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Monday, March 8, 2010

Exit Strategy

I'd like to say I'm a pretty organized person. Many people may think I was born that way. I wasn't really...but overtime I have developed orgaizational skills that are neccessary to preserve my sanity.

Two things that drive me nutso are:
1. Running around like mad the night before I go somewhere looking for my bathing suit/beach bag/air line approved baggy.
2. Getting to a place and realizing I forgot my favorite bathing suit/beach bag/airline approved baggy. I've lost too many tubes of fancy lip gloss to the merciless clutches of airline security. 

So, to avoid these unfortunate events I have my exit strategy down to a science. I'm not perfect, I don't do it EVERY time I travel, and sure...there are some times when life takes over and my suitcase is a mess, but mostly I make an effort to:

1. Start thinking about what I'll need waaaaay in advance...the amount of time I give myself relates to the length of the trip. If I am going away for a weekend, I usually get into trip mode the week before. If I am going away for a week, I start thinking about my trip about a month before. Doing this helps me save time by picking up little things while I am out...sunscreen, baggies, travel sized goods. This way there is no scrambling at the last minute. Ew, scrambling.
Picture {found} here

2. Make a list. At the beginning of that preperation time I make a list. What clothes I am bring (I list outfits and items), toileties, rain/cold weather gear, sports stuff, and misc. like my camera, hair dryer, address book for sending post cards etc. 

3. Hunt and Gather. As time gets closer to the trip, I gather things I need. My printed email confirmation for flights or rentals, passport, travel magazines or guides, books I want to read while away etc. I collect these things and put them all in one spot.

4. Get out my suitcase a week before and start building my wardrobe. I gather the clothes I am bringing, wash and fold things that need to be laundered, fold and stack by outfit. Yes, by outfit. Packing by outfit helps me know what I will have to wear each day I am away and what I can re-wear. It also makes finding things easy once you get there. My suitcase serves as a dumping ground for all things trip related....positioned conveniently by the foot of the bed I make regular drop offs when walking by. 

 picture {found} here 

5. Two nights before departure, I fold and organized everything in my bag. This way if I am missing anything I have time to grab it. The only things that aren't in there yet are things that I need to use right up until departure like make up, shoes, hair dryer and brush etc. 

6. The night before departure I take care of last minute items, print itinerary updates, collect things for my cary on (magazines, books, a pashmina or wrap, socks, i pod etc). I try to keep cream or paste lotion and make up in my cary on so they don't raise trouble with the airport authorities.
picture {found} here

7. Finally, I try to maintain a normal lifestyle, before taking off. This means refraining from constantly googling cool restaurants and day trips, making last minute trips to the mall for that little number from J.Crews "Resort" line that I clearly don't need, and blogging constantly about my vacation because that is ALL that fills my mind until the minute I get there!!

I know it seems like a lot of effort, but it really isn't. And it saves me much grief in the end. 

Do you have an exit strategy...or you one of those lucky people that fare better without one??? 


  1. I'm all for stacking my clothes by outfit! It helps to make sure that I don't forget anything and to let me know if there is anything else I need to buy before I leave. Hope you have a great time in PR! :)

  2. I love it! Great list. I am exactly the same way:)
    But my big problem is that I never put things in their place when i'm finished using them. I always just throw things whereever and hope to find it later.
    Then I get into a big rush trying to find something!!! Very frustrating!


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