MedTripTraveling without your kids can be a relaxing; until you start imagining what might be going on at home. GASP!

I travel frequently without my kids, mostly to weekend conferences or destination races, but I’ve also been gone for longer stretches of time. A few years ago my sister, Nicole, our girlfriend, Wanda, and I took a two and half week girls getaway vacation to the Mediterranean that was filmed for an hour television show on the Travel Channel, “Great Cruises: Why Not the Mediterranean?” That trip was the longest that I’ve been away from my children and knew that I really needed to plan well to keep my household running smoothly, or at least running, while I was gone.

Here are five tips to help keep the chaos at bay while you’re away:

Leave DETAILED Schedules & Instructions

I’m sure you’ve already thought to leave a schedule for your husband, your mom or whoever might be taking care of the kids while you’re on the road, but make sure to include even the most obvious details. Sure, you could send the kids off to school in your sleep (and probably do some days) but it can be overwhelming and easy to forget something for a first-timer. Most people will appreciate a detailed list including helpful hints like “leave 10 minutes early to get to soccer practice because of school bus traffic,” or “Jenny will tell you she doesn’t like carrots but will eat them if they don’t touch her chicken.” More details = less stress.

Shop and Stock

Before you depart hit the stores and stock up on food, household supplies, personal care items, school stuff and anything you think they might need while you’re gone. It’s the perfect time to do a household check and make sure you’ve got things that might not seem so obvious but will certainly come up while you’re gone (enter Murphy’s Law) like vacuum cleaner bags or glue sticks for an unexpected class project.

Lay Out Clothes

Depending on your child’s age and your husband’s sense of fashion you might need to not only wash all the clothes but leave specific outfits for each day and activity (with underwear and socks included) to make things easier for everyone – and to ensure your child is not the victim of a fashion faux pas.

Tell Teachers

If your kids are already in school or day care make sure to let their teachers know you’re gone and for how long. They spend several hours with your children daily and will definitely detect if something is a little off. They can be extremely helpful in following up on homework, sticking to routines, and giving out some extra hugs while mommy’s away.

Trust Your Partner

Now that you’ve paid attention to every detail, back off. It’s OK to call and check-in but DO NOT micro-manage. I’m assuming whoever you left your child with is capable and trustworthy or you would not have chosen them. You’ve armed him with everything he could possibly need and more, it’s time to relax and trust that all will be fine.

Until next time, I’m off and running …