Darlings, the key to traveling stress-free? It’s all in the organization. In today’s story, I share all the best tips that I’ve picked up over the years.
“I wander through life lusting for all it has to offer,” -Honey Good
There are many legs to a journey. The first leg of your trip begins in your mind. Remember, your dream is just a dream. A productive and organized approach will bring you lasting joy.
I have learned to be a master travel planner. Please call on my skills for your questions, and if I cannot answer one, I will lead you to a person who can. Leave a comment, and I promise to get back to you!
The First Step in Organizing Your Stress-Free Trip
The subject on my mind today is how to organize a trip. From how to choose a travel agent, what to bring home as a memory from your travels, and so on. This story is a mix of interesting potpourri.
Alongside my Ultimate Concierge, I have traveled the world. We have visited every Middle Eastern country except Iraq and Libya. We have explored South America, Cuba, all of Europe, Indonesia, Africa, and beyond. We are a great team because my Ultimate Concierge quenches my thirst when I approach him with an idea for a trip. He says, “Let’s pack up and go.”
Our next adventure begins March 9, 2023. We are traveling with three of our grands, Scott, Logan, and David Good to Eastern Africa. Off to Rwanda to visit the SilverBack gorillas, on to Tanzania for Safari and hot air ballooning over the Serengeti. And then to Kenya and more, visiting the tribes.
I will have the boys photograph our journey and share this dream trip with you.
Taking the opportunity to expand my worldliness in a multitude of ways would not be available to me without using productive organization skills. To be able to study and enjoy my travels, I taught myself, through trial and error and the advice of others. It is my joy to share my skills in today’s musings. I can sum it up like this: How to travel stress-free and enjoy the ride.
Organization Before Stress-Free Travel
The first leg, so to speak, of my trip begins at home. My mind is geared towards leaving home organized.
That means making list after list and checking them twice. And then making sure everything on my list is crossed through before I leave our home.
It is a massive chore because I live a big life. Writing lists is taken seriously!
- Did I make a copy of our passports?
- Do I have our list of vaccinations in case?
- Did I list names in case of emergency?
- Did I schedule when my plants need watering, etc.?
For example, America, our pooch is healthy, but never-the-less I take him for a check-up.
My Ultimate Concierge and I are healthy but what if we get sick while traveling? I phone our doctor, tell him where we are traveling and he prescribes everything we might need as a preventative measure. This saved us in Paris last summer when my Ultimate Concierge caught the virus. I had the preventive Covid medicine. My lists leave no stone unturned.
I use the Apple app, Reminders, as my list organizer. It is simple, and I owe my sense of sanity to my Reminders App. Remember, darlings, life without organization is havoc. I have lived with chaos, so I know this to be true.
A Travel Plan Begins With Organization
I have always employed a well-traveled and respected travel agent. Do not hire an agent until you check that person out. Beware of the agent who plans your trip on a computer. I say, no, no, no, to that idea.
The first question I asked our ‘new’ agent before planning our trip to Singapore and Bali was, “Have you spent time in Singapore and Bali.” She had and she was able to answer all of my questions and meet all my needs. She helped me choose the right hotels, restaurants, and sights to see. Because she had walked the streets, eaten in the restaurants, and visited the sights.
My travel agent told me to take a poncho because of the chance of sudden rain. I even knew hospital care was outstanding, just in case. She knew to ask for early check-in and late check-out. Though I did not do the actual legwork, I did the mental work with her, between several hours on the phone and emails back and forth.
We were a productive team, working hand in hand. I did not allow her to make decisions without my input.
When I received her Pocket Travel App, with our entire trip laid out with minute details, I knew that my Ultimate Concierge and I would have an amazing trip. Because it was planned and organized to fit our lifestyle. I installed her app on my phone. It allows messaging back and forth also.
If you chose not to have an agent, consider watching the History Channel, listening to podcasts, and watching videos.
