5 Tips for An Organized Road Trip

5 tips for an organized car trip

 

This summer families are taking to the road in record numbers. Great road trips start with preparation, planning and organization. Here are tips for your best family road trip together.

 

Have more than a road map

Years ago all that was needed for a road trip was a map. While there are a lot of amenities on the road, don’t leave things to chance. Scope out your trip day by day with the help of AAA or RoadTrippers app. Update your hotel apps for your favorite resting places so you are ready to pivot in case you are not as far along as you planned. Make hotel reservations before you leave home for each stop along the way.

 

Check the weather

Weather changes have increasingly impacted our travel. Check what the weather will be during your travel time. In case of emergency, know what to do in case of hail or severe weather while driving. If you are driving long distance, this can be especially important.

 

Make your car travel friendly

Travel friendly care trips include easy to access drinks, food, toys, chargers, lots of blankets and multiple pillows. Have your kids use their airpods so everyone can listen to their own music. Download games, music and other fun before you leave. Choose a family audiobook for everyone to listen. Bring along new favorites like a rubik’s cube or MadLibs to play together. Rotate seats to keep everyone cheery and entertained.

 

Packing for intermittent stops

Pack a carry on bag for those stops along the route before your destination. A large tote can carry all your toiletries, medicines and an extra set of clothes. This way you are not unpacking all your luggage for this stop.

Find common ground on travel strategies.

Talk with your family about how to travel. Some families leave extra early to get on the road and have kids sleep along the route. Some families take frequent bathroom breaks  and some stop for fun along the way. Talk with your family about what will work best for you all.  Always agree to stop before it’s too late and everyone is too cranky.

 

Family road trips are memories that will long be remembered!

 

Six Travel Tips to Keep You Super Organized

six travel tips to keep you super organized

 

This Summer everyone is traveling! Travel is our passion and we love getting away to the beach, taking an educational trip to a new city, and spending time as a family on vacation. Here are some of my favorite organizing strategies that will help you be super organized while on vacation.

 

Add apps for travel

Flights changes and weather interruptions are part of travel that can’t be helped. Start by updating and uploading all travel apps related to your trip. The best apps include AccuWeather, Flight Aware, and your Airline app. Add your hotel and restaurant apps for paperless access to your reservations. Consolidate all your travel apps in a folder on your smartphone or use the App in the Air Widget.

 

Use a packing list

Life is busy and travel is complicated. Give yourself extra days to pack and be more organized. A packing list saves you every time. You can customize your list on the Notes app with a check box to include your specific needs. Pull out your travel bag 3 days in advance and start dropping in what you need to fill your bag according to your list. Be sure you pack a little extra layer for warmth and extra shoes for comfort.

 

Stay as connected as you like

Choose to disconnect completely for a real break. If you choose to stay connected, be prepared to keep everything charged by packing a complete set of chargers for your smartwatch and your smart devices. Duplicate your chargers and keep these packed in a tech organizer. My favorite travel tech organizer keeps each cord secure.

 

Categorize to stay organized during travel

  • Frequent travel requires a complete personalized toiletries bag. A clear bag with toiletries helps you know you have what you need. Include a complete set of what you use stored in this bag. No overthinking what to pack and no need to remember your daily items with a designated toiletry bag.
  • Use packing cubes for categorizing what you pack. Different sizes of cubes organize and consolidate clothing. You can group items by day of the week or type of clothing. Packing cubes keep your suitcase organized while at your location.

 

Choose safe spots for important travel documents

Create peace of mind by keeping important documents safe while traveling. Use travel wallets and waist belts for your money, credit cards, global entry card, and passport. Be sure to use the safe in your hotel for jewelry and devices. You will want to make multiple copies of these important documents, as well as important documents in your wallet, to keep at home while you are gone, in your handheld travel bag, and held by a trusted person at home.

