For those of us who love to travel, or have to do it out of necessity, having an organized system is imperative. I am sharing the tips for organized travel that have served us well, as well as the packing checklist that we use.
We are a family that truly loves to travel, a trait I surely inherited from my childhood as a Navy Junior. Luckily, Terry feels the same way, so we have made it a point to travel with our kiddos as much as possible, both domestically and abroad.
While we take many weekend trips, we also tend to do what I call ‘mega trips’, which has us away from home for 2-3 weeks at a time. We both work remotely, so we have figured that it makes more sense to go to one area and spend as much time exploring that part of the world as we can.
As a result of our many trips, we have packing and trip organizing pretty much down to a science. That being said, there is always something to learn, so I welcome any tip for organized travel you might want to share.
I appreciate that everyone is different, so what works for us may not work for everyone. But with summer travel upon us all, and since my family is smack in the middle of packing for an upcoming ‘mega trip’, I want to share the tips for organized travel that we have learned over the course of our many travels in the hopes that you might be able to utilize at least one of these ideas
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Tips for Organized Travel
Several Months in Advance
- Make travel plans.
- I book our hotels at Hotels.com through Rakuten.com. I earn points for free hotel stays through Hotels.com and cashback for every stay through Rakuten.com. I also shop for other items through Ebates…not just travel.
- Check the library for travel guides. You may want to purchase one eventually, but this helps narrow down which ones you find most helpful.
- We have found the community and reviews at TripAdvisor to be very accurate and objective.
- If flying, check out the best times to buy tickets for the cheapest fares.
- If traveling abroad, is your passport up to date?
- Once we know our travel dates, we nail down our pet sitter
- Whether on paper or digitally, designate a calendar solely for your travels. Terry really likes to have the paper, so we print off a calendar noting our flights, hotels, attractions, etc… and keep it in a binder along with copies of our hotel, rental car, attraction and flight reservations. This binder, along with the checklist indicated below, are critical for my family’s organized travel.
Month in Advance
- Check the average weather conditions for your travel location. Do you have the required garments/outerwear? Do you need new shoes/hiking boots for this trip that you want to get in time to break them in? #blisters
- Not to get too personal…but let’s talk skivvies. Unless you want to pack a pair for every day of travel (I’m in the clean undies everyday camp) you’ll be washing and drying them while on vacay. While I love my cotton skivvies, they don’t dry as quickly. Buy a couple of pair of quick-drying microfiber underwear, wash them out at night and they’ll be ready in the a.m. We use this pegless travel clothesline to hang our skivvies to dry overnight.
I wish we would’ve had these on our hiking trip several years back. When we landed in one of the few hotels with AC, we decided that it would be the perfect place to do a bunch of laundry. We had wet skivvies, socks and t-shirts for 4 of us strewn ALL over the room (over every lampshade, hanging off of every door, you name it…there was stuff hanging from it) and they still weren’t dry 18 hours later when we had to leave.
- Start checking for books that you might want to take to read. I love finding both fiction and non-fiction books that are set in the areas we will be traveling and reading them both before and during our trips. This site lists books by location.
- Go ahead schedule any yard care, flower watering or maintenance that needs to be done while you are gone. Also, a good time to put in your ‘stop newspaper’ request if you receive a paper.
- Will you need to arrange for someone to pick up your mail?
- If Driving
- Check to see if the oil needs to be changed or any other car maintenance needed.
- Make sure your GPS can find your destination! We’ve ended up in the midst of sunflower fields when we put in our lodging address, so if you need a printed map then go ahead and get one.
- If Travelling Abroad, check with your bank on how long it takes to get the currency you need.
Week in Advance
- I print off the checklists that I have made to help us make sure we have everything we need. One for him and one for her…these are available in the Subscriber Benefits Library. These checklists are an absolute necessity for our organized travel and we really rely on them. If they don’t suit your needs, I do recommend that you come up with your own that you can add to as needs be.
