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Planning for a Trip: Getting Organized the Week Before A Trip

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In this post we share our approach to getting ourselves, our families, and our homes organized ahead of a trip.

Juggling the hum of normal life with travel-related preparation with all of the errands, tasks and to-dos before departure can easily become overwhelming.

To set you up for success ahead of travel day, we recommend creating a list of everything you need to do to prepare, and then sort the items on a day-by-day basis, starting 1-2 weeks before departure. We have found that taking this approach allows us to feel stress-free, giving us the a a positive start to a trip.


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Write down everything that that needs tending to before travel: packing, house, pets, to-dos etc.

Focus on moving these nagging thoughts from your mind to paper or a digital space. Regardless of whether an item big ticket items to the nagging to-dos.

  • Dog food – pack for kennel
  • Order packing cubes
  • Pack baby in-flight bag
  • Amazon return Amazon
  • Locate proof of vaccinations card
  • Purchase travel insurance
  • Digitize identification cards
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….

List out the days a week before you travel.

Monday 8/8:
Tuesday 8/9:
Wednesday 8/10:
Thursday 8/11:
Friday 8/12:
Saturday 8/13:
Sunday 8/14:
Monday 8/15: TRAVEL DAY

Sort listed items into the day you plan to address them.

  • List any work, meetings or appointments. This gives you a realistic snapshot of how busy you may or may not be on a given day.
  • If there is a specific time attached to the event, take note of it.
  • Each item should be listed as its own line item.
  • If you are responsible for multiple people, write down their name as a separate line item for the same task (prepare PERSON 1 carry-on, prepare PERSON 2 carry-on, prepare PERSON 3 carry-on, etc. with associated items in each bag)
  • Get specific – instead of “pack carry-on”, write down each item that goes into the carry on so you know when an item has been successfully packed.
  • For items that take ten minutes or less to complete, see if you can take care of them in the moment versus waiting to do them (starting a load of laundry, sorting through mail, etc.) This will keep lists shorter and more manageable.
Monday 8/8:
–Work: 8AM-3PM
–5PM child swim class
–Dentist – pay bill
–Load of laundry – place trip clothes to the side for future packing
–Order more packing cubes
–Order more no-show socks
Tuesday 8/9:
–Work: 10AM-1:30PM; 4PM-8PM
–8:30AM: Meeting with Jane @ Star Coffee House
–1:30-3:30PM refrigerator repair appointment
–Return Amazon purchase using QR code @ Whole Foods location
–Wash shoes for the trip
Wednesday 8/10:
–Work: 8AM-12PM, 2PM-7PM
–12PM Design meeting with Joel @ Dio Coffee
–Take out packing cubes
–Gather socks, underwear and accessories for PERSON 1, PERSON 2, PERSON 3
Thursday 8/11:
–Work: 8AM-6PM
–Begin packing items into packing cubes – socks, underwear, accessories, jewelry
–Pack PERSON 1 carry-on (passports, toiletry kit, extra outfit, …)
–Pack PERSON 2 carry-on (passports, toiletry kit, extra outfit, …)
–Pack PERSON 3 carry-on (passports, toiletry kit, extra outfit, …)
Friday 8/12:
–Work: 8AM-9AM, 1-4PM
–9:30-11:30 AM Playdate with Audrey @ Skye Park
–Pack PERSON 1 (dresses x 3, skirts x 2, shirts x 3, blouses x 3, shoes x 3 etc….)
–Pack PERSON 2 (list of items)
–Pack PERSON 3 (list of items)
Saturday 8/13:
–Schedule Uber/Lyft/taxi or establish long term parking plans
–Pack dog food, leash for kennel
–Finalize packing for PERSON 1
–Finalize packing for PERSON 2
–Finalize packing for PERSON 3
–Deep water garden
Sunday 8/14:
–Check-in for flight
–Launder bed sheets
–Final load of laundry
–Print out travel documents
Monday 8/15: TRAVEL DAY
–Deep water garden
–9AM Drop dogs off to the kennel
–Pack phone and charger, laptop and charger into carry-on bag PERSON 1
–Pack phone and charger, laptop and charger into carry-on bag PERSON 2
–Pack phone and charger, laptop and charger into carry-on bag PERSON 3
–Take last trash bag out
–Bring luggage to front door & load into car
–3:30PM Depart for airport

Share your list with travel companions.

Have travel companions look at your list and determine where they might contribute and items you may have overlooked.

  • What else needs to be included?
  • What did you miss?
  • What did you forget to pack?
  • How do you plan to divvy up the tasks? What can someone else take responsibility for?

The day of the trip, run through the list one last time to confirm everything noted has been completed. Lock your home up, and enjoy 🙂

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