 

Pack your patience and be prepared

Pack your patience and plan for random moments of fun during your travel. Download to your Kindle, create a music playlist, and choose games to make travel time less frustrating. Our family loves Heads Up and we always pack a deck of cards.

 

Enjoy your time away this summer. It’s all about the memories you are making and the experiences you are sharing.

Getting Back into Work Mode

getting back into workflow

 

This summer record numbers of people are taking time off and going on vacation. Being away has so much value in helping us reset. However, getting back into the workflow can be difficult after vacation. Check out these strategies to help you transition back to work more quickly.

 

Write vacation preparation notes

Set yourself up for success with notes before you leave. Additional notes on the next steps help you catch up upon return. Share these notes with colleagues who are on your team.

 

Schedule no meetings the first day back

Give yourself time to go through email, check your schedule and set priorities the first day after vacation. By prioritizing getting organized you are ready to get back into the workflow. From my own experience, you are not ready to get back to full speed that first day. Pace yourself with having a buffer day.

 

Review your planner and your tasks to prioritize

Returning from travel, at work, you are likely in the middle of many projects and at home you definitely need groceries. Review your planner to catch up on what is next for your planner. At home, check in with what is needed immediately to run smoothly. Taking this review time gives you a sense of direction and where to spend your time first.

 

Set a reasonable schedule for the week of your return

Don’t overdo and overbook your first week back. Diving back into a full schedule seems smart because you have been away. Give yourself ample self-care and breaks during the first week back with extra time for walks, preparation for each day, and lots of hydration.

 

Set aside time to work through email

Email is the most difficult part of the return to work. Having a plan helps you gain control. Be sure to set your out-of-office reminder so that your colleagues know you are not going to respond until you return. Then, use divide your time to work through email when you return. Set aside a time block for a high-level review of email and learn what is urgent. You can respond to this quickly. Then, set another time block to calendar dates, add information to projects, and work through what has come in while you were away. By creating two segments for your email, you can feel more in charge and be more responsive.

 

Return to routines quickly

Unpack your luggage, order groceries, start laundry and get to bed on time. Returning to your routines quickly helps you ramp up your productivity.

 

Give yourself grace throughout the first week back to work. It is going to take time to regain momentum. Having these strategies will help you be proactive about your workflow after your time away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Organizing While Traveling

 

Post-pandemic travel is a lot like traveling by stagecoach; jostling along in a bumpy carriage. There are organizing strategies that will help you be comfortable and organized on your journey. Using apps for travel and packing keeps you organized while you travel.

 

Use apps for travel

There are lots of changes before and during your travel.  Flights changes and weather interruptions impact our journey.  Start by updating and uploading all travel apps related to your travel. The best apps according to Travel and Leisure include Flight Aware and your Airline app. Add your hotel company app for paperless access to your reservations. Consolidate all your travel on TripIt. TripIt declutters your itineraries and documents by keeping them organized in one place. You can set your reservations to be automatically sent to TripIt, which will let you view travel confirmations, flight itineraries, tickets, and hotel.

Use a packing list

Life is busy and travel is complicated. Often we are busy preparing for the trip the week before with extra meetings, calls, and tasks. Giving yourself extra days to pack helps you be more organized. Pull out your travel bag 3 days in advance and start dropping in what you need or set aside 2 hours to fill your bag according to your list.  While you can purchase items on the road, use a packing list. You can customize your list on the Notes app with a check box to include your specific needs. Of course, there are many apps specifically for packing.

How to pack to stay organized during travel

  • Frequent travel requires a complete personalized toiletries bag. A clear bag with toiletries helps you know you have what you need. Include a complete set of what you use stored in this bag. No overthinking what to pack and no need to remember your daily items with a designated toiletry bag.
  • Use packing cubes for categorizing what you pack. Different sizes of cubes organized and consolidate clothing. You can group items by day of the week or type of clothing.
  • Putting small items, like socks or power cords, into a packing cube can help them from rolling or moving around in your bag. With a technology organizer, you are never without the cords you need.
  • For a complete guide on what to pack and what to pack it in, check out this New York Times Guide.

