For me, the journey begins long before I depart. I love the planning, preparing, and packing before I go. What I have discovered is, the more organized I am, the more I can relax and enjoy the trip.

Most of my trips involve multiple forms of transportation – planes, trains, buses, and boats, so it is important for me to be prepared for all aspects of the journey without feeling the need to overpack.

Traveling can be very stressful, especially around the holidays, so it is critical that I have a plan for how to minimize the discomfort and maximize my enjoyment. It all starts with good advance planning.

Make a List

First, I write or print out my itinerary. Then, for each day, I make notes of what I will be doing and where I will be going. That helps me plan my wardrobe for the trip. I start with my travel days and what I will need to wear and have with me for the journey. I add any special items that I might want to take.

Next, I print out my master packing list and make sure that I have all necessary travel size items (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) before I begin to pack.

I have used this list for many years, making a few modifications along the way, and it completely alleviates the stress of worrying about forgetting something important.

Packing

Over the years, I have learned the importance of traveling light. I will never forget the trip I took to Europe when the handle on my roller bag broke and I had to carry my bags over the train platform and down the stairs in the pouring rain to get to a taxi.

Every time I am tempted to overpack, or even check luggage, I think of that experience and remember how much easier it is if I pack light.

Before I begin, I select a matching color palette. Usually, it is black for all bottom pieces and blue and purple prints for tops and scarves. That way I only have to take one color of shoes and everything goes together so I can mix and match to make several outfits.

If I’m traveling to a different climate, it helps if I have all color coordinated layers, so I don’t have to take separate items that I only will wear once or twice. If I’m coming from or going to a very cold location, I wear my coat and put it in a space compression bag, which takes up very little room in my luggage.

Luggage

I am very particular when it comes to my travel bags. I have found that having the right luggage helps me to limit how much I take and is easy and convenient for all my needs when I’m away from home.

The two bags I take on almost every trip are my rolling backpack and a tote bag. I can take both as carry on for planes and trains, they are great, and I never have to check luggage.

I put all my clothes and shoes in the backpack and the items I need quick access to in my tote. I know where everything is, and I don’t ever leave anything behind at hotels.

My tote is always packed with the same items, so it is ready if I’m staying overnight at my daughter’s house or taking a last-minute weekend trip with friends.

It is also where I keep my passport, spare phone charger, scarf, and notebook, so literally, I can take a change of clothes and be out the door in minutes.

Supplies

I travel for work and pleasure, so I like to keep everything I might need with me. Most people I know joke about how prepared I am, but for me it is essential. I like to be comfortable, especially with unforeseen delays and circumstances that arise with travel – particularly around the holidays.

There are a few items I always have – coffee and tea, water, snacks, sewing kit, miscellaneous medical supplies (band aids, cold/allergy/pain medication, sleep aids, etc.).

There is nothing worse than getting to your hotel at midnight, after a 3-hour flight delay, with no food available until the next day. Being able to have a cup of tea and a snack before going to bed makes me feel much less deprived.

Attitude

Just like anyone, I can get caught up in the stress and anxiety of travel. I try to remember that everyone else is feeling the same way and try to make the best of the situation. I truly love to travel, and it is always so much more pleasant when I can relax and enjoy the journey.

Wishing you safe and happy holiday travels.

Where do you go away for the holidays? What are your favorite tips for easier travel? Share your stories and join the conversation!

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