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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

How To Make Travel Fun and Stress-Free

Jan 31, 2024 02:58PM ● By Jerome Bilaos

By Sherry Onweller

Travel should be enjoyable, energizing, and exciting! It can take one on new adventures and give wonderful new perspectives. However, for some people, preparing for upcoming journeys can be stressful and overwhelming. As the late winter and spring travel seasons draw nearer, it is helpful to come up with a methodical plan for trip preparation. Trip planning, packing and anticipating the adventures one will have can be part of the fun, and something to embrace and celebrate. Doing some advanced thinking and planning can help make travel stress-free.

Start with a Plan

The first key strategy is to have a plan. Take a step back and consider these critical elements of planning any trip and use this as the formula to start thinking about the items that will be needed. What is the type of travel as far as the purpose; is it for business or for leisure? Look at the extended weather forecast for the areas where the travel will be and think about the temperature, weather conditions and related clothing. Will the weather change drastically throughout the day and night? Think about how long the trip will be as far as the number of days and whether there will be access to a washer and dryer while away. Next think about the types of activities that one will be doing, i.e., business meetings, outdoor sports, social events, etc.

Pack Early

Never wait until the last minute to pack, doing so creates unneeded stress and the possibility of mistakes. A few weeks in advance, on a piece of paper, word document or spreadsheet, list the days and dates of travel, and for each day, mentally step thought the schedule, considering the elements above, and list out what clothing, shoes and outerwear and any special items that will be needed by day. 

Coordinate Thoughtfully

When executing the plan above, think about whether it is possible to have a uniform/capsule wardrobe by sticking with a standardized color theme to minimize shoes, bags and to be able to mix and match. Choose fabrics that don’t wrinkle and can be used for different purposes on different days. Minimize the valuables and jewelry that are to be brought. Be sure to pack bedtime and workout clothes as well. Choose one tote bag or a stylish backpack that can double as a personal item bag to bring on the plane, as well as being used as a daily bag to take along each day. Always wear the bulkiest outfit and shoes on the flight if possible. Aim to bring only one coat or jacket if that is feasible. It may be wise to include an extra pair of comfortable shoes, in case the ones being worn get wet or cause blisters, and to include sunglasses, a laundry bag, a packable raincoat and an umbrella.

Do a Virtual Pack

As it gets closer to the departure date, lay out all the outfits and decide how to organize the actual suitcase. Packing cubes can be very helpful and can be multicolored or uniformly colored (depending on preference) and labeled with a label-maker. Cubes can be packed by individual outfit or by clothing category (as in all t-shirts together). Once the cubes are loaded, try fitting everything into the suitcase to be used.

Don’t Forget the Details

Be sure to also include a toiletries bag with makeup, lotions, shaving supplies, hair products, etc. Be sure to pack and bring essentials such as: chargers, medications, glasses and contact lenses (and a copy of the prescription), passport, driver’s license, keys, cash, credit and debit cards, maps, tickets if needed and the like.

By taking the time in advance to map out and plan for upcoming travel, it will make the trip feel much less stressful and calmer. Save the information put together as far as the packing list above, slip it into a sheet protector and use it as a starting point for each subsequent trip.   

Sherry Onweller, owner of Everyday Organizing Solutions by Sherry LLC, is a professional problem solver, organizer and life strategy coach. She offers a free 30-minute consultation for new clients. For information on her services, email [email protected] , call 908-619-4561 or visit See ad, page 13.