Safe spots for important travel documents

Peace of mind is when you know are organized with your important documents. When traveling internationally, it is important to keep your travel documents safe all the time. There are travel wallets and waist belts for your money, credit cards, global entry card, and passport. Be sure to use the safe in your hotel for jewelry and devices. You will want to make a copy of these important documents, as well as items in your wallet, to store at home while you are gone and in your handheld travel bag in case of loss. Give these to a trusted person at home while you are away to keep just in case of loss.

 

Pack your patience and be prepared for changes

We have been waiting for this time to travel for a while. It is different now after the pandemic. Pack your patience and other items of interest to keep you entertained during your travel. Kindle, audiobooks, music, and games make travel time fun. Be prepared for changes. Bring your headphones and It’s all about the memories you are making.

 

 

 

3 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation While You Are Away

 

3 tips to maximize your vacation while you are away

 

You finally are away on your well deserved vacation.  Congrats on prioritizing your self care in taking time away!  You prepped your colleagues at work and your pet sitter is managing the home front. Now is the time to maximize your time away. No matter where you go or what your plan is, your vacation should provide a change of daily life, a boost to your wellness and self care and a way to make a memory for yourself and your family to reflect on through the next year or beyond.

 

Start with a digital detox

We have been glued to our screens for a long while now. Every day seemed to bring new complex situations. This vacation could be the perfect time for a digital detox.  The reasons are clear that we need time to be present and in the moment with those with us on vacation, as well as time to just sit. Create a common charging spot for your devices and place them in this area each morning and night. Be intentional about your time on vacation. Choose activities that engage you and fulfill your spirit. In the evening set up card games or family games.  You will return to your job more productive.

 

Be intentional and organized about time away

Break your trip into segments that work for your energy level.  There are options for everyone during vacation.

  • New experiences, new connections and learning are exciting and engaging. Decide what kind of experience you want to have while you are on vacation.  Think about hobbies and interests you may not have time for at home.  Consider finding local adventures like zip lining or mindfulness opportunities like yoga. You can find cooking lessons or try new cuisine while away.  Choosing something out of your every day experience that brings you energy and joy.
  • Choose the time you spend with family. We are excited to see family that we have not seen in a while. It can be exhilarating and exhausting. When you feel ready to take a break, spend the time on your own regrouping. Set aside times during the day that you can be together and apart.
  • Maybe this year vacation is all about peace and quiet. Many of us are depleted of energy and motivation after this difficult year.  Intentionally choose to sit and relax. Choose a beautiful view to sit and be quiet. Take a walk in silence to start or end your day. Head to bed extra early while away to gain on your sleep schedule. Being on the go can leave you exhausted after your vacation.

Give yourself re-entry time

A rushed re-entry into real life can take away from your most relaxing vacation. Give yourself the opportunity to easy back into work and life.

  • Bring back a little keepsake, a photo or something to keep your vacation in mind all summer.  That photo can be placed where you see it daily, especially on your phone screen.
  • Get back earlier than you might think. This will give you time to catch up on laundry and meals at home.
  • Start by making a list of what needs to be done, prioritize your list and make a plan. Not everything needs to be done the first day or week back.
  • Allow for time at work for catching up on email. Share responses that acknowledge receipt and time to get back into work flow.
  • Give yourself breaks when you return to work. Conversations with colleagues when you start the day, a walk in the middle of the day, and a recap of productivity at the end of the day make it easier.

 

The pay off to your productivity is huge if you have truly spent your time away regrouping, resetting and refreshing.

My Organizing Obsession: Packing Cubes

Packing cubes

 

When you find something you love and does the work so well, there  are so many ways to share your love of this item.  I declared my love of packing cubes publicly with Tiffany Craig.  Packing cubes make travel so much easier.  Here are my many reasons to love packing cubes and make travel organizing easier.  

