I know it’s not the norm for most people to go on a month long vacation. It isn’t for us either. However, when you live on the other side of the world from home and you only get there every two years or so, extended trips are the only way to go. And with extended trips, or even not so extended ones, comes the need to be organized. Since I’m leaving in a few days to visit my family and friends in the USA, I thought it would be a good time to share with you how I get organized for a long trip away.
Booking Flights: I’ve got family in Texas, friends and family in Mississippi and family in Colorado. So I had to coordinate the dates of my visit with them so that they would suit us all. Once that was done I contacted my travel agent and booked my flights. If you’re flying I recommend booking your flights as early as possible to get cheaper prices. Also, if you’re travelling overseas, make sure you’re passport is current. You will have to provide your passport number when booking overseas trips.
NOTE: I’m very lucky because I’ll be staying with friends and family so I won’t need to book hotel rooms or rental cars.
Travel Insurance: I can’t stress enough how important this is. It isn’t very expensive and can come in so handy. We’ve actually had a couple of claims in the past and were really happy that we had it.
Overseas SIM Card: Since I’m travelling overseas and will need to be able to use my cell phone, I purchased an overseas SIM card. Making calls and using data via your “home” network provider can be extremely costly. You can buy the overseas SIM card for whatever “zone” you’ll be travelling in. You can also buy data packs for a reasonable price in case you won’t have access to wifi.
Re-Loadable Currency Cards: Traveler’s checks are a thing of the past. Now everyone uses re-loadable currency cards. The one I’ve been using for the past several years is Cash Passport. It gives you several different currencies to choose from. This is better than using a credit card because it alleviates the overseas credit card fees and you can use it like a debit card and get cash at any ATM.
Now that the fundamental elements of my trip are taken care of I need to make sure everything at home is in order and my hubby and son are taken care of. My boys are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves while I’m away, but I know they’re going to be very busy so I want to make things a bit easier for them. So I made three big casseroles and put them into individual containers and popped them into the freezer. I think I’ve got about two weeks worth of meals for them. I also did a large grocery shop so that they wouldn’t have to worry about running into town too often to buy food. The same goes for dog food (we have 13 work dogs that eat a lot!)
Since I’m the one in our family business that does the majority of the office work, I made sure that all the bills were paid and that any important projects were completed.
And now for my favorite part…making my packing list! If you know anything about me, you know that I love making lists. I’ve used the same packing list for our trips to the USA for almost 20 years! They just change a little each time as the kids get older and need fewer/different things and if we’re travelling at a different time of year. I have a list for my big suitcase and a list for my carry on bag. There are a few things that pertain specifically to overseas flights: If you’re taking any medication on board you may need to present a letter from your physician listing these medications. I’ve never been asked to present this letter, but it’s still a good idea to have it with you. Also be sure to adhere to the regulations concerning what is allowed to be carried on board i.e. powders, liquids, and aerosals. Allowable items must be 100 mils or less. Now I’m going to share with you a portion of my “carry on bag” list:
There are so many travel products out there to help keep you organized. I purchased this great little passport holder from Kikki K. It has room for all my travel documents, cash and credit cards. Plus it’s really cute!
There are a couple of things to think about if your entire family is going away together:
If you have a pet, look into boarding it while you’re away or ask another family member or neighbor to look after it for you.
Have your mail stopped or ask a trusted family member or neighbor to pick it up for you.
So whether you’re going on an extended vacation or just having a few days away, being organized will make your trip more stress free and relaxing!