Here are a few videos that rank high on traveler’s lists:
- Fearless and Far (off the beaten path)
- Sabbatical ( dives into the culture through connecting with people)
- Itchy Boots for the solo traveler
- Discover with Ruhi Cenet ( unique locations, people, and natural phenomena.)
Also purchase a 5-star travel book(s) and, of course, ask trusted friends. You can do your homework and be organized in this manner.
Remember this saying, “Nothing good happens by accident.”
Organization Upon Arrival
Personally, I believe in asking those I trust for advice. And, I am happy to return the favor in areas where my confidence level is high.
I learned from my southern girlfriend, Norma Jean, that one should check the room before you accept it when traveling. Southern girls know the importance of taking care of their needs!
She taught me to say to the check-in clerk, “Please show me the room I will love the first time so I won’t have to bother you to show me several other rooms!”
I love that!!! It works!!!
You won’t believe how many times I said to myself, “Thank you, Norma Jean!”
I am not a spoiled woman, I am a smart traveler. You should not have to settle. Your room is your home away from home and it should be as special as your home. Unless you are taking a trip that you know will have a particular type of accommodation.
When luggage is delivered to our room, I don’t let the porter leave. No way!
Not only do I want a lovely room, but I also have a need for organization, so I start asking our bellman questions:
- Please show me how to work the clicker.
- What number on the clicker is my favorite news channel?
- What is the WiFi password? Is it free?
Next up, I check to see if we have enough hangers and two luggage racks for our suitcases. Not to mention, how to work the complicated coffee machine — if there is one — and I ask for extra towels.
Our room is now organized for our stay, and my Ultimate Concierge and I can have fun and know our home away from home is as organized as our actual home.
Organization of Days and Evenings
Several years ago we traveled outside of London to the Cotswolds. We went with four other members of our family through marvelous hamlets. Unfortunately, I learned nothing because we did not have an organized itinerary. The member in charge of our plans did not have a plan except for hotel reservations. We needed a guide. I missed restaurants. Most importantly, I missed learning all I could have learned in the Cotswolds.
What I learned from this experience is to leave nothing to chance. No guesswork. After all, we are spending expensive time away from home. Every day and evening I have to have a plan in place.
We make dinner reservations, buy tickets in advance, hire a guide if we need one. I know which museums have exhibits we will enjoy, etc. ORGANIZATION, DARLINGS, ORGANIZATION.
When to Throw Organization Our the Window…
Next, let’s discuss gifts and memorable trinkets to buy. Until it hits me, I have no idea what I want to bring home as a memory to savor our trip. Honestly, shopping is not my priority. I have never traveled to shop.
After I have read a book about the country, been in a city or country for a time, and learned something that I find memorable, I look for a unique gift that I can hold onto as my memory.
In Africa, it was a plain white ostrich egg. The egg, in my mind, is symbolic of the survival of Africa because the Africans used the ostrich egg as a canteen. Without water, they would have perished. I learned this when I read James Michener’s book, The Covenant. I bought the perfect memory.
In Cuba, I bought a portrait of a large Cuban woman with a bandana covering her head, a Cuban cigar in her mouth, and spiritual-religious beads around her neck. I love her.
For my trip to Israel, I brought home my red Kabbalah strings from Jerusalem at the Wailing Wall. In Turkey, the Evil Eye, in Hawaii my Hawaiian bracelets, In Antarctica, a penguin. Get my gist? A meaningful memory.
Your Feelings Will Guide You
Genuine feelings direct my purchase. You might want to copy me. I would love that.
Many of you are empty nesters, retired, and have the time to travel in the USA or abroad.
My musings today can be of immense help. Though only a short survey, a help. I learned the hard way, by trial and error. I am giving you a tutorial that I guarantee will work and make your trip immensely enjoyable and stress-free. Bon Voyage, darlings, bon voyage.
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What tips can you share for making travel stress-free? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.
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