  • Your suitcase is a big open canvas. Packing cubes create segments of space to hold your clothes and more.
  • Packing cubes keep items together than you use together.  I love that you can group items by category. Some of my categories are swim, bedtime, and paperwork.  You can decide your own groups.
  • Packing cubes give you more space in your suitcase. You can pack your items and a child’s clothes in the same luggage and then distribute once you arrive.
  • Use your packing cubes once you arrive to keep organized on day trips in the car.
  • Your clothes arrive in tip top condition with out wrinkles.  Keeping items in the cube keep them folded or rolled.
  • Cubes come in a variety of colors. You can color code your kiddos’ clothes and your clothes or organize by color.
  • Unhappy undoing your luggage?  You can unpack one cube at a time to break this task into small units.

Cubes are inexpensive and can be at your home via Amazon Prime in 2 days. It is a small investment to make your travel more organized. 

Get Organized for Unexpected Air Travel Delays

 

Get organized for unexpected air travel delays

 

Who hasn’t been delayed at the airport? It’s like travel by stage coach now with unexpected weather and mechanical delays.  Recently with Tropical Storm Imenda, I spent 12 hours in the airport.  (It was not nearly as scary as those on the road and I was happily near a bathroom.) Even before this challenge, I knew that I needed to be prepared for a potential surprise. This is true during holiday travel season with so many flights and so many travelers. Here is how I organize and prepare for travel and unexpected delays.

 

Travel bag requirements

I use a rolling small bag that fits under the airplane seat in front of me. I changed to the rolling bag to avoid injuring my shoulders with a heavy carry on.  In my bag are several Vera Bradley pouches that keep me organized (of course!)  The pouches hold what I call my “apothecary,” cords and connections, reading material, and other important items like jewelry and business documentation.

 

Staying connected

Connections are what keep us sane. Our phone and devices require charging more frequently as we use these more while in an unexpected situation. I always travel with 2 chargers and an emergency charger. (It’s the block and the cord times two.)  I also use these to charge overnight at my destination.  I charge once I get to the 20% low battery mode, just like filling the gas tank at the 1/4 mark.

 

Staying hydrated

Travel can deplete you and keeping hydrated keeps you well. I purchase a large bottle of water inside the terminal to keep hydrated before I leave the ground and in the air.

 

Staying on top of travel

All airlines have apps now to keep you up to date. Be sure you switch on the text message app to update you about your flights.  You can view where your flight is arriving from so you know if you are on time. Bag tracking is available in case an unfortunate loss occurs (another frequent situation.).

 

Stay in the know

Many apps help us during these situations.   These apps that give us information are priceless.  These are local news station app, The Weather Channel and Flight Aware. I learned so much from each of these, tracking weather radar and flights.

All our family have set up the Find a Friend app so that we know where we are at all times.  For many reasons this has helped us all feel more comfortable. We know where each of us is and we can help each other maneuver home.

 

Stay comfy

Each of us has our own idea of comfy with travel. It’s a travel pillow or blanket, extra undies, special treats or downloaded music.  What makes you feel comfortable is what’s important.  I carry a protein bar or two also.  Most of my NAPO friends know my love of skittles and pashminas.  I carry both with me when I travel, as well as an extra magazine or two.

 

I hope for you blue skies and sunny destinations. In case there’s a storm in your future, you should be organized and ready to wait it out with comfort.

 

 

Budget Friendly Family Vacation Tips. Book the trip!

budget friendly family vacation tips

This guest post is authored by Becky Drake Conser, Master Trainer for Beachbody LIVE, a National Fitness Presenter, a Mother, and a UNICORN.  After her European vacation, she realized “I spend way less money on three weeks of vacation than one unsupervised Monday at Target!”

 

I wanted to share a couple (well, more than a couple due to being verbose) lessons I have learned on our “Family Vacation!”

1) All you need in your suitcase is lots of socks(hand washing those babies does not get out the stinky feet days of walking), a handful of pairs of undies (women, thongs!! Trust me), and comfy shoes.

