1. First step: Plan and organize early.
To have an enjoyable trip, start gathering what you may need by making a list. Plane tickets will cost more the closer you get to your departure date, so reserve them at least 2 months prior to leaving. Apply for a passport at least 4 months in advance, or you’ll have to pay extra for express delivery. Reserve your car rental and hotel room well in advance to ensure your reservations are accepted. Ask other people for tips, surf the internet, check the local chamber of commerce in the area you’re going to. Preplanning will reduce the stress if unexpected glitches happen.

2. Call in advance.
Phone the hotel at least 1 week ahead of time to find out what amenities are available like having hair dryer in each room, laundry facilities or an exercise room. Exercising can help bring the stress level down so you can reenergize yourself.

3. Packing--use the 50% rule.
So you don’t take more than you need, lay out all the clothes you think you’ll want to take. Try to pick out outfits that you can mix and match, so you can wear each outfit at least twice. Most people take more than they need, and I’m one of them.

4. Use a packing list.
Lists are invaluable when you start making one as soon as you plan on going somewhere. Organize your items according to categories: clothing, toiletries, financial, reading materials, etc. Make a master list on the computer if you can, so you can reprint for each trip you take. Check off each item as you’re packing your suitcase. Use that same list to double check everything you packed to make sure you don’t leave anything at the hotel. Putting your list on colored paper will help spot that list quickly when you need to reference it.

5. Take an empty suitcase—save time What? An empty suitcase?
Sure. If you’re one of those people who love to shop, an empty suitcase comes in handy. It’s the perfect place for those gifts to take back home. No hassle to have it shipped back home and the suitcase arrives at the same time you do—save money, save time. Use tape or ribbons to make your suitcase look different from the others. This can greatly reduce the likelihood of someone picking it up by accident

6. Make up a schedule ahead of time.
Make yourself a schedule BEFORE you get to your destination. Write it down in a steno notebook or just use your day planner. Be flexible with your schedule if you choose to do other activities. Remember, you’re traveling to enjoy yourself. So if you find something more exciting to do, go for it.

7. Carry on.
Sometimes the luggage gets lost or doesn’t arrive when you do. So carry on a small carry-on bag will ensure you have the necessities with a change of clothing, underwear, medications, cosmetics, your cell phone, and a good book or paperwork you can catch up on.

8. Bag it.
Keep your dirty items separate from your clean clothes and pack an empty plastic bag.

9. Safety comes first.
Let people know where you are. Make 3 copies of your itinerary: one to post in your home by the phone, one for yourself, and one for a family member who’s not traveling with you. Make sure that someone has a key to your house in case something happens.

10. Time to catch-up.
Laptops can make it easy to bring some work along when you’re traveling—no major projects please. You can even write a letter or catch up on some reading. You may want to bring such items as a backup battery, a modem saver/line tester,a modem phone cable, a power adapter, and a security lock

11. There’s no place like home.
Clean your house and do your laundry before leaving on vacation. When you arrive back home after returning from your trip, your home will be a welcome sight.

Author's Bio: 

Evelyn Gray is CPO-CD® (Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization), a Productivity Expert, Certified Action Coach & Seminar Leader, consultant, trainer, speaker, and author. She uses these powerful set of skills to improve your focus, clarity and productivity level. Learn how to set goals and priorities so you can stay focused on the right things. Her expertise is in working with professionals who have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and individuals who have been disorganized most of their life. She trains and educates people, teaching them easy and simple strategies of not only getting organized but “staying organized.”

Evelyn’s simple “Stop, Drop & Roll” method teaches you how to have a “neat mess” so you can find your paperwork in 30 seconds or less. She “turns your piles into files,” so the only thing you have to lose is your clutter. Evelyn works with the person you already are, so you won't end up with a system you can't keep up with where everything is stored and retrieved at your fingertips.

Evelyn has a 26-page eBook on “How to Stop the Junk Mail,” and another eBook called Let’s Get Organized! Easy, Simple Strategies for Getting (and Staying) Organized for ADD, ADHD, and the Chronically Disorganized.” She’s currently working on another eBook called “The Ultimate Time Management Guide.”

So remember, “If you can’t find it in 30 seconds, it’s in the wrong place.”