Planning a trip is almost as much fun as actually taking one. Even if you’re not going overseas, there’s still massive opportunity for new adventures and new things to see and do. And don’t forget the all-important chance to destress and enjoy some time away from the normal routines.
Having a stress-free trip, however, takes a little bit of planning, especially these days. You can’t really relax if you’re fretting about things at home, or forever wondering if you’ve packed the right things or if you’ve forgotten something.
Make a List
Lists are great, and an easy low-tech way of staying on top of a growing to-do agenda. You might make lists for things to do and see while you’re away, so you don’t forget anything, but do you make a list to help you get ready to leave home?
If you’re the sort of person who often has the nagging doubt about whether you left the bathroom light on or turned the oven off, putting them on a checklist for before you leave home means you never have to think about them while you’re away.
Other things to put on the pre-departure list include:
- Travel dates. It’s always wise to let people close to you know you’ll be away from home.
- Transport times, whether you’re flying, going by train or boat, or driving. If you’re leaving the car in a long-term car park, put it on the list with times and dates.
- Organising care for pets.
- Cancelling regular home deliveries.
Consider Home Security
If you’re going to be away for a couple of weeks or more, home security should be towards the top of your priority list. Any time you leave your house or flat empty, it’s vulnerable to all kinds of mishap.
Give yourself some extra peace of mind by:
- Packing away valuables so they’re at least out of casual sight from the window. You can put boxes up in the loft, ask a neighbour to look after them or for the best security, put them in self storage. You can rent a room or large locker by the week and, being in most towns and cities, they’re handy to get to.
- Have a couple of lights on a timer. Set them to come on at different times through the evening to give the impression someone’s at home.
- Check what your insurance covers while the house is empty and, if you find any exclusions, make alternative arrangements.
- Ask a neighbour to pop in now and then to check around. A leak somewhere can do all sorts of damage if it’s not caught early on. Also, ask them to keep an eye out for anyone entering the house or garden. Let them know you’re not expecting visits or deliveries so they can identify unauthorised visits.
Pack Like a Pro
Having organised the trip itself and everything at home, all that’s left is packing. When you’re away from home, your luggage becomes your only form of storage so make it work to your advantage.
- Start early and have a rehearsal to pack up all you think you’ll need.
- If you’re flying, make sure cases conform to current airline regulations.
- Work from a packing list, one for each person.
- Give children a say, if you can. Let them choose favourite toys or books, as well as clothes. Discussing what they’ll take with them helps them take some responsibility, and gives you chance to talk about the holiday and make them feel included in decisions.
Packing is easier if you spend a bit of time thinking about where you’re going, what the weather will be like, what activities you’re planning, what you need to keep yourself or the kids entertained during quiet times. It helps you keep packing light, so you don’t cram the cases full of things you probably won’t need.
Expert tips for organised packing include having separate bags for little items like cables and chargers or batteries. Small sandwich bags work well, and you can also use these to keep paper items together such as physical tickets or travel documents.
Of course, travel plans can change at moment’s notice, especially now. But that shouldn’t stop us making them. Holidays are precious, so getting organised with security including self storage for valuables, arranging itineraries and being smart with packing all help to make sure the trip is as fun and stress-free as we hope.