Travel Tips: How to Plan For A Long Trip
I had someone recently ask me what my trip routine is and how I plan for a long trip. Someone else recently shared that I should share more about myself, so I decided to write this post on things I do when preparing for a long trip, so here goes!
Packing and Planning
- Lists! I have packing lists and “don't forget to” lists. It always seems to get really frantic around the time I am leaving and lists keep me sane and make sure that I have everything I need.
- Pack foldable bags. Inevitably I will be out for the day and do some shopping and find myself carrying 3 or 4 bags when all my bags would easily into one larger bag. There are so many bags that fold up to the size of a fist and can slip into your luggage, purse or camera bag very easily.
- Bring picnic supplies. Depending on where I am going it is not always easy to get picnic supplies. We always bring a knife, bottle opener, Ziploc bags, cheese bags, and small trash bags. That is usually the minimum to make for a great picnic. And if you’re choosing to stay in any of the widely available apartment or vacation cabin rentals, it’s handy to have them for a home-away-from-home feel too.
- Pack food in your carryon. Not all airline food is equal! I always have bars and nuts.
Home & Security
- Brief the house sitter/pet sitter. I used the same house sitter for years, and I always briefed her on the house and my cat every single time I go away. I only saw her 2-3 times a year, so I can't expect her to remember every detail about my home. Also, every time she watched my cat, something had changed with her diet, her habits, etc. Also, think ahead for your house sitter's stay – save up magazines, check with them on what movies they would want to watch and change your Netflix queue (or whatever system you use) to accommodate them. Have some of her/his favorite snacks.
- Change up your lighting routine. In the “old days” you had those automatic light switches that you could set to turn on at a certain time and turn off at a certain time. So each night at 8 pm the lights went on. Watching a home for a few days, someone would easily figure that out! With apps today you can turn the lights on and off whenever you like, or look at your webcam or other cameras you have set up for your home!
- Put mail on hold. Despite having a house sitter, I just find it easier to have my mail stopped and re-delivered upon my return.
- For the plane, I load up my iPad with ebooks and saved up TV shows that I have recorded or downloaded and pushed to the tablet. For long flights, plus other moments of extended hours with transfers, etc. I spend transporting, it is a great time to catch up on books and shows.
- I always order an international data plan for my smartphone, I love Instagram while I am away and would pay a zillion dollars if I didn't purchase a data plan ahead of time!
- I always bring extra cell phone chargers, Instagramming or using maps on my phone all day can suck down the battery, having an extra charger will come in handy.
- I have plenty of chargers on hand. When I get back to the hotel I need to charge my phone, my camera battery, sometimes my iPad, besides whatever Mr. Misadventures needs to charge as well, so having extra international plugs and extra power chargers is necessary – after that, it is a land grab for the outlets!
- Once we have all our trip documentation organized we then convert everything into a pdf that is on our iPads, iPhones, DropBox, as well as one printed copy – electronics fail and so we have all our basis covered.
- We have GPS and smartphones for our road trips, but always bring paper maps as well as a back-up.
- I always review my hotel, airline and membership programs to make sure I am maximizing all my amenities to save money. For example, we use Starwood points for our hotels in and our status level gives us certain things like free wifi, but if we use our airline credit card for incidentals we also get free breakfast every morning. The breakfasts at the hotels we are staying at are 50 Euros per person (which is INSANE) by getting free breakfast we are saving a ton, even if we don't use it every day.
Social Media Safety:
- I don't share that I am away on social media unless there is someone at my house. It is so easy to connect where people live these days that you don't want to make my empty home a target (which is why I always have someone watching my house).
What about you? Is there something I missed that you to when you prepare for a trip?
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I like that you mentioned you have someone watch your house. It is easy to forget how easy it can be to be a target. Even if you don’t have pets it’s a good idea to let a trusted friend or relative house sit or check in.
These are great tips. I’m list girl too. I would forget things or spend the trip wondering if I forgot to do or bring something,
This is a great list of things to prepare and bring.
My first time on a long trip – 3.5 weeks – I took a huge bag and overpacked for an art history study abroad program in multiple cities all over Northern Italy. We didn’t take cabs to get from the train station to our accommodations so I dragged the bag over cobblestone streets.
The second time I traveled for more than 2 weeks was back in Europe but this time I went from one extreme to the other and packed a carry-on. It was a blessing but definitely had its downsides. Next time I plan to find a happy medium in between and this is a great start!
@Murissa, packing is definitely part art and part science!
i am always so hangry when i forget to bring snacks for my flight. yeah not all airlines have decent food.. i also probably need to be more careful about what i share on social media and my whereabouts. i try my best to only post about exact places after we leave just in case jacob’s fans show up.. luckily not too many people know where we live since we moved twice in the last couple years.. so hopefully, nothing bad will happen to our place while we’re away. 😮
@Esther, well you do have those two attack cats! How often is Jacob attacked?
I had no idea cheese bags existed until I read this list. You’ve now changed my life.
@Katie, they are really AWESOME! We use and re-use ours all the time.
I have to remember to come check out your post here as you have everything covered! I’m always afraid I’m going to forget something major, and although I usually don’t, it’s just so nice to be organized!
bookmarked!!, I really like your blog!