Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Bon Voyage: 10 Prep Tips for the Intelligent Traveler


Bon Voyage: 10 Prep Tips for the Intelligent Traveler

November 5, 2017

A while back I took two trips in a short time span: one to Texas for work, the other, a long weekend to visit family in Idaho. Both were rewarding—time and money well spent. But both had dreaded ramifications: sleep deprivation and a pile of neglected to-do’s (the laundry! the bills! the errands!), plus a miserable case of the flu. Is it possible to jet off without that can’t-sleep-the-night-before feeling of impending doom?

Like many things in life, stress-free travel boils down to planning. The right travel accessories also help. Here, 10 tried-and-true tips to prepare for that forthcoming work trip or holiday visit.

heidi swanson of \10\1 cookbooks plans her trips in a moleskine notebook.  17
Above: Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks plans her trips in a Moleskine Notebook. See her list of packing tips at Style Counsel: Heidi Swanson’s Travel Kit.

1. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Success in travel (and, let’s face it, in most things) comes from passing along to someone else that which you yourself need not do. Can your sister book the family dinner reservations? Could your colleague find a perfect spot to take clients for a drink? When you have to get something done in a pinch, and can’t unload it for free, I recommend an errand service such as TaskRabbit.

2. Make a trip details folder.

As soon as you’ve booked your travel, print out your itinerary and include any phone numbers, directions, and other particulars you’ll need. It might seem time-consuming now, but including this step can be stress-reducing and, if you’re traveling with others, argument-saving later: “I thought you had the address!” If you’re heading to a city with too many good places to keep track of, consider uploading or printing out a guide, including, for the best design destinations, our own Design Travel guides.

an organized house is much nicer to return to than an unruly one. see more in&# 18
Above: An organized house is much nicer to return to than an unruly one. See more in House Call: An Exercise in Order with Architect Barbara Chambers.

3. Set up any house care that you will need while you are away.

Do this right after you’ve made your travel arrangements. Will you need a house sitter, babysitters, pet sitters, plant waterers, someone to pick up the newspaper? Will you need to hold the mail? Do this now, not later. I have learned that “later” almost never comes.

4. Head to the pharmacy to refill any prescriptions and pick up toiletries you’ll need to take with you.

This is one last-minute errand that can easily be done ahead of time; take care of it at least week in advance. Keep in mind that the TSA only permits liquids, aerosols, gels, and creams in bottles that are 3.4 ounces or smaller.

maximize crucial pre travel rest before you leave. for pointers, see 5 tip 19
Above: Maximize crucial pre-travel rest before you leave. For pointers, see 5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep from a Feng Shui Master.

5. A few days before you leave, load up on Vitamin C and sleep.

I always carry those fizzy Vitamin C drink packets in my bag and make sure to drink the suggested two per day before I travel anywhere. Sleep usually gets short-changed in the days leading up to a trip, because we never accurately estimate how long it actually takes to get ready. Don’t skimp on these two and you’ll thank yourself when you return home in good health.

6. Schedule the proper prep time during the days leading up your departure.

Block off time in your calendar to get ready for your trip—pack, run errands, finalize the daily plans. Do not over-schedule the week of your departure. Will you skip the gym on Friday? Forego your friend’s dinner party? You have to make the time somehow.

a weekend outfit at the ready. see closet clean out: the only \10 pieces of clo 20
Above: A weekend outfit at the ready. See Closet Clean Out: The Only 10 Pieces of Clothing You Need for more.

7. Three days before you leave: Pack your suitcase and your carry-on bag.

Don’t leave this important task until the night before—the toothbrush is always left behind, right? Use this time to catch up on your laundry, as well. Do it now; otherwise the pile is guaranteed to multiply while you’re away. Determine your packing strategy: We like the Container Store’s Travel Space Bags for condensing your clothing.

8. Two days before: Bring your mailbox, physical and virtual, to zero.

Make sure to pay any bills and take care of mail that’s lingering in your household. That unexpected medical item your insurance didn’t cover will get lost or overlooked in your absence—my husband can vouch for this one.

need pre trip cleaning advice? consult our editors’ top \23 cleanin 21
Above: Need pre-trip cleaning advice? Consult our Editors’ Top 23 Cleaning Tips (which includes this DIY dish soap).

9. The day before: Clean the house, check-in online, and charge your devices.

If possible, hire a cleaning service to come and take care of the straightening up while you’re away.

travel essentials at the ready. for more of this project, see the catskills far 22
Above: Travel essentials at the ready. For more of this project, see The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition. Photograph by April Valencia.

10. The day of: Give yourself plenty of time to finish up around the house and get out the door.

Check electrical devices and potential hazards, secure locks around the house, grab your bags and the folder with your trip details. Got all the necessary chargers? Then sit back, relax, and bask in the immunity-building, stress-reducing, all-around glory of planning for a bon voyage.

Trying to pack smarter and lighter? Take these tips:

N.B. This post is an update; the original story ran on November 8, 2013.

(Visited 414 times, 1 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Frequently asked questions

What are some wellness tips for happier at home?

Some wellness tips for happier at home include creating a clear and clutter-free space, incorporating plants and natural elements, and setting aside time for daily meditation or yoga practice.

How can I practice mindfulness at home?

You can practice mindfulness at home by setting designated time for meditation or breathing exercises, focusing on being present in the moment, and practicing gratitude for the things in your home that bring you joy.

What are some travel planning tips for a happier vacation?

Some travel planning tips for a happier vacation include researching and selecting a destination that aligns with your interests and preferences, setting a realistic budget, and planning activities and experiences in advance to ensure you make the most of your trip.

How can I incorporate wellness into my travel plans?

You can incorporate wellness into your travel plans by researching and selecting destinations that offer opportunities for outdoor activities, spa treatments, and healthy dining options. You can also bring along yoga mats or other exercise equipment to maintain your fitness routine while on vacation.

Product summary  

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation