I have been fortunate enough to go on 2 international trips this year which has made me think about being organized when traveling. And, since the holidays are a time of travel for many, what better opportunity than this to talk about being an organized traveler. For some, traveling is a hassle. You have to book flights, hotels, excursions; get passports, international calling plans for your phone, money belts. You have to pack for weather that may or may not be, while still leaving room for souvenirs, and not going over the allowable luggage weight limit. There is a whole lot of organization that goes into taking a trip!
So, as an experienced traveler and organizer, I have learned a few do’s and don’ts about organized traveling.
…Make a packing list well before you need to pack, including things that need to be purchased and done before you leave (packing the night before a big trip assures you will be at Walgreens at midnight getting things you forgot you needed).
…Roll your clothes and use packing cubes in your suitcase –Rolling your clothes saves room and keeps them from getting wrinkled and the packing cubes keep outfits and ‘like’ things together (so you won’t need to dump everything out of your suitcase to find a pair of socks).
…Make photo copies of the front and back of your important documents (passport, drivers license, credit cards, insurance cards) and keep them separate from the originals. If the originals are stolen or lost you will still have identification and the proper information to cancel cards. (There’s nothing quite like being stuck in a foreign country with no ID).
…Pack all the important things in a carry-on bag (medications, valuable, electronics, documents, money); plus, pack a days worth of things in your carry-on in case your luggage is delayed (Having to wear the same clothes you just wore on an 18hr flight while you wait for your bags is not a good vacation starter).
…Call you credit card companies to let them know where you’ll be and how long you’ll be gone so they don’t flag your card as stolen and shut it down.(No one likes the embarrassment of a declined card).
…Overpack (you don’t need the same shirt in 3 colors). Pack things that can be worn multiple times and in different ways.
…Wait until you get there to find out where you will be staying (unless you want to sleep in the airport or a hotel lobby). Things book up quickly and finding a hotel when you’re jet-lagged is not how you want to start your vacation, so book at least your first nights stay.
…Bring a lot of cash. Almost every place takes credit cards and pulling out a wad of cash only invites trouble (and new friends…so maybe it’s not that bad).
…Wait until you need to use your phone to figure out how to call and how much it will cost you.(You don’t want to get a surprising cell phone bill when you get home just because you didn’t know your carriers rules).
…Try to weigh your suitcase on a regular scale by itself. It’s important to know how much your suitcase weighs before you get to the airport, but putting it on your household scale will not tell you an accurate weight. Either, get a luggage scale, or, if you want to do it quick and dirty…weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the suitcase and do the math.
There are many more tips and tricks to staying organized when traveling, but the thing to remember is that the more organized you are before the trip, the smoother and more enjoyable your trip will be. Now go see the world!