11 Effortless Tips for Staying Organized (and Sane!) During Holiday Travel

Staying organized during the holiday season is a challenge.

You know what else is a challenge during the holiday season? Staying sane. But both…at the same time?! When traveling?!?

Is this a joke?

Your fabulously spooky Halloween bash is over, so no more tricks. Holiday travel can be a bit stressful, but preparing for it with a few minor tweaks to your travel planning itinerary will ensure it’s the most wonderful trip of the year.

Because girl, you deserve some wonderful times this year!

Here to show you those tweaks is MakeSpace, the full-service answer to self-storage units in NYC, DC, Chicago, and LA.

Give their 11 simple tips a try to help you and your family stay organized during the the crazy that is holiday travel season!

Holiday Travel Tips


Psst. Because these tips are so awesome, I couldn’t help inserting my own thoughts from time to time. Anything you see in parentheses is a little note from me – Asha. Enjoy my randomness!

1. Stay informed

Mapped your route or booked your flights and figured you were all set?

Oh, you sweet, innocent soul.

No matter how good you’ve been this year, sudden snow storms, highway construction, or oversold flights are always on the naughty list, and they’re determined to wreak havoc on your travel plans.

Stay in Santa’s good graces while being prepared for anything and stay updated on travel conditions. Set up alerts to notify you of any changes to travel arrangements. Check the forecast on the days leading up to your trip to see if there is any inclement weather that could postpone your departure. (And then double check right before you leave because weather likes to change on a dime!) Consider a second travel option should anything get in the way of your initial plans. It’s easier to execute Plan B when you’re aware that Plan A could fall through.


2. Create a travel budget in advance

Enjoying unique experiences and special indulgences is the best part of holiday travel. Just make sure these treat yo self moments don’t encompass the entire trip. (I know, I know! The homemade fudge your mom makes is too good to step away from. So keep eating that fudge but keep an eye on your wallet, ok?)

You can avoid getting caught up in the moment and spending too much by establishing a budget from the start. After you’ve made travel accommodations, decide how much you’d like to spend on meals, entertainment, and any extras. You’ll be able to enjoy your vacation that much more knowing a monstrous credit card bill won’t be awaiting you when you return.  

Related post // How to Have Affordable Fun


3. Manage expectations

Whether it’s visiting multiple family members in one trip, seeing every single holiday sight a city has to offer, or eating at an impossible-to-get-a-reservation restaurant, it’s fun to be ambitious when traveling. However, it’s important to be realistic.

Add all of the activities you want to your itinerary, but manage expectations accordingly when it comes to the likelihood that you’ll tick each one off the list.

You would much rather spend a fun-filled afternoon at your favorite aunt’s house than rushing out 30 minutes after you arrived to make it to your brother-in-law’s. Why make plans for a special event if you can’t even give it the time it deserves?  

Optimize the potential for fun on your trip and be lenient enough to give up something on the list if need be.  

(And let’s be real…your favorite aunt is probs waaaay more fun to hang out with.)


4. Have a folder of travel documents

Having hard copies of your travel documents seems so two thousand and late … until you can’t board a train without the printed ticket, or your phone — with all of the details saved in an email — runs out of battery. (Been there…it ain’t fun, friends!)

Organize your paper documents in a folder that can be easily accessed in your bag. For some next-level systemization, arrange the documents in the order you’ll need them. That way, tickets for your next event or directions to your next destination will always be at the top.

Holiday travel tip: organize your travel docs in a folder in the order you'll need to use them! Click To Tweet


5. Bring entertainment

Whether you’re traveling alone or with children, everyone is susceptible to getting a little antsy. A new book or a few toys from the dollar aisle should keep kids occupied, but don’t forget yourself. When long waits or delays arise, you’ll be happy you picked up a magazine, crossword puzzle, or deck of cards to keep yourself entertained.

(Podcasts are also a great way to entertain yourself while learning something new! My current fave: The Goal Digger Podcast!)

