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Travel Planning 101

- Pauline

As I plan for my trip to Los Angeles, California next week, I thought I would share some tips and ideas that have proven useful to me in the past and now. Why? Because a lifetime of travel means not always travelling with family, and it is best to be prepared.

Travel light, whenever you can: I admit I have had problems with this tip. I get so indecisive when deciding which clothes and shoes to bring with me, and sometimes I pack too much and don’t have room for the items I buy when I am on vacation. If you know you are going to bring back many souvenirs and other things back home, then pack light. Think about what you will be doing when you arrive at your destination: will you be in the water a great deal? Will you be going out to dinner? Do you need to bring medications with you? Are you planning to buy gifts to bring home to family and/or friends? I find that making a list of what to bring ahead of time helps me while packing luggage, as well as following my airline’s weight requirements for each bag.

Review and share your travel itinerary ahead of time: This seems simple enough, but I have found that as families prepare for trips, they sometimes forget to review their itineraries ahead of time and can often mess up their plans as a result. I have two family members who decided to travel to India for the Christmas holiday three years ago, and the one who booked the airline tickets for both neglected to share this information with anyone else, even his travelling companion. Because of this, he did not look at the itinerary until he reached the airport, only to discover that their plane left an hour earlier! They managed to get a flight out a day later, and for more money. Since he was so busy in the days leading to the departure, he should have emailed or told other family members his departure and arrival information. Sometimes more than one set of eyes and ears will keep travelers aware of the timing and other airline information, as well as those close to you so they will be aware of where you will be, just in case of emergencies. We are all human, so we are prone to forgetfulness and  mistakes, so the more others know, the better.

Buy the right gear: If you know you are going to be camping outside or on a cruise ship, it is always good to bring what you need with you. There are exceptions to this of course; for example, if I ever go scuba diving, I would not like to carry the equipment with me if I know I can get or rent these at my destination. Of course when it comes to what to bring on planes, trains, buses and automobiles on your travel journey, it is always good to make sure you have what you need ahead of time, since buying last minute items in airports tend to be much more expensive. Travel tags for suitcases, suitcases themselves, and smaller containers for liquids and gels to add to carry-on luggage are just some of the items you will need. For modern and clever travel accessories, my favorite place to shop is Flight 001, because they have unique and efficient items that make traveling easier and stylish. I really like their Spacepaks, which are great bags that compress clothing, shoes, and more to increase suitcase space. I hope to buy one of those and some other items in their New York City (Manhattan) store this week, such as a set of paper soaps that are much more convenient to use and carry into planes and take outdoors than liquid soap, and one of their colorful Charge & Go USB chargers that can charge multiple devices, and is easily portable on a key chain.  You can buy their products online or visit any of their stores in the U.S., Australia, and Singapore. Other really good travel stores are Magellan’s and  Le TRAVEL STORE, which also have convenient online shopping stores and  locations in Southern California.

In short, good travel planning is all about thinking and doing things ahead of time, whenever possible. Each time I travel, I try to make sure to accomplish these tasks and put together a list of places to go when I get the chance to do it. I hope my upcoming trip and all the trips afterwards will sharpen my travel planning skills, so I can concentrate more on having fun when I arrive at my destinations. Happy traveling!




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