I LOVE the anticipation of a big trip. The research & the details thrill me- the packing & the scrambling at the last minute not so much…
When I took my first International trip as an adult, I read some advice to pretend you are leaving 1 day earlier than you actually are- so that you can be relaxed and not stressed rushing around doing last minute things.
Easier said than done I know! Due to life and busyness, we have started MANY a trip by staying up until midnight the night before- frantically looking for last minute things and packing. It puts me on edge before I’ve even buckled my seat belt!
Here are a few of the things I personally do and recommend before a big trip. (These tips work best after you’ve decided where you are going and have a travel plan in place) By planning ahead and spacing your to-do’s out over a few weeks, you’ll be able to ease into your big adventure!
10 things I’m going to do early to make my departure easier
1 | Finalize Itinerary
2 | Banking Details & Make Copies
3 | Shop for Host Gifts
4 | Make my Shopping List for Souvenirs & Gifts
5 | Make a List of Photos
6 | Purchase Travel Necessities
7 | Determine Wardrobe
8 | Load Media
9 | Prepare Camera Bag
10| Pre-Pack Personal Carry-on Item
Example: I’m leaving for Italy in 2 weeks (!!) and I’ve started using this list to get organized. Knowing that each thing I make time to do now will keep things from falling through the cracks and ease my exit stress when I leave on my trip. (I’ll let you know how it goes…)
1 | Finalize Itinerary
- Confirm reservations.
- Plan out how you want to spend your time.
- Allow time to breathe or wander in between activities.
2 | Banking Details & Make Copies.
- Contact credit card company & bank to let them know you’ll be traveling abroad.
- Determine what your daily withdrawal amount is and any associated fees.
- Email all travel details to a family member.
- Print 2 copies of itinerary, reservations, passport & insurance card. (1 in travel folder, 1 extra to have in a separate bag just in case.)
3 | Shop
- Purchase a small gift for my hosts.
4 | Make shopping list for souvenirs & gifts
- Decide ahead of time what I want to bring back with me. (Souvenirs & Gifts)
- I like to allow for spontaneous purchases, but this helps me have a framework for my budget as well as how much room I have in my bag.
5 | Create list of photos to take
- Make a list of must have photos.
- I always think of something after a trip that I wish I had a photo of! I’ve started making a short list of photos I’m missing or want to help jog my memory while traveling.
6 | Determine wardrobe
- I start thinking about this a few weeks ahead of time so I can buy anything I need to add.
- Pack simply & for the weather. Don’t overpack.
- Pick a classic base color (Gray, Black, Brown or Navy) that will work with interchangeable items.
- Dress it up with jewelry and/or scarves.
- Comfy shoes are a must! (cobblestones are beautiful but can be killer on your feet)
7 | Purchase travel necessities
- Anything extra you may need for your trip. (the earlier the better!)
- For me, this can range from purchasing a new book for my flight to buying a new outfit or travel accessory.
8 | Load Media
- Pre-load movies and music onto your devices.
- I like having a few favorite choices on my iPad when flying.
- I’m still trying to decide what to take this time. What are you watching that you love?
9 | Prepare camera bag
- Download any old photos & empty camera card, charge batteries (I always take 2) & pack camera bag.
10 | Pack personal carry-on item
- Pack passport & plane tickets in a safe & easy to access spot. Pick 1 spot and keep them there during your travel day so you know where they are.
- Pack travel folder with documents (see #2)
- Small basic first aid kit + meds
- Camera bag
- Small bag with headphones, gum or mints, small snack, ibuprofen, lotion, chapstick, or anything else I want to be able to grab during flights.
- 1 change of clothes
- Toiletry bag (deodorant, face wipes, toothbrush & toothpaste, makeup)
- Refill bottles & organize liquids bag if possible.
- Any other long haul flight essentials.
- I add last minute things like my laptop, phone & cords later.
Being organized feels SO GOOD! I have experienced both the stressed departure and the relaxed departure. I definitely prefer the relaxed approach. What about you? What are your pre-trip steps? Tell me below in the comments!
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