Will you be traveling over the holidays? Whether your trip is over the meadow and through the woods or via a jet plane, it’s best to go through an essential checklist to have a stress-free vacation. So rather than fretting about that trip, you have with family in tow, get organized and allow yourself plenty of time to have fun.
As a former flight attendant and avid traveler, I’ve developed a checklist to ease the stress of traveling. Here are the items I check off my list before traveling:
Prepare all my documents in a folder. In case your smartphone runs out of power, it is always a good idea to have a paper copy of your itinerary, hotel confirmations, transportation schedules, and even a Xerox copy of your passports in case they get lost. Keep this on you, not in your checked baggage. And be sure to get any visas and shots necessary for countries that require them.
Pack snacks. With delays and grumpy kids, it’s always a good idea to carry some healthy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, and string cheese. I do pack gum and candy also but don’t give that too freely to the little ones (although it’s okay to give gum to ease the ear discomfort on flights).
Don’t pack irreplaceable items in your checked bags. It’s frustrating to lose your baggage when traveling. You might make it to your destination, but your bags don’t always follow. So be sure to always carry at least a change of clothes and any valuables on you – not in your checked bags. And minimize the valuables you do bring along.
Plan for all transportation at your destination. How will you get from the airport to your hotel? Or from the airport back to your home? You want to be sure all forms of transportation are well planned and that you have confirmation numbers accessible.
Pack right. Most people pack more than enough when traveling. Minimize the number of shoes, clothes, outerwear, and accessories to one rollaway bag. You can always purchase whatever you might have forgotten at your destination, which often makes for a memorable souvenir.
Stay healthy. Weeks before your trip, be sure you are getting plenty of rest and are eating right. Nothing spoils a vacation more than getting ill before or during the trip. My husband travels a great deal for work and swears by those vitamins that boost your immune system.
Bring a charge. These days we have our smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras to document our daily life. But if you forget your power supply, those vacation memories may not be documented. Be sure to label your electronics with a silver Sharpie or indestructible label (like Mabel’s Labels) and keep track of them every single time you pack for your next destination.
Take notes. Keep a journal so that you remember that restaurant, sight, or store that was unforgettable. I gave a travel journal to each of my daughters, and we still had a good time reading what they wrote when they were younger. Remember to pick up business cards and maps.
Do Your Research. Download handy apps for your smartphone, like metro maps and airline sites, for checking-in while on the road.
We are getting ready for a big trip this holiday season. I’ve checked this list twice, and I’m ready for a stress-free vacation!