with getting the lay of the land and making some fun plans for how to celebrate the start of vacation. 

Have your best first day of vacation ever, especially when you work with a travel agent to make your plans. 

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