Summertime means vacation time for many people.  Whether you are headed out of town for a weekend stay, traveling with kids, or will be away for a week or more — organization is key to making your trip the dream vacation you imagined!

Make a Checklist
Have you have ever been out of town and suddenly remember you forgot something like your favorite jacket, the shoes you need for Saturday night, or even your phone charger?  Replacing an item can be expensive, time consuming, and can take away from the enjoyment of your trip.  Instead, create a checklist of things you will need for different kinds of trips — beach vacation, ski vacation, camping, foreign travel, business travel, etc.  Suggested items to include on your checklist:

  • Clothing (broken down into pants, shorts, long-sleeve shirts, short-sleeve shirts, suits/dresses, shoes, underwear, sleepwear, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Passport
  • Camera
  • Cell Phone
  • Electronic chargers (cell phone, ipod, portable DVD player, camera, etc.)
  • Books/Magazines/DVD’s
  • Kids Entertainment Items (see “Kid Travel” below)
  • Snack Items (prepared snacks versus buying on the go, will save you money and calories when you are traveling).

Store the various lists on your computer in a “Travel” folder and print them out as you need them.

Know Where You Are Going
A little bit of research can go a long way.  I’m always amazed at the number of people I see around the tourist areas of San Francisco wearing a sweatshirt over a pair shorts.  Many come unprepared for a typical cold San Francisco summer day.  Don’t get caught off guard, check the weather of where you will be traveling.  In addition, use travel sites like Trip Advisor to gather information on things to do and places to go at your destination.  Pack accordingly and plan your time to make the most of your vacation.

Kid Travel
Keeping kids entertained on a long plane or car ride can be a challenge.  Their boredom can turn into a miserable trip for you as well as others traveling with you.  With that image in mind, create a “busy box” that is age appropriate for you kids.  A clear shoe box size container works great and can be easily stored with your luggage and other travel items.  Suggested “busy box” items include:

  •  Markers and pencils stored in a pencil case
  •  Puzzle/Trivia/Coloring/Sticker Books
  •  Deck of cards
  •  Games in travel sizes such as Boggle, Uno, Mastermind, Sorry, Think-ets, etc.
  •  New DVD movie or portable game player games (Nintendo DS or Sony PSP)
  •  Books


Comfort Items That Can Improve Your Travel Experience

  • Travel Blanket — If you’re someone who is often cold on airplanes or want to be comfortable when you nap on a plane, a travel blanket is a must.  However, airplane blankets can be unsanitary and airlines are stocking fewer blankets on planes or charging for them to reduce costs.  You can purchase your own compact blanket from any travel store or travel site.
  • Travel Bottles — Keep a supply of 3 oz. bottles so you can meet airline requirements when you carry on your luggage.  Prepare the bottles ahead of time with your favorite shampoos, lotions, hairspray, etc.  These bottles work great for weekend trips as well.
  • Book Light — Keep one in your car for passengers who want to read when you are traveling at night.  They are also good for reading a map if you’re trying to direct the driver on a dark night.  When you are away and sharing a hotel room with multiple family members you can read with your book light without keeping everyone awake.
  • A Pre-Packed Box of Kitchen or Laundry Items — If you often stay in a condo rental on your vacation, the supplies can vary from place to place.  If you like having your own brands or don’t want to use sponges that have the remains of the last guest’s food on them, create a pre-packed box of supplies including:

– Laundry detergent in travel size
– Condiments in travel size (seasonings, sugar, jams, coffee, etc.)
– Sponges and dish cleaning supplies
– Plastic silverware if you’ll be eating on the go
– Wipes and anti-bacterial soap

Make your next vacation a stress free experience, plan ahead and enjoy your time away!