To the disorganized mind, travel can be intimidating. Since there are so many possibilities for disaster, so many personal items to forget and so many mistakes that could be made, a lot of people are deterred from traveling simply because they’re afraid of having an imperfect experience. With proper organization, so many classic travel problems can be avoided!
Always Keep A list
I suggest starting with a spreadsheet organized into five categories: clothing, toiletries, travel, weather accessories and knick knacks. Write down every item a human being could possibly need in the span of time for which you’re traveling, and then make sure that you have all of those items— whether it’s a jacket or a memory card, you don’t want to forget it.
Get it in Print
If you're traveling for a long time, you might not have access to a computer. Therefore, it's crucial that you print everything out in advance. Start with the important things (passport, debit card, bus tickets, hotel receipts and health insurance cards), and put them into a physical folder. Though it’s tempting to digitize all of your tickets and receipts, there’s always the possibility that your phone will die and you’ll be left stranded without any of your important documents.
Pack Tightly and Weigh Everything
Investing in space bags was one of the best things I’ve ever done. They allow you more room in your suitcase and ensure that nothing spills in your luggage. Despite this, it’s important to weigh your luggage before you leave home if you’re flying. Mark down the weights, and if it’s within a pound of the airline’s limit, try to eliminate some items to be safe.
Remember, there's an app for that
If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, travel apps like TripIt, Google Trips and Roadtrippers are great for organizing your itineraries and finding new destinations. Though it’s obvious, Yelp, Time Out and TripAdvisor are absolute lifesavers, and will save you from sitting in pizza parlors that look like basements or staying in hotels that smell like sulfur mines! The travel app market is saturated, so it’s almost guaranteed that you can find a resource for whatever you need. Help is out there! Some of my other recommendations include the Noonlight app, which will keep you safe in sketchy situations, and the Swarm app from Foursquare, which lets you check in places and remember everywhere you’ve been. Happy organizing!