Travel Systems


In one of those fun “both/and” paradoxes, I love to go on vacation but hate to travel. Of course I don’t let my dislike of travel hold me back from going and, as I prepare for my next trip, I thought I’d note a few of my favorite travel hacks.

As with most systems, getting the right tools is key. Check out the movie Up in the Air to see how George Clooney’s character moves right through airport security: To Know Me Is To Fly With Me.  Creating a system for travel can move you through the lines, the stress, and prevent trouble with airport security.

In the days and weeks before leaving you can use systems from your Playbook:

Having the right identification and ensuring your passport is valid
Bringing the right credit card and reservation numbers
Holding your mail, stopping the newspaper or pausing services (like house cleaners or babysitters)
Getting to all of those last minute bills, appointments and errands
Packing your suitcase – see this slideshow for tips

Keeping these lists and systems for reference from trip to trip which will save you time and money and ensure you never get to your destination and find yourself missing an essential item.

A complete travel system will also cover:

Having the right size suitcase for a carry on
Keeping liquids and restricted items out of your luggage
Wearing the right clothes and shoes to move quickly through security
Time needed to get through airport security and to pick up luggage, rental cars or get through customs

Of course all of this varies based on where you’re going, for how long, and your life and business; but creating systems for vacation can take some of the stress out.

When I headed to Scotland and England for a 2 week trip in 2010, I had all of the travel confirmations and maps in one thin binder arranged by date. On any given day I could pull the confirmation for the master suite in a 16th century castle, directions to the Lochs and museums, and even notes for the places we stopped and places we loved.

Knowing that everything is taken care of at home and in the days ahead enables true relaxation.

With all that worry time now unnecessary, once you actually get on the plane or train, it’s all about passing the time. Here my favorite tool is the iPad so I can read books, listen to music, play a lot of games, and write and edit articles. All without getting out of my seat to reach into the overhead compartment. Add in the boot up time for the iPad is 2 seconds, and I can work or play from take off to touch down. Takes up a lot less room than my laptop too.

So when I prepare my travel Playbook and checklists, I take into account each of these systems for packing, for reservations, and for leaving home behind.

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