I travel quite a few times a year, both for work and play, and while there’s ALWAYS something I forget (coming to you live from an interstate hotel room without the right bra for my party dress tonight, watch out everyone at chest-height), I’ve mostly gotten it down to an automatic art.
There isn’t much to my routine, I’m a minimalist traveller after all, and I mostly do it in a rush and with only half my mind on the job, but it works for me. It ensures I get where I’m going with what I need, and that I’ll be entertained on the way.
List all the things
I write a quick list of what’s to go in the suitcase, and what’s going in my handbag/carry on. Even more important when travelling with the kids because there’s nothing like being stuck on a plane with littles without enough food and distraction for the duration.
It doesn’t matter if it’s on the same sheet of paper, but it’s always two lists, and if it’s a long trip maybe even a food list. If I don’t, I stand in front of the pantry throwing in whole boxes of crackers and a sad bag of sultanas instead of remembering what I do have and what might actually work.
You can get yourself super-organised and download a printable packing list so you don’t forget anything, but I’m only mildly organised and have never done it. Those checkboxes look like they’d be extremely fulfilling to tick off, though.
Charge all the things
My phone will die the first time every time. I have tried various battery pack chargers and they all hate my devices with a vengeance. They never work. So my phone is the last thing I take out of the wall before I go, but I’ve also made sure there’s enough iPad charge to get me through a magazine or ebook, and that my camera battery pack has been charged because that is a bitch to lug around.
I also NEVER forget my headphones (I’ve been known to stop what I’m doing immediately to go and put them in my handbag when I remember) because I can’t stand to be away and awake in the middle of the night twiddling my thumbs and worrying. I have plenty of podcasts to keep me company in the wee hours and mild anxiety when there ARE NO HEADPHONES.
Download all the things
I always make sure I’ve got enough podcasts to get me through (I don’t really listen to music) and if I’m not sure of the wifi situation, I’ll be even more likely to download a whole bunch before I go. They sure chew up that data! Same with the iPad, although that has no data plan so I make sure I’ve downloaded at least two magazines (one of them is usually O, the Oprah Magazine because it’s chunky and will last me a while). I normally have a half-finished ebook or two already sorted on there, but will double-check just in case.
If the kids are travelling on planes I make sure there’s an iPad loaded with a couple of episodes of a show I know they’ll actually watch, which I usually buy from iTunes. At home they watch the Netflix app or YouTube but again, with no data plan, it can be a sad little device when there’s nothing on it to watch.
Analog all the things
Remember the days when you had to put devices away on takeoff and landing? I was always smug susie because I never travel without a physical book. I’ve made the mistake of bringing massive ones thinking I’ll have plenty of time to read and I definitely don’t. So I mostly do lighter ones to carry, but there’s always at least one.
I really don’t like doing crosswords on devices either so I make sure I bring a pen for the newspaper ones I get at the airport. I know that also at least one of my kids will be totally occupied if there’s a pen and paper handy so I rarely travel without one.
I also try to bring my own water whenever I can (and extra plane snacks because I’m hungry 24/7) because I desiccate like coconut on planes and there’s only so many times you can get a flight attendant to bring you water, particularly if you’re at the beginning or end of the trip. If you don’t want sandpaper skin and mucous membranes, you’ll remember your water. Nice visual, right?
So what do you do to get ready? Are you organised? Go with the Flow? Forget your bra?!