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Trip Preparation: Three Organizational Strategies to Minimize Stress

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013

My flight to Bhutan leaves in less than 20 hours – my suitcase is packed (it’s actually been packed for 7 days), work is caught up, and as far as I can tell all the “balls” I have in the air should remain in the air for the next two weeks (my fingers are crossed). I am not freaking out or driving all over town doing last minute errands. I just took my dog for a nice long walk, caught up via phone with my mom, and plan to enjoy my last evening at home with my husband.

Now – I am not saying all of this to brag – nor has every “day before a trip” been like this for me. But when working for a travel company like Adventures in Good Company, you have the chance to get your travel prep systems pretty fine-tuned. So I thought I’d share a few pre-trip organizational strategies that have worked for me.  

Make Lists: I really don’t think I am a complete Type A personality, but I certainly have some Type A tendencies – one of those is my addiction to lists. I love making lists. Currently, under the notes function on my iPhone I have 28 different lists. I make lists early and often. I used to carry around a spiral notebook and paper planner everywhere I went until I weaned myself off of my paper dependence and transitioned to an electronic calendar and a love affair with the notes function on my phone.

The subjects of my lists cover many topics – but currently, those that relate to trip preparation include:

  • Items to buy

  • Phone calls to make

  • Items to pack on departure day

  • Before I leave…

    • To do at home

    • To do at work

  • To do when I get back from the trip

  • Reminders for family when I am gone

I compile these lists over time (i.e. 1-2 months) – when waiting for a meeting/appointment or just when things come to mind. That way I am pretty confident I have thought of most things come departure day.  

Take Baby Steps: Do one thing each day to prepare for your trip. After you have your lists penned, it’s easy to get paralyzed with the amount of things you need to accomplish. For me, if I am overwhelmed, I shut down and may do absolutely nothing on the list. So, I negotiate with myself – I tell myself, “Just do one thing towards trip preparation today.” For example, make one phone call, do one errand. That one thing MAY turn into to two, but if not, you will still slowly chip away at the list at a pleasant pace.

Use Existing Resources: In this day and age, there is so much information available. When you have questions, or are looking for advice from an expert – look online. You can often type in your questions and find a few reliable answers. I often research reviews of products prior to purchase it just a few clicks. “Google It” is really a great piece of advice when you are unsure where to begin with a large project or small task. There are also tons of helpful resources on the web to help you prepare. For example: http://herpackinglist.com/ is a website dedicated to travel trips for women.  And of course AGC’s International ebook which can be downloaded here below is a great resource to help you navigate the ins and outs of international travel.

There are just two examples of items that are available to few that will help you get organized, stay focused while preparing for your trip leaving your last day at home, peaceful and worry-free.

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