Related post // What I Learned from Taking a Solo Vacation


6. Use packing cubes

Packing cubes are basically one step away from someone packing your bags for you. They allow you to compartmentalize your clothes so putting together outfits is a snap. With a cube for shirts, one for pants and shorts, one for sweaters, and one for socks, it’s impossible to lose your favorite tee to the depths of your suitcase.

(My type – A heart is SWOONING!)


7. Keep correct cash

Don’t rely entirely on your credit card for international travel.

Carrying various denominations of a country’s currency is helpful in emergencies or at cash-only places. Either convert your currency at your bank before the trip, or find a currency exchange at the airport or train station once you arrive.  

Also, notify your bank when you’ll be traveling abroad to avoid any holds on or deactivations of your account. And follow these smart tips to avoid pickpockets while traveling.

Related post // Road Trip Tips and Essentials


8. Unpack immediately

The point of a holiday vacation is to have fun and relax. It’s hard to relax when you’re living out of a suitcase.

Unpack as soon as you arrive at your destination, even if it’s a short trip. Organizing your clothes in dresser drawers, hanging dresses and coats, and arranging your toiletries in the bathroom will make getting ready for each day effortless.

Beginning each morning with ease sets the tone for an enjoyable daytime adventure.


9. Put everything in plastic bags

Plastic zip-top bags are must-haves when it comes to travel for three reasons. They can:

  1. Hold shampoo and body wash to avoid messes
  2. Group small gifts together so they don’t get lost in the gift-giving shuffle
  3. Keep dirty laundry separated at the end of the trip.

Pack a few extra bags in your suitcase before traveling. You’re guaranteed to find a use for them.

(Fun fact: this is a tip my mom used to give us allll the time as kids. Have I ever listened to it? No…sorry mom. But I’ll def have to start listening now!)

Holiday travel tip: Plastic bags aren't just useful for packing your travel size toiletries... Click To Tweet


10. Protect your home

The last thing you want to think about while having fun is what’s happening at home. Taking a few security measures prior to your trip will help keep your mind at ease and your holidays happy.

Leave plenty of lights on inside the house, along with a radio or TV for noise. Hide all valuables, such as jewelry and family heirlooms, so they’re secure and out of sight.

If you can’t bring your pet with you, ask a friend to look after them, or put them in boarding. Be sure all appliances are turned off, and set any alarms.

(Pro tip: don’t forget that you set your alarms when you get back home. Because you’ll scare yourself. And of course I don’t know this from personal experience, I’m just looking out for you! Ok? Ok.)


11. Reconsider souvenirs

Gift-giving season is already going to bring more stuff into your home. Extra, unnecessary souvenirs only add to the pile.

If you want to commemorate your holiday vacation, find a small ornament that’s special to the location, or purchase a postcard. You can also start a travel journal that describes each day of the trip to remind you of what you saw and allow you to look back on any funny stories. Just in case Instagram isn’t your thing.

Let the holidays dazzle, not frazzle, you! Check out these holiday travel tips from @MakeSpace! Click To Tweet

The holiday season should dazzle you, not frazzle you! Just a few simple tweaks to typical travel prep will make your trip as relaxing as a walk through a winter wonderland — even if you’re celebrating the season in the tropics!

Special thanks to MakeSpace for sharing these tips! Hope ya liked them, and definitely check them out if you’re looking for a full-service self storage option!

Until next time,

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  • Stephanie

    I love the idea of making a travel budget beforehand. In the past, I sometimes don’t set a budget & then I’m spending the trip stressing out about how much money I’m spending or I check my bank account after the trip & my jaw hits the floor haha. These are such great tips 🙂


    • A travel budget has definitely kept me in check! My boyfriend and I were pretty set on going to Italy this year, but when we sat down and planned out the total cost and factored in some other big life changes (jobs + moving), we found out it wasn’t worth all the financial stress. Definitely wouldn’t have seen that unless we had planned though!!