“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
I love traveling, but a lot goes into preparing for a trip. It doesn’t matter where you are going, most travel requires careful planning and packing – and that alone can be exhausting. In the past few years, I have traveled to 11 countries and have uncovered several strategies to help me prepare for a trip. If you believe preparation is everything, try these 5 tips for happier travels.
5 Tips for Happier Travels
1. Set your intentions
Before you start to plan your trip, think about your ideal outcome. What kind of trip are you taking? What do you hope to accomplish? And what do you have time to do? If you are traveling for work, you might hope for a successful business meeting. If you are going on an annual honeymoon, your aim might be relaxation and romance. Your intentions will be different if you’re taking a girls trip, going to a high school reunion, or gathering with family.
Setting your intentions helps establish realistic expectations and lays the foundation for the rest of your planning.
2. Create your itinerary
I like to create a detailed itinerary in Google Docs, which is easy to update and access from my phone. I can also share it with my fellow travelers and family back home.
During my initial planning, I add travel and hotel confirmations, along with business meetings, where I want to sightsee, restaurants to check out, etc. My itinerary starts out as a place to collect ideas that align with my intentions. As the trip gets closer, I create a day-by-day outline that includes weather information, restaurant reservations, and other details for each day.
Creating your itinerary helps to keep your trip planning organized, with all your important information in one spot.
3. Save your packing list
Once your itinerary is complete, you are almost ready to pack!
Take a few minutes to think about the luggage you plan to use. My husband and I like to pack light, so we each have one of these Travelpro suitcases that we typically pack as carry on. I also bring a purse, while my husband will bring his Herschel Supply Co. backpack for casual trips or this Everki Studio Slim backpack for business trips.
After you decide on luggage, it’s time to write out your packing list. Use Google Docs or Evernote to build outfits that go along with the day-to-day outline you created. I write out what I plan to wear each day, which helps me figure out ways to re-wear the same pieces in different combinations. Your packing list might also include your toiletries, electronics, and other essentials.
Saving your packing list helps streamline the “getting ready” process when you’re traveling. It also makes packing for future trips much easier – I’m leaving for Europe next month and plan to use this packing list as inspiration! For more packing tips, check out this post.
4. Gather your essentials
Make a list of daily essentials that will help you travel in alignment with your trip intentions. Your essentials could be important items to bring along or actions like writing in a journal or working out.
I download a few fiction books to my Kindle, plus whatever else I’m reading. Check out our Happy Living approved books here. My essentials also include headphones, laptop, iPad, vitamins, water bottle, mini steamer (never iron again!), and travel yoga mat. If you want to stay fit while traveling, this post from Zen Habits has great advice.
Gathering your essentials together will help round out your packing list and help to keep your intentions in mind as you complete the planning process.
5. Embrace the cliché
Set yourself up for success by thoughtfully planning your trip, but expect the unexpected. There are often hiccups, unforeseen circumstances, and complete surprises when you are traveling. Keep an open mind and remember it’s hard to know if something’s good luck or bad luck.
Food can be a major unknown whether you’re visiting family or traveling to the other side of the world. Consider each meal a chance to take your taste buds on an adventure.
Embrace the clichés because a lot of them have some grain of truth. When you are traveling, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the journey.
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