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Ask Erin: Tips for the Organized Traveler

By Melanie Moffett
In AskErin
Mar 29th, 2016

Woman making list for traveling

by Erin Sharplin Love, erinlove@panachebyerin.com

Whether your spring and summer travels take you to the beaches of Florida or to the vineyards of Napa Valley, being organized when you reach your destination will enhance your get-a-way experience!   Only a few extra minutes of preparation can make you a practically stress-free traveler, well on your way to a blissful summer vacation.  Please feel free to take full advantage of my tips below:

Start early!  I suggest that you research typical weather patterns during the time of your trip and begin planning outfits for your entire family at least a month before your departure. You will be able to narrow down your decisions the week you leave.  For instance, if wet weather is predicted, you can add a rain jacket and boots to accommodate that chance.  On another note, be sure to check all transportation requirements, so you won’t get a surprise when you arrive at the port, for instance.  Pre-planning will help to ensure you don’t forget necessary items and that you don’t over pack!

Keep It Simple!  Over packing is an extremely easy thing to do, especially for women, so during your pre-planning and packing, I suggest that you make a checklist.   Your checklist should correspond with your itinerary, so you know exactly what you need, when you need it and for how long.  For example, will you need to change clothes at some point during the day?  Maybe you are going on an excursion and then need to quickly dress for a nice dinner out.  You can ‘keep it simple” by mixing and matching as much as possible and by packing accessories that can suit different occasions. You can be stylish without packing your entire closet. I promise!  I do it all the time!

Let Your Neighbors in on the Secret!  Be sure to communicate with your neighbors that you will be going out of town and the length of your stay.  A good neighbor will look for any suspicious behavior while you are away.  If you will be gone for an extended period of time, she might also be nice enough to grab your mail and newspapers for you.  If not, you can ask the post office to hold your mail and packages.

Treat Your Pets to a Vacay, Too!  Arrange for your pets to be boarded with a pet hotel in your area.  Many offer online viewing and/or text messages to keep you updated.  Or, if you prefer, hire a pet sitter/house sitter to stay with your pets while you are away.  Make sure you leave plenty of food, water, toys, bedding and directions for medications, etc.

And You Are Off!  Whether you are traveling by air, land or sea, you will need a few things to keep you comfortable.  Be sure to pack snacks for yourself and your children.  I like to use a small insulated container for water, grapes, carrots and chocolate!  I also typically pack crackers and mints, too.   If you are traveling with children, may I suggest a quick trip to the dollar store?  The dollar store is the perfect spot to find small toys, books and games.  You can find a few things to keep yourself busy, too!

I have a few more tips that don’t quite fit into their own category.  Check them out below:
•  Keep all travel information in a central location.   Keep everything in a folder and store it in your command center, so you can grab it as you are walking out of the door.
•  You may find it helpful to pack children day-by-day.  For instance, place each day’s outfit, including socks, shoes and other accessories, into a zippered pouch.  You can then place the dirty clothes back into the zippered pouch to keep them away from clean clothes.
•  If you plan on shopping on your trip, consider packing an extra bag.  If needed, you can then ship the bag back home.
•  Contact your credit card company to let them know you will be traveling. This practice reduces the probability that the card company won’t approve purchases from locations not typical for you.
•  If you are taking a road trip, be sure to take your car in for a tune-up and thorough inspection.  You may also want to pack an emergency kit in case of a flat tire or other emergency.
•  Remember that some hotels offer amenities, such as hair dryers, soap, shampoo, beach towels, etc.
I know you are looking forward to your upcoming vacation, and I hope these tips help you to enjoy it even more!  Have fun!