Winter has finally made itself known here on the Gold Coast. It’s Netflix and chill weather (and by "chill", I mean what we once knew 'chill' to mean). I love summer so I find myself daydreaming about an escapation – a vacation to escape a digit-chilling winter to play in the sun somewhere.
As a stylist, I'm often heading off around the countryside for short work trips and I have to be organised so I don’t forget the necessities for my job. Boarding a plane for a lengthier jaunt of relaxation and recreation though, gets me pretty amped. Being one who loves organising things and being organised, prepping for a holiday is my jam!
There’s a bit to be gained by planning for and booking a vacation in advance. Having something to look forward to for four or six months means you get more mileage out of the experience and your travel dollar, that no rise or fall of the exchange rate can affect! A countdown to departure builds great anticipation, especially when kids are involved. Marking the dates off on a calendar gives us something to get excited about and look forward to.
It’s a great talking point for the months ahead; tell someone where you’re going and if they’ve been there they might offer up a wealth of information, suggestions and advice.
You can think about and strategically plan to get the maximum out of your holiday experience – take the time to research the area you’re travelling to and take advantage of online forums and opinions for attractions, things to do and accommodation. You may learn that an attraction you planned to visit is a complete waste of time and money and learn of other things to do that you'd never have otherwise known or thought of.
Planning ahead means you can search for great deals on everything from flights and accommodation to sightseeing and insurances. Many travel providers offer generous discounts for booking in advance or early bird bookings, especially for structured coach tours or cruises.
It allows you to be prepared in every way possible – not only with travel plans and bookings but with necessary vaccinations and medications, technology and communication options, insurances and finances, copying necessary documents and registering details with government authorities if travelling overseas and preparing your home for your absence.
I don’t proclaim to be the world’s most worldly or travelled person but two good stints through Europe and the United Kingdom, a trip to Malaysia to represent Australia in the Miss Tourism World Final (yes, I was a pageant girl!), a few trips to the Pacific Islands and countless ‘away games’ with my styling job, means I am close to having the packing and preparation regime down pat whether it’s for business or pleasure or to fly the country’s flag in my best haute couture with an arsenal of hair and beauty tools in tow.
All things healthy
First up, get the fun police off your back and visit your GP. Have any vaccinations recommended for the areas you are travelling to and while you're there grab your prescriptions and recommendations for medications to take on your journey.
All things wealthy
If travelling overseas, you'll likely need foreign currency. Get a handle on exchange rates and explore options for the best deal on currency exchange. If you will need several different currencies, pick up some snap lock bags and label them so you don't get the various currencies mixed up (I love the Glad 15cm x 9cm for this purpose because they fit notes perfectly).
What will be the best way to access your funds and are you planning to use your credit and debit cards? What charges and fees will apply? Wise up on what to do in the case of loss or theft of cards and money – have contact details of your financial institution on hand when you travel.
Insurance is definitely something worth considering, not only for health and well-being but for loss of luggage, cancellation of flights and accommodation and their flow-on effects financially, through no fault of your own.
All things wise
Do your research on any visa and travel requirements if travelling offshore.
Registering your details with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trading (DFAT) via the www.smarttraveller.gov.au website is also recommended.
Be across local customs and religious codes that may dictate expectations in terms of behaviour and even the type of clothing to be worn in certain places to avoid unwanted attention, difficulties or even time on the inside.
Check if dates of travel coincide with public holidays at your destination to assist with planning. Likewise check if you are travelling in peak tourist season as this may affect your budget and weather is another factor to take into account – travelling at the peak of cyclone or typhoon season is not ideal.
A copy of your travel documents and itinerary, passport, identification, credit cards and bank details should be carried on you and left with a trusted friend or family member at home, in the case of theft or loss while on vacation. Email a scanned copy to yourself or store in the cloud for remote access.
Leaving home behind
Going away will usually require consideration of a few things back at home:
Do you have pets that require looking after?
Will you have someone collect your mail or will you have it redirected?
Do you have the paper or meals delivered and will they need to be suspended temporarily?
Do you have a pool requiring maintenance?
Will anyone water/look after your garden while you’re away?
Will a neighbour put your bin out for collection and return it to your property for you?
Are you going for a long enough time that someone will need to use your car occasionally to keep the battery alive?
What about home security? Is your home as burglar proof as possible? Do you need to put lights on timer to make it appear that someone is home?
Have you notified neighbours of your impending absence so they can keep an eye on things and follow up any suspicious activity if strangers are around your home?
Will you have bills due for payment while you are away?
Will you switch off your hot water system or solar heating while you’re away?
Technology and communication
Cameras, mobile phones and tablet/notebook computers are all items that we might want to take on vacation. If going overseas, don’t overlook the necessary adapters, chargers and camera memory cards. Consider your options for internet and mobile phone communications. Shop around for the best options to avoid the rudest of rude awakenings when you get home by hefty roaming charges on your phone bill.
Continues in AN ORGANISED LIFE: Holidayyy. It would be so nice - Part 2.
Louise Chambers is a Stylist and Organisation & De-clutter Consultant, servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast and surrounding areas. She is available for home organisation, personal styling, wardrobe audits and shopping tours. Contact Louise