We all get that a bit of planning can make traveling a smoother, safer experience, but planning can be a balancing act. Sure, you want those critical variables nailed down so you and your family are safe and secure. But you can overdo it! There’s also something to be said for spontaneity. If you only want to plan the bare minimum for an upcoming vacation, these three items likely deserve a prime spot on your vacation to-do list.

1. Plan for Health

It doesn’t matter if you plan a quick getaway to a neighboring city or a road trip from coast to coast — one universal is the importance of staying safe and well. This was important in 2019, but health considerations are super-important in the wake of COVID-19 in 2020.

Your obvious first point of call is to check that your car’s first aid kit is up-to-date. Be particularly mindful of the expiry date on your key medications, and if you have an EpiPen for a particularly allergy-vulnerable member of your family, know that these expire frequently. It’s smart to make sure you’re up-to-date on these items at least a few weeks before travel so that you have time to hunt down any required replacements.

Disposable gloves and alcohol hand cleanser are also indispensable for minimizing your risk of exposure to COVID-19. While you’re preparing, you might also wish to jump on to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 awareness page. Here you can get up to speed on all the latest developments in keeping yourself safe from infection.

2. Plan for Peace of Mind

While peace of mind will look different for everyone, one rule that applies to everyone is that it’s much harder to relax and enjoy yourself when you’re constantly dwelling on background levels of risk. One of the best gifts you can give yourself in the lead up to a vacation is committing to dealing with these risks proactively.

Your vehicle is an essential factor to consider here. If you’re unsure of your oil levels, tire pressure, or general road-worthiness, it’s best to have all that checked before you hit the road in search of adventure. The U.S. Department of Home Security offers this excellent quick guide to car safety, and it includes a checklist of items to help you be sure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of a safe road journey.

You may also wish to check that your life insurance is up-to-date and sufficient. At a minimum, it’s prudent to seek out a policy that covers bereavement expenses, debt, and income support. Some life insurance providers offer a support service for family members seeking help with a claim — a valuable additional level of comfort when people most need it. While life insurance isn’t something we always enjoy thinking about, getting it dealt with will help ensure you have complete peace of mind while enjoying everything life has to offer.

3. Plan for Moments of Down-Time

Finally, plan to take it easy! It’s tempting to plan a vacation around the idea of racing from experience to experience at a million miles an hour. Tiredness doesn’t just lower your enjoyment; it also exposes you and your family to unnecessary risk.

Build time to stop along the way and recharge your batteries. If you’re looking for relaxation inspiration, check out the Roadtrippers website. Here you’ll find a vast range of places to stop and smell the roses across the length and breadth of the U.S.

Stay Safe Out There

Planning can feel like a chore sometimes, but if you focus on figuring out the stuff that counts, before you know it, you’ll be free to let go and relax your way through your vacation at leisure. Plan first to chill out later and simply enjoy the ride.