2) You never need as much as you think. And you can always find shops that sell what you left behind.

3) Hand wash the clothes the night you wear them so they do not stink up the suitcase. Jeans need 36+ hours to wash so wear them first and hang dry in the shower.

4) The people you meet shape your opinion of the Country and make you fall in love with the location. Talk to everyone.

5) Set no expectations for the day as you never know how it will turn out and being open minded will free up bandwidth and allow JOY to be the emotion.

6) The best time of the year to visit somewhere is whenever you can get there. Don’t over complicate the planning!

7) You do not need to be an expert of the Country before going. Make sure you set up that 1 tour that is “important” to the World but then just google/yelp the things you like when you are there and GET LOST!!!

😎 Nothing tastes as good as the first local meal and beer once you finish a day of travel.

9) Take the train!! It’s way less stressful than the airport and they rarely want you to arrive more than one hour before you leave. In Italy, they laugh if you get there more than 30 minutes prior to leaving the station as the track is not assigned until 5 Minutes before you are set to leave.

10) On trains – upgrade to the business economy so you have the leg room and storage space appropriate for travelers.

11) Sometimes, doing something different in a NEW location is all you need.

12) Trying new foods can change your life and make your kids more adventurous.

13) Kids also love their favorite foods so finding a restaurant that specializes in that is a win. You do not have to eat local everyday.

14) Vacationing abroad can be cheaper than vacationing in the States!

15) Find the locals!! The local beach, the local restaurant, the local gym, the local hangout are always the better choice.

16) Blue badge tour guides are the cream of the crop! You do not skimp on doctors and professionals in the states, so don’t do it when traveling. And hire the private tour with skip the line passes. (You can afford it! Just find a local sandwich shop for lunch and don’t drink alcohol for a couple dinners to save up.)

17) Kids love fancy hotels more than you. Book a couple and enjoy the customer service and that extra bedroom!!

18) Find the swimming pools or beaches in every location and “burn” a day or night letting the kids get out the crazy.

19) Travel days are hard! Nothing goes as planned so breathe and laugh, a lot.

20) Being scared to visit a place because someone told you they did not like it is a big mistake!

21) You have to pay to pee in most countries so be prepared and if you are in a pinch, have the cute kid ask to use the potty.

22) Don’t drink the water from the street vendors. They “recycle” those bottles from the trash cans and the water is from unknown places.

23) Rent the car!!! Our favorite days (minus the learning curve of driving local) were the days we got in a car and drove the countryside!

24) If you find your favorite food, your favorite restaurant, GO back and eat the same thing a second time.

25) If you try to speak the language and very politely ask every person “do you speak English” then EVERY person you meet is super friendly.

26) Uber is available in most countries.

27) Apple Pay is such a convenience!! You always have your phone, and lots of countries are more advanced on their banking.

28) Always have the cash because there is always that one place or one cab driver that does not take anything but cash.

29) Look like a tourist. Do not be ashamed to stand out and have the fanny pack. And carry that paper map with pride.

30) WiFi is sketchy so have one phone that is going to roam and be your point of contact.

31) Take ALL the pictures, but understand that you should not hand your phone to just anybody. That private guide will take the family pictures for you and family selfies can turn out amazing.

32) Cliche to say but sunrises and sunsets are the most amazing times to be out and about.

33) Kids absorb more than you expect so do not concentrate on them looking at the guide or standing in the group. They will surprise you with the things they heard.

34) Walk the city Centre because you will always find the best parks and cool statues and just the things that are missed when others blink.

35) Drink the coffee, everywhere!

36) Your Kids will survive for multiple weeks without electronics. Let them sit on silence.

37) Learn the queuing rules for each country.

38) Don’t be afraid to take a nap in the middle of the day. It’s hot and very few place have AC so take a break and then see the city at night.

