Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tips to Help Organize for the Family Trip

Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation you’re planning to take this summer, some pre-travel organizing is vital to ensuring a fun excursion for all.

Particularly in today’s difficult economy, having needed supplies, including cameras, batteries and snacks on hand can save time, money and frustration, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).

“Being organized for travel is the first and perhaps most important step in planning a trip,” NAPO President Laura Leist said. “Planning ahead and determining what is essential for your trip is just as important as packing the right items and knowing where they are when you arrive at your destination.”

NAPO would like to offer a few tips to help individuals and families get and stay organized during summer vacations.

To save time
• Keep a copy of your packing list on the computer to cut down on time spent recreating it for future trips. Update it before each trip to include new information such as medications.
• Create an itinerary before you travel which lists travel times, hotel check-in/check-out times and a list of activities/places you’d like to visit.
• Map out your route ahead of time if driving
• Keep all documents related to your trip (airline tickets, car rental and hotel reservations, etc.) in a “Travel/Trips” active file for easy retrieval.
• Keep a toiletry bag packed with travel-sized containers year-round. This way, you’re always ready for a long trip or an overnight stay.
• Place items you’ll need immediately at the top of your suitcase, or in a separate

To save money
• Think ahead and pack items you may need for various vacation activities, including band-aids for hiking, beach towels and/or umbrellas for the beach and aloe vera for sunburns.
• Make sure you have camera batteries, film and other necessities before leaving home as these items will cost much more at tourist locales.
• Make sure camera and power charger cables are included on your packing list. It would be terrible to waste vacation time and money looking for cords needed to recharge your equipment.
• Review vacation planning guides for your destination to find valuable coupons on dining, entertainment and activities on your itinerary.

To save stress
• Look up the weather in your vacation destination to make sure you pack the appropriate clothing and shoes.
• Begin packing early and only pack what you absolutely need.
• Be sure to leave extra space in your suitcase if you plan on buying souvenirs.
• Organize your wardrobe around one basic color to prevent over-packing. You’ll be able to mix and match easily.
• Check items off your to-do list at least one to two weeks before you travel so you are not pressed for time at the last minute.
• Use suitcase organizers to separate outfits or types of clothing.
• Get your car fully serviced at least two weeks prior to travel so you have time to make any necessary repairs.
• Leave your itinerary and contact information with family or friends should an emergency arise.

[source: NAPO]
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