Be an Organized Traveler

Like most people – I LOVE to travel. Getting away from it all, having a new adventure, making fun memories with family and friends, bonding with loved ones… it all sounds GREAT! UNITL… Until I have to pack, live out of a suitcase and then unpack when I get home. Then I need a vacation FROM vacation! So in order to actually ENJOY my vacations I decided to get organized and reduce some of the stress that can come with traveling.

1. The Organized Traveler’s best friend is the LIST! Make a Master Packing List, a packing list for each family member, a “before leaving the house” checklist and a list for the pet and house sitter.

2. If you are travelling by air, check with your airline for any new travel restrictions for weight or size or number of bags you can check and carry-on. This will save you from hefty surprise fees or having to leave something behind.

3. Keep all travel documents in a specific area, like a travel organizer. There are lots of travel accessories to help you organize passports, identification, tickets, flight information, itinerary, rental car information, hotel and travel agent phone numbers, etc. Keep the originals with you and copies in your suitcase.

4. Keep a Master Packing Checklist so you always know what you need. General categories include: clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries, electronics, funds and misc. Items. Many lists can be found online or you can create your own. When you unpack, cross anything off the list that you can leave packed for the next trip. This will cut down on what you need to pack the next time and soon you will be packing like a pro!

5. Take clothing that is easy to wash and wrinkle resistant. Be sure to check the weather forecast at your destination! Pack by outfits. This will eliminate duplicates and over packing. A good rule-of-thumb is 2 tops to every 1 bottom. Only pack what you love and what is comfortable. Leave the “just-in-case” items at home. Roll outfits together to get the most out of your space and eliminate folding creases.

6. Packing organizers are a great investment! Travel pouches or bands can keep outfits together. Packing cubes are great for keeping smaller items separate and easier to locate: underwear, pajamas and socks, toiletries, jewelry and accessories, personal items and shoes. Clear bags and pouches make it easier to see what is inside!

7. Always keep a travel toiletry and makeup bag ready to go. You don’t need full size products. Travel size (3oz or less for carry on) and samples are a great way to go. Keep the bag organized by categories: day, night, shower, and hair. There are LOTS of travel organizers available for toiletries, makeup, jewelry and accessories. I like the ones that I can hang in the bathroom – especially if there is not much counter space. Use a zip lock for any containers that may leak. Jewelry travel organizers are a good investment to keep your jewelry safe and tangle free.

8. In this technology-driven era, electronics now have their own special traveling organizers. There are several types available for your MP3 player, iPod, laptop, iPad, camera, and hand held video games. Make sure you have one that also holds all the power cords and accessories that go with your devices. I also include a portable DC adapter for the car and a portable power strip with USB ports in case there are not enough outlets at the hotel. An extra memory card for your camera is a good idea as well.

9. Take extra plastic bags for dirty clothes, shoes or leaky bottles.

10. Pack single serving activity and snack bags for kids. Pack small individual activities (like a small coloring book and 3 crayons) or toys (like 2 action figures or a small game). Give these out one at time to reduce clean up time and increase the child’s interest. Going to the Dollar Store for a few surprise items can make a long trip much easier! Package healthy snacks the same way: small bags or carrots, raisins, protein bar or wheat crackers. You will save money on expensive (and sometimes unhealthy) travel food and reduce the number of stops you need to make.

11. Finally, make a “one souvenir per person” rule – and stick to it!

Follow the Silver Lining Organizers’ Organizing for Travel board for lots of great travel products and ideas!

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