For me, vacation prep includes teaching my children about the different places we are going. I plan activities and print games that will enhance the lessons. An amazing website to use is Crayola.com. Among other coloring sheets, they have one for every state as well as other countries and landmarks.
The United States coloring sheets include state birds, flowers, flags and facts, all of which are great to teach ahead of time. They also describe the colors of each item, this saves a ton of time looking each of these things up! We focused on Colorado today.
We are going to glue these sheets into a sketch pad, along with other activities we will do for each state. Other ideas would be in a scrapbook or a binder. All of these ideas can be added too while on your vacation, using postcards, stickers, pictures, etc.
My kids will have a good foundation for the states we will visit and I will be able to teach them more during the hands on experiences instead of the basics when we are traveling.