The trip would be different. Organized travel would be a priority! We vowed we would not lose, misplace or forget a single item in our possession, or each other for that matter. We would check and double check at the beginning and end of each travel day and use super glue if needed to keep our neatly packed items from adopting wandering ways.
Although we have traveled a great deal, each excursion seems to include a story of panic or at the least regret, when one of our articles goes missing. Through kindness of strangers, pure luck or painstaking detective work, the naughty item usually is found following an adventurous foray of some description or another.
The fact that we almost always travel with carry on only luggage makes this pattern more of a mystery. Surely those small numbers of packed articles should form some kind of cooperative and keep a close watch on each other. Instead they seem to have developed a spontaneous extreme adventure team where each demands a turn at ‘How-to-give-travelers-a-panic-attack-while-on-the-road’ game.
One week into our travels, Dave and I were busy congratulating ourselves on how well behaved our little band of possessions had been behaving. Not a single electronic cord had been left plugged into a new found friend hotel outlet. The passports were both prim and proper not daring to meander astray from safe locations.
Then it happened. I lost my shoe. Now of any of the items that fit into a standard carry on travel bag, shoes are the gluttons of space hogging. Miserably inflexible to the rest of their roommates, shoes are easily accounted for when going through visual packing checklists when moving from one location to the next.
What is an adventurous shoe to do to get in on the action? Make a break for it at the beach.
On a glorious day at a deserted bay on the Great Ocean Road, I clipped my sandals to my bag, worn over my shoulder permanently for it’s naughty excursion on a previous trip that almost caused me to have a cardiac arrest. You can read about my painful learning here.
With shoes attached to the well secured purse, we wandered for an hour or so snapping photos and lapping up the peace of Australia.
When the four traveling companions returned to the rental vehicle I happily placed a sandy foot in my sandal after removing it from it’s safest of locations attached to my purse.
I reached back for the the shoe’s mate. No longer obediently secured to my travel purse I patted the empty location with desperate hand movements for good measure to ensure the footwear hadn’t developed a cloak of invisibility.
No matter how much slapping and waving like a seagull gone mad at my hips and backside it was clear, the shoe was lost. The hopes of winning in the most organized travel category now shattered. I mean really. Who misplaces their shoe on a road trip?
I asked my companions who had not yet seen my slapping routine if they should like to play a little game. Dave knew immediately I was about to say I lost something or other. I do so dislike when he is right about that.
Back down the beach we went and eventually in the crowd of seagulls I had been busy photographing like the paparazzi in Hollywood, lay the mischievous shoe. After giving that well traveled sandal a serious reprimand it was placed on my foot and for the rest of the trip given a very short leash.
Tips for Organized Travel
From our own experience and lessons learned the hard way, the following are some of our top tips for staying organized on the road. We have never permanently lost anything other than a sock or an electronic adapter. However one can not always count on such good luck.
The less you take with you the less you have to keep track of. We travel with carry on only.
Every Item in It’s Place
When moving to new accommodations frequently, repack items in the same place in your back pack or suitcase. At a glance you can see if all items have returned from their rascally romping about when out of your eyesight.
Keep Items Separated
Whether you use packing cubes or our trick of plastic bags you can see through, keep socks, cords and underwear each in their allotted space. Travel documents should be kept in a plastic folder or pouch.
Keep your purse over your shoulder
Do not, let me repeat it if you didn’t get that, DO NOT take your purse off and leave it laying on a seat, floor or bench. Not only more likely to be stolen, more likely to be forgotten. Trust me on this.
Checklist for electronics
We now have more cameras, phones, tablets and laptops then clothes when we travel. Dave developed a packing checklist for all of them. They were very well behaved lot under his careful eye and list.
Pick up the towels and shake the sheets
When ready to leave your hotel room and think you have everything take a moment to look for hiding items. Pick the towel off the bathroom vanity, pull up the sheets on the bed for a double check.
Are you plugged in?
Adapters and cords love to make new friends with that hidden outlet you had to pull the hotel bed out to find. Double check them all.
Lastly if you clip your shoes to a belt or purse for safe keeping, be sure not to clip them near a velcro closure. Apparently escape is a high possibility.
What are your best tips for staying organized while traveling?