Going on vacation is usually fun and something to look forward to. But sometimes things can get stressful at the last minute. Here are some organizing tips to take the stress out of your trip this Spring. I got some of these ideas from one of my favorite podcasts: Happier with Gretchen Rubin (and Elizabeth Craft).
1 >> Pack in advance. Waiting until the last minute to pack can work for some, but in order to make sure you have what you need, you should start a few days in advance. Do your laundry and start packing your clothes and anything else you will need before the chaos sets in. This works especially well if you are in charge of packing your children's, or other people's bags in addition to your own. This can even save you money, by not having to buy replacements of anything that you forgot to pack before leaving.
2 >> Research in advance where you'll go and what you'll do when you get there. This will help you to avoid getting into a situation that could cost you extra money and stress you out. Remember that some museums are closed on Mondays and many places close earlier on Fridays. Of course most places you go will be busier on a Saturday or Sunday.
3 >> Inspiration. Try reading a book where the story is set in your vacation destination. Whether fiction or non-fiction, it might give you some good insights on the history, or interesting places or facts that you didn't know before. Check your local library or bookstore for ideas. (I have never done this before, but I love this tip and plan on trying it before my next vacation!)
4 >> Snacks. If possible, I like to pack snacks in my purse while traveling, saving me money and time. This really helps when we find ourselves starving while having to wait in line, or not getting to lunch on time because of changes in plans. If you have dry snacks in your purse or travel bag, you can bring them on an airplane, saving you a lot of money in not buying snacks on the plane if they are not provided.
5 >> Essentials. If traveling by plane, keep essentials in your carry on bag and perhaps a change of clothes in case your bags are temporarily lost. This could really help save you money, by not having to buy anything you are missing in your bag. And it will for sure help lower your stress, if you have a bag of what you need no matter what the situation.
6 >> Shop local. If you do forget to pack anything, think like a local and shop at the local stores around town instead of trying to get things at the airport. I used to work at a hotel gift shop and everything was priced three times higher than normal because of the convenience factor. If you really want to save money, don't shop at a hotel or the airport. Also, if you are staying at a hotel, you can call the front desk to see if you can use things from the hotel like a hair dryer, iron, extra blankets, extra pillows or coffee pot (if not already in the room).
7 >> Back to reality. Plan on taking the day off if you can when you come back from vacation. This cushion day will give you time to put the house back in order, grocery shop and do the laundry. I do this whenever possible, and it really helps my stress levels when I don't have to rush into the next week feeling tired and unprepared.