Staying organized while traveling can prove to be quite a chore if you aren’t prepared ahead of time. You’ll have to keep track of plane/train/bus tickets, accommodation bookings, tours and activities you plan to do, your passport and possibly visas, different currencies, toiletry items, and everything else you’ve packed. We’ve gathered a list of the things that have helped keep us sane while we travel long-term in hopes that you can travel [almost] stress-free too!
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The first line of defense for keeping all your travel plans in one place is of course your mobile phone! So before you go, download a couple apps to keep everything secure and conveniently right at your finger tips. These are the apps that have made all the difference with our trip organization.
This app is an absolute must-have of travelers of all types! Not only can you input information regarding your upcoming trips such as flights, hotels, and activities with alerts, but you can also make a password protected profile that stores all your travel document information (passport number, expiration date, etc) and travel contacts. This proves to be extremely helpful when you have to continually fill out forms with all your passport information or rattle it off to your accommodation before you check in. You can do this easily without having to pull out the physical passport itself. And if you buy the PRO version, you get even more features like flight status alerts, check-in reminders, seat tracker, point tracker, and flight refund monitoring!
While TripIt is really great to store all of the trip information you’ve already booked, Google Trips is really helpful at suggesting things to do and places to eat or drink in addition to saving reservation information. You can search your desired city for popular activities in the area and add them to your ‘Saved Places,’ so when you get there, you already know some of the things you are interested in doing. Of course all of this is linked to Google, and therefore by a single click you can find a description, rating, operating hours and much more information about pretty much anything worth doing in your new location.
This app has two major functions for us. Firstly, you can download an offline map of the country you are going to before you get there. If you’re caught in a place without any phone service or WIFI, it’s good to have the offline map easily accessible. In maps.me, you can search cities, addresses, bus stations, grocery stores, etc to find exactly what you need and it will give you directions based on what mode of transport you will be using to get there, and we’ve found it to be very accurate. And secondly, you can leave bookmarks in certain areas on the map. This is particularly helpful when parking a car somewhere or finding a place you want to eat or shop at later in the day. The bookmarks let you save the location and then get directions back to that place later!
This seemingly simple item has made our life while traveling about 10x easier. It holds our passports, extra visa photos, copies of IDs, yellow fever vaccine certificate, cash, credit cards, a pen, and keys. It’s basically our one stop shop for everything we need while at the airport or border crossings. We like to stress the importance of keeping your passport safe, easily accessible to you, and in a place you will always remember. You definitely would not want to lose your passport while overseas! And you will learn that having a pen with you turns out to be a huge help! You might suddenly become the most popular person on the plane if you’re the only person with a pen while filling out the declaration forms before entering a country. Here are the travel wallets that have worked so well for us while we’ve been on our Round the World trip ⇒
If you’ve never heard of packing cubes, they are fabric bags that zip closed and are used to compartmentalize your luggage. They come in all different shapes and sizes and therefore are great to pack your belongings in groupings that make sense to you. Some people keep whole outfits together in their packing cubes, others pack by keeping similar clothing items together, others pack haphazardly, but regardless of how they are packed, they keep the clothes all together and more compact than if you would have just put them all together in your big bag. I personally like to pack my packing cubes by keeping similar items together (all my shirts and sweaters in one, pants and shorts in another, socks and undergarments in another). This system keeps me organized because it makes it easier to pack and easier to find the thing I am looking for. These are the exact packing cubes I have in my backpack right now. And this set of 4 packing cubes also comes with an extra drawstring bag that can be used to separate the dirty clothes out from the clean ones within the packing cubes!
Lastly, I can’t recommend a separate bag for toiletries enough. This makes it easy to grab it and head to the shower or toilet without having to look for all your toiletries spread out in various areas of your bag. The toiletry bag pictured below is the one I have taken on my trip and I love it because it has two compartments that clip in and clip out of the whole bag itself. I use one section of my toiletry bag for soaps/shampoos/conditioners, one section for my hairbrush and comb, and one section for makeup. So if I’m going to shower in a shared hostel bathroom, I just take the soap/shampoo/conditioner section with me. But if I’m going to the bathroom to get ready for the day by brushing my hair and applying a little makeup, I take those sections with me. And the whole bag is able to hang from a hook, keeping it accessible but out of the way.
Still need help staying organized while traveling? Let us know your questions in the comments!
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