Getting Organized to Travel
by Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton
There are many different areas where getting organized can make a huge difference, but getting organized to travel can save you time, money, stress, and returning to the house to retrieve a forgotten passport (or child’s blanket they can’t sleep without).
Travel can be exciting, stimulating, self-affirming, and even life-changing. It’s a way to escape the everyday pressure and stress of life – to kindle romance – to broaden perspectives – to connect with heritage – to have fun! Getting organized to travel, however, can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you’re traveling for an extended period of time or traveling abroad. Even if you travel regularly, getting organized to travel can be overwhelming, especially if you are going someplace new. These ideas can help make your travel less stress and more fun.
Get Organized to Travel with a Checklist
Create a travel planning checklist, starting with the departure date and working backward to the first thing you need to do. Once you have created the checklist, pad that time by about 20%. Don’t add more items to the list; simply adjust the deadlines accordingly to give yourself more time for each step.
Get Organized to Travel with an Itinerary
Especially for longer trips, it’s important to have a copy of your itinerary with you – hotel reservations, flight times, etc. Someone who is not traveling with you should also have a copy. Keep it as simple as possible, but include where you will be each morning and night (at least), and how you can be reached (multiple ways, if possible). You hope you can spend your time uninterrupted and at peace, but knowing someone can reach you at any time removes the temptation and anxiety associated with feeling like you need to check in regularly. With proper planning, you don’t need to check in with anyone. Let them notify you of any issues, so you can relax and enjoy your travel.
Prepare for Flight
One of the worst things that can happen is to arrive at the airport and have to leave something behind that you packed. Not only is it extremely aggravating, it also means you will have to purchase a replacement when you arrive at your destination. However, if you do a little research about the rules of the airline and airport, some of the things you pack might be easy to purchase and cost significantly less where you are going. If possible, being able to pack less and purchase simple necessities later can save time, space, and worry.
Keep important documents, currency and small valuables in zipped plastic bags or safe containers. Have them with you or in a hotel safe at all times. Never put important documents in checked luggage!! Leave copies of all documents at home, just in case you lose anything and need copies to get official replacements. Copy both sides of your credit cards, since the contact info for your card companies is on the back of the cards. Keep your laptop with you. Never check your laptop at the airport – or when you are traveling on a bus or train. Keep it with you at all times – except when attending functions where you can’t carry it. In those cases, leave it in a safe.
Take a Fun-Time Bag
This is something that most people don’t consider, but it can make all the difference for extended travel. Pack one small bag that contains fun things that you can do or enjoy during down time: Sudoku books, playing cards, chocolate, paperback books, etc.
- Make sure you can keep your devices charged.
- Take along extra digital camera memory.
- Make your contracts for housing before leaving.
- Research your telephone options before you go.
- Take a travel journal to record your feelings.
- Check out these ideas for traveling with kids.
These ideas can help make your travel (and your preparation to travel) less stressful and more enjoyable – no matter the reason for the travel. Next week, I’ll talk about smart packing for your clothes.