- Travel snacks?
- If driving we take lots of healthy fruit and nuts and water. We will also pack some healthy nuts and similar snacks for air travel. Do you need to make a trip to the grocery store?
- Bring out Suitcases
- For trips lasting longer than a weekend, I will bring out our suitcases and start putting stuff in them. This really helps me make sure I have only what I need and that I don’t forget anything. I put together outfits, aiming for as many outfits as possible from each clothing item (i.e. I can wear this shirt with my blue jeans, my white jeans and a skirt).
- Wash anything that needs to be laundered.
- If you will be needing dress shirts, take them to the dry cleaner and have them lightly starched and folded. My dry cleaner sends them back with the cardboard insert at the neckband and in a plastic bag.
- I also put easily wrinkled items in their own plastic bag, it really cuts down on wrinkling.
- Need any prescriptions refilled?
- Your pharmacy will most likely work with you when you explain you are traveling. Worst case, your doctor may need to call in an extra prescription, which is why you want to get that process started.
- These little pill bags really make organizing your prescriptions and supplements easy while traveling.
- Clean out your purse and keep only essentials.
- I will not be taking my everyday purse, opting instead for a smaller cross-shoulder bag. I will leave my regular wallet at home, just taking a little coin purse that will hold my ID, Health Insurance Card and a minimum number of credit cards.
- If traveling overseas, make and take a copy of your passport…just in case. This will help expedite the replacement process if you lose your passport. Keep the spare copy separate from your actual passport.
- Need to prepay bills?
- We eat down our fridge, paying particular attention to items that will perish while we are gone.
A Couple of Days in Advance
- Check the weather in travel locations
- Get your prescriptions doled out for the number of days you’ll be gone. If you are taking them out of their original packaging, photocopy or take pictures of your prescription label to take with you.
- I empty out anything that is in my make-up bag and refill it with what I use on a daily basis. By ‘living out of it’ for a day or two before I leave, I am less likely to leave something behind.
- I use a separate zippered pouch for all my lotions and liquids in case something spills.
- I get out my clear zippered pouch for all my electronic accessories and start filling it. I printed off a list of common items that I use on clear sticker paper and attached it to the zippered pouch. This pouch, specifically for electronic accessories, helps me keep my accessories in one place and helps remind me to make sure they are all accounted for whenever I leave one space. You can print this out for yourself by clicking on the link under the image below.
- I use a little jewelry case (similar to this one) to carry my baubles and use buttons to keep my earrings organized and together.
- If you have an external battery for your phone, get that charged and anything else that might need to charge, like your camera battery.
- Once you think you everything in your bag, weigh it, using your bathroom scale or a luggage scale. Should be less than or equal to 50lbs or 23kgs
- Figure out what you will wear on the day of your travel.
For Your Carry-on
- Make sure you have a quart-sized Ziploc bag and 3-oz. or smaller size containers that fit in that bag.
- Make sure you have your travel docs/passports/etc…
- Pack your books, projects, etc…
- Pack your snacks. Remember you won’t be able to take a beverage through security
- Don’t forget your neck pillows. If we already didn’t have these, I’d splurge on one of these for all the cross-country flights we’ll be taking this summer.
Day of Travel
- Allow yourself a 30-minute cushion before you need to leave. No matter that we think we have this organized travel down to a science, something always comes up!
- Adjust AC/Heat.
- Have a light on a timer?
- Empty trashcans, run disposal, etc… (speaking from experience)
- If there is something you need to pack last minute, set yourself a reminder on your phone to go off 1/2 hour before you need to leave. My daughter often travels with her pillow and we set an alarm to go off before we need to leave hotels to remind us to grab her pillow.
What are your tips for organized travel? I’d love to hear them!!
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Interested in More Decluttering or Organizing Posts?
- Catch up on all 4 weeks of the Unclutter Your Nest Bootcamp here:
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Thanks again for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me today, I do hope you can use some of these organized travel tips.
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