how to prepare for any trip

Yes, I have been ‘missing in action’ from my blog for the past month or so and I wanted to explain. I had a revelation back in December when I sat down and thought about making a New Year’s Resolution.  I don’t usually make resolutions for the new year, but I really felt drawn to one, don’t ask my why?

One of the things I decided during this time was that I needed to start making a little more 'me' time. With my work schedule and the rapid growth of my companies demanding more and more of my time, my focus, and my energy, I seemed to be having less and less time for my personal life.

I used to be an avid traveler and loved it. I had a carry-on bag packed and ready in my closet; I was always checking flight schedules on a weekly basis; I was leaving at a moments notice to enjoy a new and exciting adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE WHAT I DO… my work is my life. What is it they say? But everyone needs a little bit of relaxation to renew their energy and mental health.

Anyway… I realized “I’m not getting any younger” (none of us are, are we?) And I know that aging can be difficult… the tricks that it can play on our minds and bodies. I count my blessings each and every day that I am strong and healthy, but I am coming to grips with the reality that travelling the way I used to is going to get harder and harder the older I get. It is our life… We have to make the time to... just do it.

That’s when I decided what on my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015.

Start Travelling More (again) Travelling is a passion of mine. The new adventures, the revisiting of an old familiar places… it breathes life back into me.  It makes me feel ALIVE!

AND yes I actually created a second resolution:
 Start Reading Books (again) – I used to be an avid reader and really enjoyed getting lost in a good book. Not the digital screen kind, the ‘old school’ kind. Spending hours in a book store looking for a source of reading, running my finger tips over the books’ covers and pages until something called my name, taking the time to open the book and read a paragraph or two to find out if the writer could draw me into their world… if so, SOLD - a rewarding experience was ahead of me! I will write a post on this in the near future!

Ok, back to my explanation, upon finalizing my New Year’s Resolutions list, I decided that I should pull the trigger and immediately start travelling for some much needed ‘family time’. I don’t’ live near any of my family, i.e. my closest family member lives six hours away. Yes, for some that might be a blessing, but for me… I am a FAMILY PERSON and therefore, the voice in my head started screaming “Jalon, you need travel now... don't wait any longer!” So in January, off I went to Florida to visit my sister. FYI: I have quite a few trips on the horizon this year, but I am going to be a little more organized and prepared in the future.

Yes, organized! I think you know me well enough by now to know that I am a very organized person - detail oriented - … probably too organized, organized to a fault, organized to the point of OCD. I make lists for everything; my children even laugh at me – I stick a blank post- its up randomly just to remind me TO DO something in that direction. Does that make sense to anyone else?


I found a marvelous checklist to help me prepare for any trip. As a special gift to you, I'm sharing this list with you, including bonus tips for international trips.
Preparing for a Trip Check List
Are you a good car traveler? There really are people out there that don’t travel well… whether it's in a car, a plane or a train. I travel well period. I will gladly spend hours riding in a car, enjoying the continual scenic views, listening to my preferred selections on Pandora, catching up on some reading a favorite book, piles of magazines or catalogs, all knowing that there is a wonderful destination ahead! (But if there's a choice, a plane is my go-to choice)

Who wouldn't want to travel in this?

If Driving in your Car:
  • Make sure oil is changed and any car maintenance is done.
  • Make sure up-to-date auto insurance is in wallet and car registration stickers are on your license plate.
  • Confirm address.
  • Get directions or check that it comes up on your GPS device. This is a HUGE must for me… I have NO sense of direction and can easily get lost in a bathroom.
  • Book hotel, and confirm check-in time.
  • Put gas in the car.
  • Grocery shop for snacks and/or bottled beverages.
Packing Strategy:
Determine how much luggage space is available if you are taking large objects and/or have many people in the car.

