Monday, June 29, 2009

We’re going on a trip. We’re going on a trip.



And the winner of the Rubbermaid Produce Saver Prize Giveaway is…  Snaphappee (aka Elli).  Congratulations, Elli!!  Thanks for following all three steps in order to enter and win. 

This week we’re talking about organized travel.

I was at The Container Store this past week.  (Yes, it is THE Mecca for all OCD types… this fact has not escaped me.  I felt right at home there.  I’m not ashamed.)  And was impressed that they have an entire section devoted to organized travel!  I especially like the Eagle Creek line for vacation and summer camp packing (although I am not a fan of purple).  If anyone knows organized, it is The Container Store!

And why was I over 300 miles from home at my nearest Container Store?  Family vacation, of course!  Rates are low for travel this year.  The hotel industry is feeling the crunch of this (dare I say?) recession, which is good news for the traveler.  By now I know you have decided the basics for this summer.  Whether you are staycationing or vacationing, you know the: who, what, where, when and how of traveling. Who is going? (Is the pet going to be included?) What do you want to do? What local attractions have the best deals and pack in the most fun?  Are you going to take several small excursions, one large one, several large ones, or just have fun in your own backyard?  Where do you wish to travel? What dates work for everyone involved? How do you plan to get there (plane, train, automobile, cruise ship, bicycle)?

Let’s discuss packing… Yes there will be a list involved. We know I love my lists. And there are some great ones from List Mama at ListPlanIt  While packing for a trip for my family, it helps me to lay things out in outfits. I try to keep things mix and match and neutral. I do not lose sight of our destination plans. We do not need formal wear to visit a theme park, for example. We do need swim wear no matter what. Ah the joys of vacationing in the South! I also keep in mind that with a little one (or a messy counterpart!) we will need some extra “just in case” outfits. I have also come to realize that in all of the fun in the sun (and water and –dare I say?- sweat) that one outfit a day is not sufficient for any of us. And lastly, I realize that we are not likely to wear any one garment more than once. This does not make for light packing, but it does make for a prepared family. Onward!

I am familiar with the places we stay. When I am unfamiliar I call ahead to find out about amenities. Is there a hair dryer and a coffee pot available in the room? How about a fridge/freezer and a microwave? Does the cabin have its own linens or do we need to pack? (Yep I’ve been on the “What do you mean we were supposed to bring our own sheets and towels?” vacation. It was not pretty.) Does “crib availability” mean that they have actual portable-cribs available? Or will they be bringing up an ancient-death-trap pack and play? These are all pertinent things to find out BEFORE packing.  Also note that there are varying definitions of the word “suite” when booking a hotel.  Some may mean separate sleeping and living quarters.  Some may mean one large room with a a pull out sofa bed.  In some cases we have actually gotten a FULL kitchen.  “Breakfast Included” can also be a misleading term.  Is it a breakfast of Little Debbie’s or a hot breakfast bar fit for a king, complete with eggs and waffles?  These are all good things to know!  (please note:  I am not knocking the nutritional or yummification of a breakfast of Oatmeal Cream Pies.  I am just saying it is good to know ahead of time.)

Call the attractions and make sure they are open when you are planning to be there. It would be a shame to plan to go to a certain museum on Monday only to find out that they are only open Wednesday through Saturday. Finding their website is an ok alternative, BUT if it is not current or does not list special events then the phone call may be worth it. This will help you build a specific itinerary.  We actually just ventured through the largest aquarium ever in Atlanta recently.  When you purchase your tickets ahead of time online, you are required to choose the TIME that you wish to visit.  We weren’t rushed through by staff or given a time limit on our visit, but we did have to be there for our particular time slot.   

Now it’s your turn.  Share with me seasoned travelers.  What are your tidbits of fun for organized travel?




If you are in the Jacksonville/St. Johns area and would like your home better organized, and would like the assistance of a professional organizer, e-mail  You can also find me on Facebook by clicking HERE or searching for Organize With Julie.  Want to follow me on twitter? Find me @juliebavi. 



snaphappee said...

Wow! (again!) Thank you!

You really do have this travel thing so well thought out. I love my lists too, but I never thought about calling to ask about things like cribs and coffee pots (I didn't think about coffee pots? how did that happen?)

Thanks for these really great planning ideas. If we were planning a trip I would certainly put them to use. We are just planning a few camping weekends this summer, and my camping preparation is pretty streamlined now ( ).

You're awesome!!

Your Organizing Guru said...

Hey Snaphappee Camper,
Thanks for sharing your blog. I love the photos! Every hotel we stayed in this week had miniature coffee pots, which my son carried around singing his own version of "I'm a little teapot!" (I only made coffee the first night. It was soooo HOT.)
What do you think of Jennifer's lists at