I just went through my bullet journal and added up all the days I’ve spent traveling away from home so far in 2019.
The answer? A whopping 38 days (41 by the end of this week since I’m hopping on a plane in less than 48 hours).
That wouldn’t be a lot if I traveled for work regularly, but less than a week of those days can be chalked up to business travel – the rest was personal. There are certainly people who travel more than I do, but after traveling at least once a month every month since 2016 I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that make life better.
So, here are my 7 favorite hacks to make any traveler’s life simpler:
1. Nail down your leaving-the-house systems
Did you make sure windows were closed? Everything was unplugged? The door was locked and double-checked? If you know there are things that will both you when you get on the road (“Did I take out the trash??”), build them into a system for when you leave so that you can be confident they were checked off.
2. Have packing routines
When I travel, packing my makeup bag and my backpack is simple. Why? Because while other things may change, the same items go into those two bags every single time. Setting packing routines such as packing in the same bags and packing some of the same items every time will make it less likely for you to leave something necessary behind while making the packing process faster.
3. Condense all info into one place
Addresses? Agendas? Other info that you use while traveling? Keep it all in ONE place. You don’t want to have to go hunting through your email every time you need a small piece of info. Whenever I go on a trip that I don’t make often, I make a new note in Evernote and throw whatever info I’ll need into it, along with a schedule of what the trip will look like. You can do this on a physical piece of paper, but keeping it digital makes it easy to copy and paste into a GPS or search engine.
4. Water is your best friend
DRINK. WATER. CONSTANTLY. You don’t want to have a headache while you’re driving somewhere, and flying is dehydrating. Driving? Fill up your water bottle and make a goal to drink X amount for every X number of hours you drive. Flying? Empty your water bottle, go through security, and immediately fill it back up. It’s vital.
5. Always, always, ALWAYS check the weather before you leave
Especially in transitional seasons like spring and fall, the weather can quickly change. Check the weather for the location where you’re heading when you’re packing to make sure you pack appropriately, but then check it again right before you leave just to be sure you are properly prepared.
6. Make stops strategically
If there is a trip you make frequently (like the 3 hour drive I often make to my parents’ house), plan your stops strategically, don’t just stop randomly. A few good ideas: a mid-way point, a gas station where you know the gas prices are historically lower, a point that you’ll hit at X number of hours. Having a plan will help to streamline your trip and keep you from wasting time.
7. If you don’t absolutely have to pay to check a bag, don’t do it
I have packed for a week of travel with business professional, workout, and casual outfits for each day in a carryon and a backpack. If you would have to pay for a checked bag out of pocket and it’s not absolutely necessary, channel your inner minimalist packer and try to do without. Airline baggage fees are ridiculous, so you’ll be happy to spend the money elsewhere.
Happy and safe travels folks!