Preplanning the trip

I hate to leave my dogs!
Louie – I hate leaving my dogs!

Traveling is stressful. You have to get your work ready to leave, your house ready, sitters for your animals and much more before you even leave the house.

So I try to take the stress out of the packing. I do this in several ways.

1. First and foremost research where you are going.
2. What are the average temperatures and rainfall for that area during your stay?
3. What is their currency? Is it a good exchange rate?  This will truly impact your spending so pick a place that has a favorable exchange rate.
4. What kind of adapter do I need?
5. What does trip advisor say about going to my destination. I love this site!!!!!

I start a folder on my computer and gather all information possible. I then use two different excel spreadsheets to help. One is for my clothes and the other is all the hotels, phone numbers, address, reservations numbers, and dates to see all on one sheet of paper that I keep in my wallet.

Yes, I have a folder with maps and printed articles too, but when you get to your arrival airport and it is midnight, you don’t want to be looking around in your suitcase to find your info folder.

You need to have that one page sheet right there in your wallet. That way if you do not know the language you can also point to an address or phone number to your taxi or Uber driver?

Research is so important.

True stories about not learning the voltage in different countries. These problems all seem to show up the first day or two and when you are travel weary and not thinking straight.

In Australia the first night I plugged in my hairdryer to dry my wet hair and fire shot out of the hairdryer. I was very lucky that it was not pointed at my head.

In Russia I plugged in my electric curlers and they blew up. I spent almost ¾ of a day trying to find electric rollers in St. Petersburg Russia. What a waste of a day that I could have spent sightseeing. Sometimes I would even bring a little travel iron or a small set of curlers that are throw away to test first. They have to be real small. Now you can do a little research and you should be explosion and fire free.

Currency– I always make a cheat sheet before I go to another country. I do one side with dollars to euros and the other side euros to dollars( or whatever country I am visiting). This way I can quickly understand what I am spending. I will also put F vs C and miles vs kilometers.  There are also aps for your phone for this but we travel to places where there is no internet.

How do you pack for a vacation?

Are you one of those that can pack in 30 minutes and get by with just a carryon or do you empty your whole closet and take multiple bags? I am somewhere in between. If you have a plan for each day then you will pack less. Most of the places you go you can buy anything you need. But think about how hard it is to find a bathing suit you look good in and how easy is it going to be to buy Orthotic shoes if you are older.

In places like Cuba, Myanmar and Africa and other remote countries you cannot buy what you need at all. There are no Estée Lauder counters, no vionic shoe stores, no dress shops and no Walmart’s. So instead of shopping for things you need during your limited vacation time, I like to plan ahead.

I use another excel spreadsheet( these are just lists so don’t let excel scare you) that I created for all my needed travel items. I print out 10 copies and put them on a clip board and cross off everything as I put it in my suitcase.

I also try and stay in a color range if possible. It used to be black all the time because it goes with so many colors. As I got older I realized that black does not look good by my face. I need a brighter color. So I tend to go with more Navy. It is softer on the face and goes with almost everything. I will still bring black pants but I try to make sure everything goes with blue and black

Toiletry bags– Since I travel many times a year I have a separate toiletry bag. It is small and can hang on a hook. It keeps everything I use on my hair and body in small labeled containers in one place and in my carry on. No more trying to remember to pack all my shampoos, conditioners and toothpaste. Traveling is stressful and trying to remember everything the night before the trip will make you more stressed. My toiletry bag is always packed and ready to go.

What also goes in my carryon are my bathing suits, night clothes, good walking shoes, all make ups and magnifying mirrors, toiletry bag , medicines and a couple of day’s worth of clothes.

Label maker- I use this for so many things.
I label all my toiletries. I label the start dates on my makeup and lotions. I use this to make a small label to go on my electronics and their wires, by wrapping each wire with its intended purpose. I then take a piece of scotch tape over each label.