Scrolling through endless photos on social media of relaxed, laughing people on the beach can make you think carefree holidays happen by magic. Travelling can certainly be magical when it all goes according to plan, but the key word is ‘plan’.

Whether you’re off for a short city break or a leisurely jaunt around the tropics for a few weeks, carefully laid plans give you the mental freedom to enjoy new sights and sounds.

Travel Planning and Lists

Not everyone likes lists, but they can be liberating when they’re done properly. Make them as long or short as you like, just make sure you tick off each item as it’s completed, and never be afraid to add more tasks or remove some. Good lists are flexible, organic memory joggers. Here are a few categories to consider:

  • Packing lists — where are you going and what will you wear? What will the climate be like? Will you be pounding the pavements for hours exploring a city, or hiking through mountains? Use your travel itinerary as a packing guide.
  • Journey lists — what are your travel times and connection or transfer arrangements. Where will you leave the car if you’re driving to the airport? Are you hiring a car or will you use public transport at your destination? Make lists for all the things you need to arrange, along with information discovered during your research, such as costs involved or special deals you come across.
  • Home lists — if you’ve ever had that nagging feeling that you might have left the iron plugged in or the window open, make a list of things to check during a final walkthrough before you lock the door behind you.

More Space — Fewer Bags

Whether the cost of hold luggage puts you off large suitcases or you just like minimising what you carry, learning the art of packing light has many advantages:

  • Start packing early and give yourself a good couple of weeks to organise things. Take into account where you’re going and what you’ll need when you’re there. When you start slipping something into your luggage ‘just in case’ ask yourself how likely you’ll need it, and if you could buy it at your destination should the need arise.
  • Take as many dual purpose garments as possible. Examples include large floaty scarves for beach holidays, as they’re multifunction items with many different uses. Instead of extra outfits, take extra small accessories you can use to ring the changes or dress up casual clothes.
  • Stow cables and chargers in a zip lock bag so they’re easy to find and don’t get tangled. Carry a few extra small plastic bags with you to store tickets, keys on the beach or other small items that are easily lost.

Home Storage and Security

Knowing your home is secure can be a weight off your mind, so think about storage for precious possessions and home security well in advance.

  • Let the neighbours know your travel dates. If a couple of people in your street know you’re gone, they can keep a quiet eye on your home. They’ll know if anyone on or in the property shouldn’t be there.
  • Consider removing your most valuable possessions, just in case the worst happens. Some things are priceless, and these should either be lodged with a friend or family or put safely in self storage for the duration. Heirloom furnishings, antique jewellery, precious collections, or anything you value above everything else deserves special care. You can get lockers in self storage units, so it’s worth investigating for your peace of mind, especially if you’re going on an extended trip.
  • Check on your home insurance to make sure you’re covered while the house stands empty. Policies vary in this respect, and finding you’re not covered is another reason to consider self storage.

Having ticked items off lists and made sure everything is secure on the home front, all that’s left is to enjoy your travels. And don’t worry that lists for things to do and itineraries will be restrictive. Planning leaves plenty of room for spontaneous side trips as you’ll know exactly where the detour will take you along with how (and when) to get back on track for transfers or connections.

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