Planning a trip for 2019? There are a couple of things you can do well in advance of going away that will set you up for a stellar journey before you go.
By Hannah-Rose Yee
My mum likes to tell this story about a trip she made to Paris when she was 26.
It was a pretty formative holiday for her. Upon her return to Australia, she would take a job at a new hospital where she would meet my dad and all of the wonderful rest is my family’s history. She didn’t know that on the holiday of course but still she must have felt something, because she made that trip into the holiday of a lifetime.
Paris was the endpoint of a journey that sprawled across Europe – London, Venice, Vienna and more – and she was meeting up with a friend of hers from home while there. They planned on rendez-vous-ing, this being France, at the Gare du Nord. The plans had been made via telephone, as this was the ‘80s, and my mum dutifully waited for her friend to arrive. An hour went past and then another until finally my mum decided that she would be much better served heading back to the hotel to see if her friend had left a message about their whereabouts. Which she had, something about a missed train connection and a rail replacement bus but not to worry, she’ll be there soon, lots of love. They eventually had that long-awaited rendez-vous and ate more croissants than any woman should reasonably eat and generally had a decadent, delicious time.
I remember my mum telling this story a lot when I was a teenager and begging my parents to buy me a mobile phone. “I never had a mobile phone when I was your age,” my mum would say, before launching into this story. What she wanted me to take from it was an appreciation for the thoughtfulness and consideration that was making a plan and sticking to it when you didn’t have to ability to change or cancel it on a whim. What I took from it was this: people travelled so differently before the advent of the internet.
Now, courtesy of the device that most of us keep in our pockets at all time, we have the ability to cancel plans, update our rendez-vous-ing schedules and more broadly, make our holidays better. Don’t get me wrong, my mum loved that holiday. But, you know, in January when the two of us went to Paris together I didn’t keep her waiting for two hours at a train station because she didn’t know where I was. Just saying.
Prep and plan
Whether your an experienced globe trotter or off on your first adventure this is the travel hack that will set you up for a memorable holiday. The new An Organised Life Travel Journal has you covered with Checklists, Budget, Travel Info, Contacts and ofcourse pages to jot down all your travel memories to look back on for years to come, hopefully full of lots of rendez-vous-ing just like mums.
Prepping and planning a trip can be a huge task - especially if you live a fast-paced lifestyle. It's important to pay attention to the little details before you go and keep everything organised in one place. Make a note of all the finer tasks + details and we guarantee once you set off on your holiday - it will be smooth sailing and enjoyable for all. For example when you are moving from place to place you need to make sure the smaller things line up, you can add ALL this info into your Travel Journal. Have you pre-booked a taxi or transfer to get you to the airport and from the next airport to your accomodation? Have you allowed enough time to get through customs in a foreign country? Have you checked the baggage allowance is the same on all your flights? Have you noted down what time check-in closes incase it differs to other airlines? Do you know what Terminal your flight is taking off from and arriving at? Although these all seem like tiny details - sometimes they can cause major stress when travelling. Take the time to go through all your plans with a fine tooth comb and write everything down in your planner. Plan as much as you possibly can before you leave and enjoy making memories once you take off knowing everything is organised and under control.
Take a peak inside the new Travel Journal here.
This is the bit where I get all excitable about something that everyone does but… Google Maps! Are genius! When it comes to keeping track of all your recommendations in one easy to access place, Google Maps has got to be it. Whenever you are told about some tiny trattoria serving the best cacio e pepe, or your best-dressed friend tells you about the vintage store you have to visit, type its name into your Google Maps and save it with a star.
For some Varsity-level skill, start a brand new map and label it. All your saved items will appear under this new bespoke map rather than the generic Google Maps interface and, in a stroke of genius, you’ll be able to export that map and share it with the people who inevitably slide into your Instagram DMs after a holiday demanding to know where they should go on their next trip.
Anyway, you’re all probably using Google Maps already. This must have been what it felt like when Percy Shelley told his wife Mary that she really ought to try working on a horror story, after she’d already finished writing Frankenstein.
I will always mourn the day Instagram took away our ability to search someone’s tagged locations on a map. I understand the principle of the thing, of course, for security reasons Instagram couldn’t in good conscience keep it up. But the tagged maps were one of my best places to find recommendations. I’d go to someone’s page whose taste I admired, click on their map and see all the cafes and boutiques and markets and restaurants and bars they had tagged. Save, save, save.
Now, I run several boards simultaneously, each of them labelled with the destinations of my next holiday so that if anything crosses my feed from that destination I can save them quickly and revisit them closer to my trip. I used to take screenshots until I lost control of my camera roll. This is much easier, though still not as good Instagram’s sadly deceased tagged maps.
Money, money, money
Here I come with another thuddingly obvious hack. But for a long time organising my finances before I went away was something that I never paid attention to, and it’s something that has probably cost me more money than I’d care to think about in the long run.
You need to get a travel money card, especially one that won’t cost you conversion fees. Using your bank card from home is fine in a pinch, but if you continually tap away with it you’ll be losing dollars and dollars (and dollars and dollars and dollars) on fees that you could otherwise be spending on Aperol spritzes with handsome Italian strangers who look like Kit Harington and ride Vespas.
Do your research and find a travel money card that works for you. Your bank might even offer one, and you can link it up to your existing card and app. Load it up with money before you go, so that you know how much you have to spend. Don’t be prescriptive about the budget; it’s more important to have leeway than to be the person saying no to dessert but do have an idea of what you have to work with.
Tip: The new An Organised Life Travel Journal has a budget section.
Bon voyage, everyone!