Packing and organizing before you head off on vacation is a must, even though it can be a challenge, especially when traveling as a family. But the organization mindset should not stop as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Yes, you are supposed to be relaxing, but there is nothing relaxing about searching high and low for misplaced items or ending up stranded in a back street with little idea of where you are or how you are getting back to your vacation home because you didn’t plan the day’s outing well is there?
Vacation organization is important, but it does not have to be hard. Here are some tips that will help.
Vacation Organization Should Begin Before You Leave
The key to an organized vacation is planning and preperation and that should begin at home. One of the biggest things to remember is not to over-pack. Take only what you need. Realistically. And pack using a written checklist that you then place IN your suitcase, as this will be very helpful later (as you’ll see.)
Act Like You Are At Home When Away
Whether you are staying in a traditional hotel room or at an Airbnb type property act like your are at home and try to recreate some of the organisational rules you have there. For example, create a set place for your keys, wallet and other must take items to be stored when not in use. Hang your clothes in a closet rather than living out of your suitcase. Designate a charging area for everyone’s gadgets. By creating defined spaces and spots for everything things are far less likely to get misplaced or forgotten.
Plan Trips and Activities With Care
Yes, it’s a nice idea to be a little spontaneous when on vacation, especially if you are somewhere you’ve never been before. And sticking to a very rigid schedule can be a drag. But a certain amount of sensible planning has to go into your daily adventures.
This means doing things like ensuring you know when certain attractions open and close, the schedules for local public transportation if you haven’t rented a car. Any local customs you should be aware of.
For example, all over the world there are beautiful houses of worship, many of which are historical and architectural marvels as well as spiritual ones. But many come along with a certain etiquette that should be followed. Many churches in Europe, for example, prefer that visitors be modestly dressed, so don’t plan on touring a cathedral in your shortest shorts or sweaty wife-beater.
Speaking of the way you dress, footwear planning is something lots of people overlook and they quickly come to regret that. Flip-flops, for example, are perfect for the beach, but for exploring those fascinating rocks and tide pools? Not so much. And many restaurants and bars may be rather disapproving of them too, so make sure you have a nicer pair of sandals in your bag if you plan on dining out after the sun goes down.
Clean and Organize Nightly
When you get back to your vacation base after the day’s activities before you pour that glass of something cool and relax take a few minutes to tidy up your space. Put items you won’t be using again back in your suitcase, straighten up your toiletries and do any dishes. Do this every evening and you’ll save yourself time and frustration on that often rather fraught last day.
Speaking of going home it’s inevitable you’ll be returning with more than you arrived with, because what’s a vacation without souvenirs? As you buy things pack them away in your suitcase right away so they don’t get lost or forgotten, and if you buy a lot, consider making a trip to a local post office and mailing some items home ahead to save you surprise excess baggage fees or an overloaded car on the way back.
Reuse that Checklist
The vacation is almost over and it’s time to get serious about packing to leave. This is where you should get out the packing checklist you made at home and match items to it as you do so. That way, if anything seems to have gone missing you can look for it now, instead of at the last minute when checkout time is hovering ever closer and you are left trying to beat the clock.