How to Prepare for Your Trip When You Have No Time
How to Prepare for Your Trip When You Have No Time, Sometimes I run short on time before I head out on a trip. The demands of work, friends, and family can eat up the necessary planning time. As a travel veteran I know if I don’t plan and prepare the chances of having a great trip are reduced. If it’s a vacation, I start to worry about ruining it with a bad start. I’ll forget to pack something I need. This means I’ll have to buy it on the road or go without. Leaving home unprepared adds stress and wastes my time and money. We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun. I discovered many years ago a little trick on how to prepare for any trip with very little time. I still use it off and on today.
I called it “Snippets” travel prep. You prepare a little each day for about a week. You lay your stuff out in “Snippets” of time –a few seconds here and there each day – and by the time you leave you’re ready! It goes like this
:• Pick a place in the house to use. It can be a closet shelf or floor, bedroom corner, under a table or dining room table. Just pick a convenient spot about 5′ x 5′. Call it your “Spot.”
- Each day as you’re running around the house pick up something for packing and place it in your spot. It could be five pairs of underwear you just pulled from the dryer. Instead of putting them away in a drawer place it in your spot. This is a “Snippet.” of time you just spent preparing for your trip
.• The next day you could drop three t-shirts on the pile on the spot. Later that night as you change clothes from work take your sandals and put them on the spot. There are two more snippets of time you just spent preparing to travel. Over the course of a week, you can get most of what you need onto your spot pile. It feels better mentally since you do not have to schedule large blocks of time to prepare. If you scan the pile several times a day as you walk by it, your mind will subconsciously note what you need to add. This means it will also take inventory of what is missing. It’s amazing what you will remember to add to the spot. And, you can do it when you walk by next time. Take inventory of your pile a day before you pack it. Add missing items and place it all into your bag. The result? In seconds or “Snippets” each day you will prepare adequately for your trip. For extended or long periods of travel or trips to areas of weather extremes, you may need to “Snippet” over a two week period. But, this will still work if you get jammed for time. The “Snippet” prep method even works if you are the “Preparation Police” for a family summer vacation. Everything is the same, just more of it with a few minor adjustments.
- Pick a place in the house no one goes in but you. It can be a closet, closet shelf, office floor under your desk, bedroom corner, a table or behind a chair. It just needs to be anywhere no one walks
.• Expand your area of grabbing. You may have to do a two or three stop load for your pile by going from bedroom to bedroom. It could be five pairs of underwear for son #1 out of a drawer. It could be five pairs of socks for daughter #2 from a dryer. It could be three t-shirts for yourself or a pair of sandals for the procrastinating spouse. It does not matter what it is but grabs something every time you run by a bedroom for any reason.
- Divide into several piles. Each person traveling has a pile within your spot. Divide your spot up into several piles based upon how many people are traveling: 3 people, three piles; 4 people, four piles, etc. When you grab something for someone place it in their pile and go on your way. Next time around, do the same thing for someone else. Over a few days, each person will have a nice accumulated pile of items for the trip.
- Take inventory. Every three days when you have a few minutes take a mental inventory of the piles. Then add missing items on successive days. The result? In seconds a day for about a week, you can have everyone nicely prepared for the trip. From here there are two ways you can handle the actual packing since you are the “Preparation Police.”Method 1This is the “I got it ready you wear it” Method. Everyone, no matter how unhappy they are with what with what they have in their bag, has to use it. Whatever it is they wear it because you had to pack for them. Yes, you can imagine the results. The benefit of this is that you rarely will have to prepare for anyone again unless they are very young children!
Method 1: Let everyone “edit” their pile. Twenty four hours before departure each family member outside of young children gets a chance to edit their pile. Then, they pack their luggage bag. They either do it, or they don’t. If they don’t, this Method quickly becomes
Method 2: Either way, you are off the hook. Finally, depending on how much you want to be the “Preparation Police” you can pack a few “essentials” in your bag for those items everyone seems to leave behind: sunscreen, toothpaste, swimsuit, underwear, sunglasses. In the end, your family will spend less time trying to find forgotten items at your destination. And if you have traveled before, you know that this can add up to a lot of saved time and money on the road. There is nothing better than good travel planning and preparation to guarantee a great trip every time. But, for those few trips that catch you short of time, use “Snippets” It is an excellent a stopgap measure.