Preparing for the Big Trip / by Krista Boivie

I love to travel and for the past few years I have taken big adventures during my summer break from teaching. Before each of my big trips, I have know months in advance when I was leaving, what I would be doing and what I would need to successfully take the trip.

I normally spend at least 50 hours reading about the countries I am visiting, surfing the Internet and generally fantasizing about what will happen on the trip. Ironically, even with all my planning I am always frantic when it actually comes time to pack, put my house in order and generally do all the tiny little things necessary when taking a long trip. 

I leave for a trip to China on Sunday, and my routine this year is no different than my other summer travels. I have put off getting some of the essential tasks completed until the last possible moment. 

In my post about the disease of procrastination I talked about the problems associated with procrastination.  In regards to my travel I know my problems lies with one fact--I underestimate the time it will take to get everything done--especially packing.

I have often thought about having my suitcases prepacked--with the same items I take on all trips (toiletries, undergarments, etc.), but I have not taken the time to actually put it all together.  I have a trip planned for Peru in November and so I am going to finally put into action my plan.  Upon my return from China I will prepack my bags so that I don't keep going through the vicious cycle--and the stress associated with it.

What are your strategies for successful vacations? Do you pack in advance, make a checklist? I would love to hear any of your suggestions.