I love LOVE to check in every once in a while with NYC Professional Organizer Amelia Meena to see what new project she's working on or how she's approaching the challenges of a new season. She's led us through preparing for the holidays and given a really fantastic interview about living in small spaces. Last time we met, we got to talking about the warm weather and how it seemed like summer schedules always revolve around travel. So, here she is, giving us 10 Ways to Get Organized for Summer Travel...
Summer is here! School is done, the sun is out and schedules have suddenly become busier than ever. If you have one big trip planned, or lots of little weekend getaways, make sure that you're organized and ready for your Summer Travels: it will save you time, money and extra unneeded car errands.
10 Ways to Get Organized for Summer Travel
- If you're planning a long trip, airline travel may be necessary. Use sights like Kayak.com or Expedia.com to help find the best prices. If you can reach your destination with a car ride, schedule an appointment for a tune-up and make sure your car is running for optimal gas mileage; nothing throws a wrench in travel plans like breaking down 30 miles out of town.
- While double checking the validity of your passport is a must for international travel, it's also a good idea to check up on other documents for domestic travel, too. Make sure your healthcare is in order; another option is to check out the closest walk-in clinics in your destination area. While it's best to keep your passport, ID, insurance and credit cards in one safe place while traveling, it's also a good idea to make copies of all your documents and keep those somewhere else.
- If you plan on being out of the office, do your best to leave the office behind once you're gone. Notify your company of your vacation with ample time to cover any impending projects; try your best to wrap up all loose ends before you leave for your trip; set up an "Out-Of-Office Reply". It's okay to glance over work emails as they come in but try to limit your responses to those that can't wait until you get back. If you have an extended trip planned, then allot for designated time to correspond with the office. Nevertheless, remember that you are on a vacation for enjoyment, rest and relaxation. Use this time to recoup and it will benefit both you and your office when you return.
- Whether it's that big, romantic trip to Italy or a weekend at the lake house with friends and family, take some time to address the finances of the trip before you go. Giving yourself an idea of how much you're willing to spend will help keep you inline with your bank account. Discuss items or activities that you'd be willing to splurge on like a great meal or zip-lining; and then think of ways to entertain yourselves for less. Most cities have websites with Summer Activities listed. And hardly anybody will oppose a backyard bbq for dinner (although the Italians might offer you pasta instead).
- If all you wanna do is read a good book by the beach, then your Vacation To Do List won't be very long. But if you're traveling to a new place or taking the kids to see the in-laws, there may be lots of things you'll want to accomplish. Even if it's on the car ride there, jot down a list of sights, people, restaurants, shows, shopping or other stuff that you'd like to do. It might be a good idea to group the activities by location, making it easier to accomplish more with less driving!
- Sometimes it's more fun to travel with others. If you're bringing the family, going with friends or meeting someone there, be considerate and take time to coordinate with them beforehand. Discuss who's staying at who's house, hotel arrangements, what nights everyone wants to go to dinner, etc. If you're traveling to a place to visit with lots of different people, give them at least a month's head's up that you'll be in town and would love to see them.
- Not all trips are pet-friendly. If you're leaving your pet behind, make arrangements to have a friend or neighbor pet-sit or schedule a space to board your furry friend at a pet hotel or veterinarian's office. Pack all of your pet's belongings together (food, medicine, chew toys, treats) and schedule the drop off (or pick up) time a few hours before you plan to leave so it won't interfere with your own departure.
- Check the weather of your destination to help you decide which items of clothing to bring. Keeping within a particular color scheme makes the most of your outfits by making them interchangeable. Limit yourself to less than what you think you'll need because somehow you'll still end up with too much. And remember: 'if you don't have it, you can always buy it.' Using this motto will help you feel less stressed about packing every little thing you might need. And chances are, you'll be just fine without it.
- Airline travel has put their mark on toiletries but it could be for the better. Take a tip from the TSA Agent and do your best to consolidate your toiletries. Pack only what you'll use while on vacation in small bottles or containers. This will help save space in your suitcase and may even save a few bucks with carry-on luggage.
- Unfortunately, if your schedule is jam packed and you're accomplishing a lot, your memory may not be the most reliable thing. But your digital photos are. If you haven't already, set up an account with iPhoto, Kodak Gallery, Picasa or some other program to house your memories. As soon as your done with your trip, upload your photos into your account. Take 30 minutes to sort the photos, delete the ugly ones, label the faces and categorize activities. A good way to file photos is by Year, then Month, then Event. Do it right away to prevent a jumbled mess of vacations with no labels. Your memory and your family will thank you.
Take these 10 Ways to Get Organized for Summer Travel and make the most of them. And then go off on vacation and enjoy the trip. For all the days you work hard, you deserve a few days to play, too. Happy Travels!
About Amelia Meena: AppleShine, Amelia's professional organizing service, has been in business since 2007. She specializes in office spaces, playrooms, kitchens, garages, bedrooms and closets, special events, and moving services. AppleShine will transform your space by assessing your needs, purging clutter, and creating a personal organization plan for moving forward. Amelia can be contacted at email@example.com.
(Image: The Brooklyn Nomad)