How to Prepare for a Trip and Stay Organized

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By Cara Batema

Maybe you’re visiting a place you’ve never been before, so everything is completely unknown. Or maybe you’re traveling to a location you have seen many times. Either way, if you don’t have a plan, it’s only a matter of time before your trip disintegrates into chaos. Use these tips to create a travel checklist so your trip runs as smoothly and stress-free as possible.

Before You Go

No matter if you travel with a family on a road trip or take yourself across the world, you cannot wait until the last minute to pack and prepare travel essentials. Before you leave, knock a few items off your travel checklist. If you are travelling internationally, make sure your passport is ready to go. Also make a copy of your passport, stick it somewhere safe, and make a copy to leave with a friend. Make sure you have all your prescriptions and consider supplemental health insurance if you think you might need extra coverage.

Call your bank and credit card companies to inform them you are travelling and ensure your cards will work. Don’t rely on just using those cards, and plan to get cash in the country you’re visiting when you arrive, or if you travel domestically, have cash in your wallet. Download an itinerary app so you can keep maps and schedules in one place. You can also set up airport alerts. Research the place you’re going to figure out a general idea of what you want to do, and buy tickets in advance for things you know you want to see.

Smart Packing

Ahh, packing. Here’s how to prepare for a trip really comes into play. Don’t be that slob who packs like a five-year-old just throwing all their crap in a bag and calling it a day. Get a grid organizer, especially for phones, chargers or other electronics, so you keep all those items tidy and in one place. If you’re doing a road trip, get a seat back organizer to keep water, snacks, maps or other necessities for your tip. If you’re uncomfortable bringing a wallet or purse, buy a satchel or money belt that deters thieves; they’re also usually very light, so you can’t pack as much as you can in that cavernous purse.

Get packing cubes to keep similar items together; now your bag isn’t one giant space for all your stuff, but rather it’s compartmentalized and satisfyingly organized. Don’t forget to write out a packing list and check things off as you pack. Make a separate copy of the list so when you’re ready to leave for home, you can ensure you’ve packed everything you brought with you.

Having the Trip of a Lifetime

Once the planning and packing is done, it’s time to actually go on the trip. While it’s important to stay in the moment and enjoy your time, don’t lose your organization skills. When you arrive at the hotel or wherever you’re staying, unpack immediately. Put clothes in drawers, hang up items that might wrinkle, put your keys by the door to make your lodging as home-like as possible. Attach a Cube Tracker to your hotel keys so you won’t lose it.

If you make a plan, follow your travel checklist and do your best to stay organized (and maybe utilize the help of Cube Trackers and apps), you’re all set to relax and enjoy your next vacation.


Cara Batema is a freelance writer and musician based in Los Angeles. She likes to write about the arts and psychology.