My travel preparation list for the panicky traveller

My travel preparation list for the panicky traveller

If you’re anything like me, you’re the sort of traveller that gets in a flap over making sure everything is absolutely, positively, completely ready to go. There’s none of this “I’ll do it tomorrow” business when it comes to my travel preparation list, and I can’t sleep if I know there’s something to be done in the morning. I have to have everything written out, put into piles, checked and double-checked and then triple-checked, otherwise I freak out and panic that I’ve missed something off the list and OH MY GOD THE HOLIDAY IS RUINED.


I’ve even made a list to write this post about making lists. How’s that for being ridiculously organised? Here’s my travel preparation list for freaks like me.

1. Lather, rinse, repeat

To make sure we don’t miss our flights, I have to write every detail in a notebook. Then to ensure we don’t screw up our passport details, I write all that information in a notebook too. Ok, so I do a lot of re-writing – maybe it’s a memory thing, but it means if I need any information I can get it in just a few page turns. So when people are wracking their brains for the hotel address to put on their immigration cards on the plane, I’m writing it out easily from my notebook.

Then when we need to get a cab on the other side, we have the full address and phone number of the hotel written out in case there’s a problem. Everything is in my notebook – passport numbers, boarding passes, addresses, flight numbers and times, and airport tips I’ve read on other blogs. I’m a bit extra, aren’t I…

2. Money makes the world go round

A lot of things in the travel world are struggling to survive in this digital age, but there’s one thing still standing strong – travel money. I still take money with me, because it makes me value the budget more. I’m shit at maths, so seeing money in front of me helps me to understand what my limit is. It’s a bit like learning how to add up at school and having to use HB pencils as visual guide. Oh, that’s just me then? Oookay.

Getting currency isn’t as hard as it used to be either. These days you can order it online and have it delivered to you the next day. So if you’re anything like my brother and are travelling to Croatia just before a UK Bank Holiday and forget to order your Kuna, one quick visit online to order and you’ll still get it delivered on time. Magic.

SEE MORE: How to get your shit together before you travel

3. Making the most of suitcase space

One of my most frequent travel mistakes is to pack my favourite individual items of clothing, which always results in a “WHAT THE HELL DID I BRING WITH ME?” freak-out when I’m at the hotel. I packed my strapless dress, but didn’t think to bring a strapless bra? I remembered to pack the white pencil skirt, but all the knickers in my case are bright red.


Nowadays I pack outfits instead of clothes. This is made much easier by putting the outfits on and taking photos, like making your own Tumblr look book but with less pleather and song lyric titles. Instead of packing a single floaty dress and having to use a boob tube as an emergency underskirt (I actually had to do this. And no, I don’t want to talk about it), sorting out entire outfits results in better use of suitcase space and makes sure you use every item you take. I can’t be the only one who’s dragged 20kg of t-shirts and no shorts halfway across the world – can I?

4. Stuff yer tampons

Ladies, we’ve all been there, traipsing the cobbled streets of a foreign land trying to find a successful translation of ‘tampon’ on the internet. Sometimes our periods decide to surprise us – it happens. It’s hugely frustrating trying to track down tampons and sanitary pads when they’re not always sold in the same places in every country. It also ends up being damn expensive and wasteful.

So, the mooncup is a perfect substitute to the not-always-economical tampon empire. I’ll let you read this excellent SFW review on Mooncups to learn more about it, but I will say that it’s eco-friendly, small enough to fit in your hand luggage (and your vagina, incidentally), and much more reliable when globetrotting.

5. The ‘night before’ list

More lists. Now do you see what I spend most of my time doing? This list is one I make the night before an early flight and leave by my bed. It usually looks like this:

travel preparation list

It’s all the stuff I use in the morning and then could potentially leave behind and cause a mental breakdown mid-air when I realise I’ll have to charge my phone at stupid times because I’ve forgotten the cables.

I think you’ve figured out by now that I like to be organised. Ahem.

Do you have any weird rituals or lists that you absolutely have to stick to in case you forget something? Please tell me I’m not the only loser on the planet…

please note: some header images are from


  1. Polly
    3rd June 2013 / 12:10 pm

    I am definitely a panicky traveller! I spend the day before rushing around with a headache worrying about last minute things. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy because I carry a “travel folder” with all the travel details, passport, insurance etc even if it’s just me travelling. And I definitely spend the whole journey to the airport thinking that I’ve forgotten something vital (I never have!). So thanks for the tips!