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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Travel > An Organized Vacation
An Organized Vacation
By Sasha Lauren, Organize Your Life System

Anthony was 63 years old when we worked together. During the process of helping him organize his paperwork, we came across piles of articles that he had saved – for decades - on world travel. The sheer volume of information he accumulated allowed me to realize that travel was clearly a passion for this man.

When I inquired as to what his favorite destination had been throughout the years, he responded, “Oh, no, I haven’t gone to any of those places yet…”

“Anthony,” I said, “I’m not helping you organize your things just so you can have perfect looking files! The reason we’re doing this is so you can get rid of the things that are holding you back, and allow the things of importance to rise to the surface so that you can actually do them!”

Knowing he had the budget for recreational travel, I asked Anthony to give some thought as to the top three places he wanted to visit. The following week, Anthony eagerly greeted me with his list. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was first.

I helped Anthony choose the dates he wanted to go, and then assisted him in making the reservations. As the date approached, I helped him pack by working from a list, and supported him hands-on in the actual packing process. All of these things had previously felt overwhelming to him, but with some gentle guidance, he was able to move forward.

Anthony went on his trip and had a wonderful time! Because he was traveling solo, we found a resort with other singles so that he would have people to meet. Upon his return, he excitedly shared the photos of his trip with me. I felt so happy to see images of him beaming while out on a boat surrounded by dolphins.

Before I knew it, Anthony planned a second trip – all by himself – and this time he was able to pack using the process I had taught him, with the list as his guide.

Anthony is not the exception; I work with so many people who make plans for ‘someday’, but never find a way to actualize their dreams. If you wait until you are 63 and still haven’t taken the leap, when exactly do you think you will embody the vision you hold for your life?

Now is the time. This is it. Your life is waiting for you. With some planning and preparation, you will be able to accomplish what you want in life. Below is a basic step-by-step plan to follow when arranging for a trip:
Decide upon your travel destination – where do you most want to go? Not sure? Get out a world map! Talk to friends, read about a culture that interests you. Your vacation is a time to live your dreams and explore new ways of living. Have fun. Take a risk!
  • Plan your financial budget. How much will you spend on airfare and accommodations; what kind of budget does that leave you for daily expenses such as dining out, sightseeing, local transportation, shopping?
  • Determine when you want to/can travel. The more notice you have, the better your chances will be of getting good rates on flights and hotels. Also, traveling off-season will generally cost less. You will also avoid touristy crowds, but may have to deal with less than perfect weather. These are tradeoffs only you can decide on.
  • Research flights and hotels and/or travel packages. With all of the competition of online travel providers these days, finding a good deal just takes a bit of comparison shopping. Purchase your tickets. You may want to include Travel Insurance in your purchase in case your plans are interrupted for any unforeseen reason.
  • Give notice to your job, or arrange in advance to take a leave from your business. This may take some planning. Let clients know ahead of time who will be able to help them while you are away. Give babysitters, pet-sitters, and other service providers ample notice. Contact a house-sitter if you want someone at your house while you’re gone.
  • If you’re traveling abroad, pick up the foreign currency you need the week before you leave. Don’t leave this to the last minute in case the institution you go to doesn’t have the tender you want on hand. You may get a better exchange rate at your own bank than at a Currency Exchange.
  • Change your outgoing voice message as well as your outgoing e-mail signature to reflect the fact that you will not be able to return calls while you’re away. Allow yourself some time away from the phone. This is to be a vacation after all, isn’t it?
  • Bring water to the airport or pack it in the car. Also, bring along whatever food you might want during your flight/ride.
  • Confirm your flight the night before.
  • Consult with the packing list below. Make sure you have the suitcases and other items you need. If not, plan to purchase what you need in advance so that you won’t be rushing around at the last minute.
  • Gather the items you can a day or two before you leave. Set aside ample time the day or night before you leave to finish packing. Packing leisurely instead of all at once will set the mood for a relaxing vacation.
Basic Packing List (similar items are grouped together on each line)
Please customize for your own use. Check as you pack each item:
  • Passport/Visa if applicable
  • Tickets, Itinerary, Contact Numbers
  • Cash or Foreign Currency/Travelers Checks/Credit Cards
  • Vitamins/Medications/Birth Control/Eyeglasses
  • Guidebook/Phrasebook/Maps
  • Camera/Spare Cards/Batteries
  • Money Belt/Travel Pillow/Eye Mask
  • Cellphone/Phone Card
  • Reading Material/Music/Computer/iPad
  • Travel Alarm Clock/Watch
  • Sunglasses/Sunscreen/Bathing Suit/Raingear/Gloves/Outerwear
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Hand Cream/Soap/Deodorant
  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush/Floss/Dentures/Retainer
  • Makeup/Shaving Cream & Razor
  • Bras/Underwear/Sleepwear
  • Accessories: Belt/Handbag/Jewelry
  • Shoes/Sneakers/Sandals/Socks
  • Pants/Jeans/Shorts/Skirts
  • Tops/Tees/Sweaters/Dresses or Suits
Have a great time!

Thanks for Sasha Lauren,an Organized A to Z.com partner, for contributing this article. Sasha is known as ‘America’s Trusted Organizing Expert’ and the creator of the ‘Organize Your Life’ Success System. You can visit her Web sites, http://www.organizeyourlifesystem.com and http://www.RemarkableTransformations.com.
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