39) Eat the gelato. Drink the local drinks. Spend money on eating the food and tipping the waiters. Seriously, a 10 Euro tip makes the biggest difference and the wait staff and manager will spend time talking to you are your children.

40) Booking that vacation is the best money you will ever spend!!

 

As a mom myself of 40 year olds and Gigi to 4 grand kids, the best money spent is on family vacation!  Don’t hold back if your finances are scarce. Be creative and pack your bags!

 

More ideas on organized travel here!

 

How to take a Real Vacation

 

How to take a real vacation

Remember when summer vacation meant long breaks with little to do. It was a simpler time with no email and less paperwork.  At work and at home, we feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. It’s hard to prioritize a real vacation and even harder to make that happen. More than just getting organized to take your trip, here’s now to take a real vacation.

 

Why make sure you take your vacation

Knowing why to take your vacation is the push to do so because it has the most compelling reasons. There’s the benefit of creativity.  (Did you know Hamilton was written during a vacation?) Daily stress can take a physical toll and vacations give us the time to relax our body and our brains.  Taking a vacation is a complete reset.

 

How to time off from digital distractions

We all fear that avalanche of email when we return to work.  It’s what stalls our best attempts at relaxing.   However, you can set boundaries with this.  Checking email once a day, using your out of office response and coming back a day early to work on email are all ways to combat the need to check in.

  • Check email each evening to prevent hourly email check ins. You can add a line to your signature line or your out of office response to alert who to contact and response times.
  • To get the full benefit of time away, think about returning earlier. This can be earlier in the day or a day early.  Knowing you are setting aside time to get back into the groove can make a big difference during your vacation.
  • Take your time on social media seriously.  If you are checking in mindlessly, it’s time to put down your device and get back to enjoying your vacation and the people you are with.   We tend to gravitate to social media when there is a lull in action.  Spring back into vacation instead.

Add in your tech tools for fun

There’s a few tools to use that make vacationing more fun! There’s online tools you will love.

  • Device chargers to keep you up and running.
  • Great headphones to listen to your music or a movie.
  • Portable speaker to play your music
  • Apps for meditation, relaxation or promote sleeping
  • Apps for sightseeing

Be sure you don’t stray into dangerous email territory while having fun.

Get your planner out today to set a date for your vacation and take a real vacation this year.

Easy, Organized Summer Travel

easy organized summer travel

 

It’s travel season! It starts right after the end of school and trickles down in mid-August.  There’s a lot to prepare.   If you are like most families, nothing slows down before or after your trip.  So how to get ready at a moment’s notice?  Here are 3 tips for getting organized for summer travel super easy!

Travel choices

The way people travel has shifted to include Airbnb, VRBO, and local vacation rentals. With some research, you can choose a home to stay in rather than a  hotel. Start early because availability will be important if you have limited travel dates.

 

Travel checklists

No reason to reinvent the wheel!  Keep a travel checklist for you and your family.  It’s the best secret to ensure that all that you need it with you.  A list makes sure you include everything you want for your trip without having to remember it all.  Here are some of my favorite

 

Travel apps

Most destinations have their own apps now too!  It’s easy to log on and learn what’s offered at that location.  There are offer schedules, coupons, maps, and other information too. It’s like an insider’s guide to your destination.  It’s best to log on to the specific location you are headed to but there are general ones as well that make it easy to make the most of your time away.

 

When You  Return

It’s hard after a vacation to get back into the groove. There are lots of priorities competing for your time and energy. Plus you are travel weary.

  • Start with clothes. Grab all laundry and get a load started.
  • Pile up all the papers and go through them ruthlessly keeping just bills and most important papers.
  • Try to bring home a few extra papers or odds and ends from your trip as possible.  For articles you pulled during your trip or paper keepsakes,  take a picture with your smartphone or save the article to Evernote.   Leave the free stuff like toiletries, extra sundries, or other goodies for another traveler to enjoy.
  • For email do a quick triage and delete as much as you can.  Categorize what remains by the date or day of the week you can work on it.