A few years ago I published a travel organizer. It did pretty well for awhile, but over the years since, I’ve realized that it’s not really what would be helpful for people traveling today. It’s hard to believe that so much has changed in so little time.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks creating a do-it-yourself trip planner. I had the thought to sell the download, the buyer would print it themselves on sticker paper and fill in their own journal book/notebook of their choice to use as a planner. It worked great for me, but the look of it really isn’t marketable. I will continue to work on it though; maybe something will come of it in the future.
In the meantime, as I was putting that together, I compiled a list of trip tips, which I will share here for anyone traveling this summer and/or fall.
[Note: This is not geared towards very young children. If you are interested in that age group, drop me a line, and I can put something together. As at the time, I had young children, my original travel organizer had some great advice and an entire section devoted to children.]
1. Most important tip is to avoid putting personal information on things that can be easily lost. Do not put dates of travel on throwaway items. Do not put your home address on these items as well. That can be the perfect blueprint for thieves who check the garbage at travel sites like airports and train stations.
2. Keep your passport on your person. A document holder is a good organizational tool, especially if you’re responsible for your whole family’s or group’s important papers.
3. TSA – 3-1-1 – Even if you’re not flying, this is a good habit to get into. It saves space, and forces you to decide on what’s truly necessary. I would also recommend separating liquid toiletries from dry. For example, put your toothpaste in one pouch, and your toothbrush in another. This is especially helpful for airport security.
4. If you’re flying, keep liquids and laptops separate and easily accessible. If you’re checking a bag, try and put your liquids in there. Check the applicable websites – there have been recent changes to laptops traveling.
5. Print out a copy of the airport terminal map. This is so helpful for finding your gate, knowing in advance what restaurants and food is available, how close the restrooms are to where you’ll need to be, and how to get from point A to point B on layovers. In the last ten years, I’ve had layovers for all of my flights except the last one and the one that’s upcoming.
6. After deplaning and getting your luggage, use the bathroom before going through customs. Sometimes, the line can be quite long, and those drinks on the plane really do add up.
7. Dress in layers – works for airplane, museums, bus tours, beaches, and restaurants, etc. It will always be warmer than you expect outside, and colder inside.
8. Keep prescriptions in original, unexpired containers – do not check them; put them in your carry on. Pay attention to time zones so you can be sure you take your medications on time or near enough to not have any adverse reactions.
9. Same for packing your jewelry. Put it in your carry on.
10. Have some dry, non-perishable snacks for a long flight. It’s much cheaper than stopping at a convenience store or in the airport terminal. Avoid messy foods, like cheese puffs and nacho chips. The orange dust gets on everything.
11. Bring a pack of gum, and be sure to chew it before take-off and landing. It really does help your ears with the air pressure.
12. Packing tip – pack in a smaller bag. Then transfer everything to a larger case. This leaves you room to bring things back without an extra bag or bagging charge. Packing cubes are also great for organizing and keeping things separate (I like Eagle Creek).
13. Plan your outfits so you can match them to each other. This will give you more clothes options without bringing too much. Scarves and pins are two good ways to add some pizazz to an outfit and change it up a bit.
14. Pack in reverse order for clothes so you don’t mess up your bag searching for “today’s” outfit.
15. In the very front pocket of your suitcase, the larger accessory one on the outside, put everything you’ll need for the first night’s sleep. This will save you tearing apart your suitcase when youj’re exhausted from arriving at your destination. All in the front, sleep well, and begin the next day fresh. If there’s space in that front pocket, maybe put in your first day’s clothes also.
16. Some hotels offer breakfast. Continental or full at some places. Factor this into your price when estimating how much you’re willing to spend on a hotel stay. It may not be as expensive as it initially sounds when food is included.
17. What will you use for an alarm clock? I use my cell phone.
18. On that note, make sure your electronic devices will work where you’re going, and that you’re on a plan to cover your use of 4G or calling and texting. If you’re traveling internationally, get an adapter plug.
19. A mini surge protector is a great tool that I’ve been using for several years now. You can get a reliable one from Belkin.
20. I always use a list and I always forget something. I woke up in the middle of the night yesterday realizing that I forgot to put a laundry bag on my packing list. I haven’t seen it in awhile; it’s probably lost somewhere in the basement, hiding with my missing socks.