Type-A Traveler? How to Make Every Trip Perfect

View out of an airplane window, showing an airplane wing and a sunrise over mountains

Traveling requires a lot of work, but a few hacks can make any trip a little bit smoother.

When you think of traveling, you probably think about the destination. Whether it’s a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed work trip, it’s always easier to visualize the place past the packing and planning, but that’s often the most important part of the entire experience. Even if it’s not the most enjoyable. 

For people who are generally pretty organized, traveling can present a challenge because it’s not just about packing neatly – it’s also about being prepared and planning for the unexpected when you’re not in your normal element. For even the most Type-A person, planning a perfect trip can be a big challenge.

Rest assured, it can be done. 

Whether you consider yourself orderly and efficient or are working toward being more systematic and structured, these tips can make all of your traveling a little bit easier to manage and you’ll be able to enjoy the best parts of your trip with less stress.

Plan like a pro

Once you’ve made it out of the vision board stage of dreaming up a vacation, it’s time to start booking accommodations and thinking about all of the details that will make or break your trip. Things like: packing lists, transportation to the airport, flight times, the location of the hotel, and getting around your destination upon arrival. 

The more you can plan for ahead of time, the better. Lists will become your best friend. Start with your overall checklist, which typically includes: 

  • Packing 
  • Flights
  • Hotel
  • Transportation 
  • Meals
  • Activities 

From there, you can start creating more specific lists based on the specifications of your trip, like length and where you’re traveling to. For some trips you’ll need to more carefully think about your wardrobe and others you need to make accommodations for travel during the trip. 

Having a master list that you only check off when you’ve completed a secondary list will help keep you on track and ensure you’re not forgetting any of the small details, which can be easy to dismiss when you’re juggling a lot of plates. 

Save receipts in one place

We’ve all been stuck behind the person who is frantically looking for a confirmation email or receipt when reservations have gone awry. To avoid this happening to you, make a specific email folder for all of those documents so they’re at the ready whenever you need them.

Include things like itineraries, reservations, receipts, and contacts. Because a lot of aspects of a trip can be planned out far in advance, it’s easy for those emails to get buried and lost. This method keeps things organized as you go. Just remember to move the email into the correct folder when you receive it.  

While many applications have a feature, don’t rely on an inbox to sort and separate travel emails for you. This can be messy and it might not grab all of the correspondence you need to keep track of. 

Master the essentials 

There are some things you just won’t get very far without: a phone charger, ID or passport, debit or credit card, and tickets. These should be front of mind on any trip, but they’re also easy to forget because they seem like a no-brainer. 

Gather the essentials early-on while packing and put them in an accessible place. Not only will you be able to get them when you need them, but it’ll also be easy to double-check that you have them before you take off. A personal item or bag that stays with you all throughout your travels should have the things you can’t live without. Make sure any electronics are fully charged and all documents are up to date before it’s too late. 

Pack by destination 

Condensing your wardrobe for vacation isn’t always easy, especially if your trip includes several stops. This is when it’s important to think about your schedule and employ packing cubes. You can use these travel hacks separately, of course, but for best results, use them together. 

If you’re flying, think of your carry-on bag as necessities. If your additional luggage is lost, you’ll want at least one outfit and something to sleep in. You can also pack things that you’d like to have easy access to in your carry-on. A light jacket, a snack, medications, and a water bottle are good things to pack here. 

In your checked luggage, pull out packing cubes to separate by day, stop, or type of event – depending on what works best for you. Separating your outfits help for a couple of reasons.

First, it’ll make living out of a suitcase much more manageable. You won’t have to dig through every corner of your luggage to find all the necessary parts of your outfit. Second, it makes packing easier. You can build your wardrobe by day or stop instead of thinking holistically – which is a recipe for forgetting things. 

Plan ahead where you can 

Part of being organized is knowing what you can arrange ahead of time instead of doing it on the fly. It saves you the time, energy, and stress required to figure out a solution in the moment. Some things you can arrange ahead of time include: 

  • A ride to and from the airport. Schedule a taxi or ride-share in advance so you’re not late to your flight or any major events you’re attending. 
  • Public transit passes. If you can, buy a bus or train pass ahead of your trip, so you can hop on public transit when you need to get around. You may be able to buy a week pass or pre-load a card that’s cheaper than buying per ride. 
  • Tickets. Museums and events can sell out ahead of time, so book as early as you can. 

Hopefully some of your best memories are made traveling. While it’s not always stress-free, you’ll know that you did as much as you could to prevent nerve-racking situations. 

Written by Kara Mason
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