Going anywhere for Spring Break? Traveling can be an awesome, exciting adventure, but it can also easily devolve into unorganized chaos and disrupted routines. Here are some tips for staying organized and moderately sane before, during, and after your next travel adventure. (I've blogged about this topic before - you can read that post here!)
1. Make a packing list
Before you start packing for your trip, write out a basic packing list of what you’ll need. If you travel frequently, make some standard packing lists based on number of days or time of year, laminate them (or put them in a plastic sleeve protector thingy), and use a dry erase marker to check things off as you pack! Making a list ahead of time can save you from forgetting something important as you pack.
(Do you know how much I love lists? Untangle is currently working on launching a travel packing list template with customizable options. Stay tuned to this space for more information in the coming months...)
2. Go old school with your itinerary
Technology is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it fails you in the moment. No signal, dead battery, out of data, GPS is wrong, WHY WON'T THIS DUMB THING WORK, and so on. To give yourself a safety net, I recommend an old school printout of your driving directions, hotel reservation details, etc. You might not need it, but it’s good to have it just in case. Remember when we used to print out MapQuest directions? It's kinda like that, but better than MapQuest.
3. Let someone help you with the small adulting things
A couple of quick steps online or by phone can make your trip and your return home much smoother. Put a hold on your mail so it doesn’t pile up while you’re gone (or arrange for someone to check on your house and bring in your mail every couple of days). Contact your bank or credit card companies to alert them of your travel plans and avoid getting your card cancelled for suspected fraud. (This one happened to me. True story!) If you’re traveling internationally, contact your cell phone provider to see what’s necessary for your phone to work in another country.
4. When it comes to clothes, choose... wisely
Ok, I’m about to say something that might shock some of you to the core. You don’t have to pack a complete separate outfit for every day that you travel. You don’t! Plan your outfits so that you can mix and match tops and bottoms during your trip and reduce the total amount of clothing you need to take. It’s always a good idea to take extra socks and underwear though, and those don’t take up much space! Maybe throw in one extra outfit in case of a cancelled flight or a major coffee spill, but most of the time, you can find a way to wash your clothes if something unexpected happens. (More on that in the next tip.)
Unless you’re doing a particular activity where you need different shoes, like hiking boots or dressy shoes for a formal event, try to pack strategically so that you only need the one pair of shoes you’re wearing.
Rolling your clothes saves a lot of space, and packing cubes are a great idea for people who want to be super organized when they travel. Also, take a cloth laundry bag or even just a garbage bag for all of your dirty clothes. When you get home, that makes it really easy to take your dirty clothes straight to the laundry room.
5. Streamline your toiletries
If you’re traveling for fun, consider leaving your makeup and flat iron behind. Go natural and enjoy the extra leisure time! If you simply can’t handle a day without makeup or hair product, do your best to streamline the products down to the bare essentials to save space. Find travel size versions or buy the little empty bottles in the travel aisle of your local drugstore.
If you want to go really simple, Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is a great multi-purpose product that you can use to wash your body, your hands, dishes, or clothes. You can also wash your hair or brush your teeth with it, though I’ll stick with travel size shampoo and toothpaste personally.
6. Keep important items on you
If you pack light enough, you can get everything for a week-long trip in your carry on and avoid the hassle (and the outrageous fees) of checking a bag. If you are checking a bag, always take your essentials with you on the plane—phone, wallet, phone charger, car keys, and any medications. For medications, it’s a good idea to take a couple extra days worth just in case of a delay. You can also pack a spare set of clothes in your carry on just in case your luggage gets lost along the way.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be the most together traveler on your next adventure! Remember, don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.