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How to Travel Like a Professional Organizer

Updated: May 28

The holiday season is a busy time of travel for many of us. Visiting friends and family can be fulfilling and rejuvenating but can also be soured by unpreparedness and disorganization. So, how do we stay one step ahead of the messes and stresses of travel? It all boils down to two things: being prepared and staying organized.

Wanna know our techniques? Say no more.


  • Write everything down. Every time we make a reservation, talk to a receptionist, or book a flight, we write the important details down in one place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a notebook or a phone as long as it’s centralized— now we know where to look for important travel information throughout the trip!

  • Make a budget. We decide on a spending limit for each of the following categories: food and supplies, overnight accommodations, transportation, activities, and extra fun. This helps us be more cognizant of our spending, and it spares us from the shock and anxiety of racking up a surprisingly high bill.

  • Do our research. We compare airlines, hotels, and car rentals beforehand to get the best prices available. And we look up fun things to do before we get there to build anticipation and open up more opportunities for fun and relaxation!

  • Make an itinerary. Scheduling activities for the trip can be a very useful tool for maximizing pleasure and reducing stress. (It doesn’t have to be super rigid, though— an itinerary based on time ranges, rather than specific times, is much more accessible and allows for spontaneity.)


  • Make lists. We make a list for what we need to pack (toiletries, undergarments, pajamas, etc.) and a separate list for what we want to pack. As we pack those items, we check them off our lists— no more wondering if we packed our hairbrush or not!

  • Use special folding techniques. We can maximize baggage space by folding our clothing in different ways. For example, I like to file-fold my t-shirts when I’m living out of a suitcase because it prevents wrinkles and allows me to see what I have without pulling everything out.

  • Compartmentalize our luggage. We use bags, packing cubes, and compartments to separate items into categories. For example, I keep toiletries and makeup in leak-proof plastic bags, and I use packing cubes to separate my luggage into categories, like day-wear and night-wear.

  • Twist-tie our zippers. Take a twist-tie (or a zip-tie if you want to be extra cautious) and loop it through the zippers on your bags so they’re held shut. This way, your belongings won’t spill out of any pockets that were accidentally nudged open.


  • Protect important cargo. We like to keep our valuables like money, passports, and keys close to our bodies in secure locations. I personally use a tiny cross-body bag because it’s hard to snatch, drop, or leave behind.

  • Keep papers organized. If we need to print out any documents, like receipts or reservation numbers, we keep them in a labeled folder. There is no peace of mind like being asked for your confirmation code and whipping it out in three seconds.

  • Unpack. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but personally, I hate living out of a suitcase. I use any dresser I have at my disposal to store my clothes, but I keep important stuff I can’t misplace, like my laptop, in my suitcase.

  • Keep laundry separate. We hate the idea of tainting our clean clothes, so we use a plastic bag to contain dirty garments as we travel. When we stay somewhere for the night, we take that bag out of our luggage to keep it aired out.

Knowing where everything goes and how long things will take will immediately reduce the stresses of travel and ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible. I hope this list helps boost your confidence and capability as you travel.

Bon voyage!


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