before you travel | this city life
How to,  Travel

How to get your shit together before you travel

I love being organised. I’ve watched too many of those Departures programmes where people have turned up late to flights or without their passports to not make sure everything’s in order. We also learnt from one very stressful sprint through Heathrow airport on the way to Glasgow that ‘final call’ actually means ‘gate now open’. A potential heart attack in the middle of the check-in queue? Ain’t nobody got time for that. So here are my top tips on getting your shit together before you travel.

Write a checklist – seriously

Checklists really are handy, especially when you need to pack items you’ll be using before you leave the house – stuff like straighteners, makeup, toothbrush/toothpaste. If we’ve got an early flight I write down a list of everything left I need to pack and tick those off in the morning. That way I’m not scrabbling around in the airport Boots trying to find the stuff I’ve left at home. If you’re a bit panicky like me, you can read more tips in my travel preparation list.

Post-its are your best friend

The more you can do the night before, the better. But there are always extra bits you need to pick up in the morning. So I stick post-it notes on the bathroom mirror and front door to remind me to pack things. It’s a foolproof plan! Sometimes I use them for remembering to take my lunch to work too.

Take a week to pack

I know this sounds ridiculous and incredibly counter-productive, but it really works. You know when food is slow cooked and it tastes so much better? Packing is quite similar! If you do little bits at a time over a week, you’ll find you’re more considered over what you take with you. It’s not so much of a rush and you’ll end up changing your mind on which shoes or dresses you’re going to take – making the final pack so much easier.

before you travel | this city life

Turn off Friends

I never thought I’d suggest this to anyone, ever, but Friends really is bad for getting your shit together before you travel. I stick the box set on whenever I need to do something a bit boring, but then end up giving up on the dull task and sitting down to watch ‘just one more’ episode. Friends isn’t going to be your mate when you’re chucking everything into a backpack while the taxi beeps outside.

Pack twice

You can take this in two ways. 1) pack once, take everything out and then pack half the stuff back in. Or 2) pack your hand luggage and then chuck everything else into your checked bag. Too often I’ve packed my suitcase first, only to then throw all sorts of last minute items into my handbag. Life’s too short to lug a tonne of weight around the airport.

Got any tips on getting your shit together? Share them in the comments!

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Charley is a professional copywriter and tea-lover currently living in Leeds. She writes about city living and city travel (with a few cats thrown in).