Organized travel for gracious living.
Hi Hadley Court readers, this is Leslie Hendrix Wood’s guest contributor, Jessica, sharing with you some tips on organizing for stress-free travel, part of Hadley Court’s philosophy of gracious living. Whether for business or pleasure, travel is no longer what it used to be: carefree and enjoyable. Now, each airline has specific rules and regulations that must be adhered to. Security and customs, if you’re traveling abroad, complicate and add additional time to our already long journeys. There are things we can do, however, to make our travels more enjoyable, and organization is the key.
Make lists for your schedules and keep both a hard as well as an electronic copy of these schedules including important times, phone numbers and addresses. Paper can easily get misplaced and despite our best efforts with back-up batteries and chargers, smart phones can run out of juice, but click here for WireCutter’s recommendation for the best USB battery pack charger for travel.
It’s also a good idea, for foreign travel, to have the number of the US Embassy on hand, in that city. Being prepared for any eventuality is a key to gracious, stress-free travel.
Make lists for all your items and be sure to compartmentalize. Keep work lists separate from personal lists.
Getting prescriptions filled, eyeglasses replaced, etc. while you are away can be exasperating, especially if you are overseas, but if you need to, and you have an American Express card, you can call AMEX and use their concierge service free of charge to help you get the services you need, 24/7. Preparing for this in advance is key to gracious travel.
Make lists of all the electronics you will be bringing such as phone, camera, laptop, and tablets. Don’t forget to include the cables, chargers, spare batteries and, if traveling overseas, at least one European adapter – and click here for the European travel adapter Wirecutter recommends, but, if yours gets lost, almost all hotels have extras so just ask at the front desk. Gracious travel also includes a Plan B.
These printable packing lists, here, might help you.
Plan out your wardrobe.
Lay out your items so that you have everything planned in advance so that there’s no guesswork involved. This should include shoes and jewelry you plan to wear. It’s ok to mix and match items to create several outfits from fewer pieces as this will greatly lighten your load and if you’re going to a colder climate, wear your boots on board so they don’t take up as much space in your luggage.
You may also want to consider a back-up shirt or pair of pants in case something unfortunate happens, an accidental spill, for example. Bring nice shoes but please bring sensible shoes as well, and a package of blister BandAids to have on hand wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either.
If you’re an interior designer like Leslie is, it might also be enjoyable for you to sketch out your travel wardrobe ahead of time, so you can choose colors that would work together and plan for what you might need to shop for, prior to your trip.
If you plan on being away for just a night or two traveling with just a carry on may be wise and could save you time both at check-in and when you arrive at your destination, but this is often not realistic. When you must travel with a carry-on as well as a suitcase you may want to consider packing a spare outfit in your carry-on as well as some toiletries for a quick sprucing up before any meetings, luncheons or dinners you may have to run directly to. This also gives one peace of mind on the off-chance your luggage will get lost.
If it does, don’t worry. Almost all airlines now will have your luggage delivered to your hotel at their expense, but do make sure to go their lost luggage office at the airport to fill out all the appropriate paperwork [ having your hotel’s information: phone number, address, cross street with you, on the list you’ve prepared ahead of time, is very helpful at this point ].
It’s also a good idea to carry your tickets, money, driver’s licence, passport and credit cards in a few different places. In case of accidental theft it is better to have just one item, as opposed to all of them, needing to be replaced.
Do you like this TUMI carry -on luggage, designed by Jonathan Adler? TUMI makes excellent, executive carry on luggage which you can also have monogrammed, but Leslie told me her 18 year old, daughter, Amy, going off to the University of Texas this fall for the first time, might be partial to this:
Check in with airlines for possible delays or cancellations. Check road conditions and traffic reports to ensure you get to the airport in plenty of time. Check in before you leave the house, with many airlines you can check in up to 12 hours in advance of your departure. Be sure to get some cash if you have none on hand. Credit cards can be used anywhere in the world, but there are times you will find yourself in need of cash. Alert your credit card company of your travels, and your bank – especially if you are travelling abroad. Do the same with your cell carrier – and remember that you can call your carrier ahead of time and sign up for a monthly plan to get wifi access and coverage in international locations. I did this when I went to London last year.
Lastly, be sure to pack some healthy snacks so your body doesn’t feel sluggish when you arrive and download the books or magazines you’d like to read on your e-reader ahead of time, so you’re ready if there are travel delays. Travel is one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite books or magazines that you don’t have time to read at home.
Readers, what tips for gracious and organized travel do you have?
Images: 1, Image via Neiman Marcus for Tumblr – Last, Vogue 1973.