If Flying:
·        Book flight.
·        Book hotel, and confirm check-in time.
·        Coordinate pick up or transportation after arrival.
·        Confirm flight time.
·        Confirm when you will need to leave for the airport.
·        Get directions or check what comes up on your GPS device both to the departure airport and from your arrival airport to your final destination. Again, thank goodness for Google Maps!
·        Coordinate rides or look into parking options.
·        Grocery shop for snacks. If desired, bring an empty water bottle to fill up once inside the security checkpoint.
·        Check luggage number and size (dimensions and weight) restrictions and fees.
·        Decide whether you will check baggage.
·        Make sure you have a quart-sized Ziploc bag and three-oz. or less size containers that fit in that bag.
·        If desired, check in 24 hours in advance. The airlines have created the next best thing since sliced bread.
Packing Strategy:
Decide whether you will check in luggage.
Follow all airline standards for size and weight and items you can carry on. (An easy way to check the weight is to weigh yourself and then step on your home scale holding your bag.)

Two to Seven Days before the Trip:
·        Decide what you will want to wear and/or bring.
·        Do any last shopping: food, clothes, toiletries, items to bring on trip.
·        Do laundry and/or dry cleaning.

One to Two Days before the Trip:
·        Check the expected weather conditions. Do you have the weather channel app on your phone yet?
·        Pack up all of the items in your bags to make sure that they will fit inside.
·        Put liquids into a quart-size Ziploc bag.
·        Go through your purse and other carry on items to make sure that you don't have any prohibited items (sharp objects like scissors or liquids like lip gloss). I remove all unnecessary items from my purse as well.  Checkbook, frequent shopper cards, house/car/ office keys. Why carry all this extra ‘weighted baggage’ around for the duration of your trip. But be careful, remember Murphy’s Law: As sure as you remove it, you will need it. *Think it through thoroughly.
·        Do online check in 24 hours in advance, and print out boarding pass.

Morning of the Trip:
·        Do final packing of toiletries, food, books, etc.
·        Double check the flight status and that you have your boarding pass and government ID (passport if you are leaving the United States).
·        Give yourself some "buffer time" so if you're running late or hit bad traffic, you're still OK.

Packing List
Clothes: Use the weather report and any schedule events/activities to help guide your packing. This might seem silly, but it honestly helps you get organized and helps you wrap your head around what you are preparing to do.
·        Pants, shorts, dresses and/or skirts
·        Shirts, including one that would be nice for an evening event
·        Sweatshirts or jackets
·        Underclothes, socks, nylons
·        Pajamas
·        Work out clothes
·        Shoes: dress shoes, workout shoes, informal shoes
·        Swim suit and cover up (and if necessary, towel and goggles)
·        Accessories: scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry and watch
·        Plastic bag for dirty clothes

·        Floss, tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, skin care, moisturizer, deodorant, glasses, contacts, contact case, contact solution and perfume
·        Hair brush, curling irons, flat irons, gel, hairspray
·        Makeup
·        Vitamins and/or medicine
If not staying at a hotel or have a particular preference:
·        Soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, shaving cream, face wash, blow-dryer

·        Wallet and government ID
·        Cell phone
·        Camera if not using your phone (including extra battery and if applicable, device to upload photos to the computer)
·        Calendar/planner/notepad
·        Books or other reading material
·        Snacks or necessary foods
·        All chargers for phones, computers, cameras, other electronic devices
·        Print outs of insurance policies and all other travel documents
·        Umbrella, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, sunscreen, etc. (depending on the weather)
·        Computer
·        Pens, paper, stamps
·        Emergency contact numbers and addresses
·        Any school work or other work materials
·        Gifts and thank you cards for anyone who is hosting you
·        Collapsible bag that you can use to bring home extra goodies

I have an international trip on my 2015 agenda! (more on that later in the year)
BONUS: International Travel:
·        Exchange money if the exchange rate is better now and expected to go up
·        Double check passport is up to date & visa
·        Tell credit card company that I will be abroad – believe it or not, they do check and can sometimes freeze your spending
·        Cell phone, calling card rates
·        Access code for the country
·        Give contact info to someone before you leave
·        Check on immunizations, medicine and food precautions
·        Ask about local customs in terms of acceptable/unacceptable dress and activities. These still do exist
·        Ask about converters for electronics-voltage and/or plugs. Most likely these are not needed unless you are staying in a small town or private residence
·        If you feel comfortable in this, buy travel insurance & emergency medical insurance. I don’t do this.
·        Check that your carry-on items are allowed in each airport where you need to take a flight. (Restrictions can be different for different countries.)

I hope this list helps you to have a happy and stress-free trip.

Have you figured out where my international trip destination is yet?