Things to Organize After You Travel
What a weekend! We were on a couple’s getaway and we had a fantastic weekend. Great food, pretty sights and a lot of laughing. It was time to get back into the swing of things, unfortunately, there are things that are not so funny when you get back home: crawly critters and exploding shampoo bottles. These are things one wants to avoid as a traveler but it does happen. There are definitely things to organize after you travel!
I’m meticulous about what I organize after I travel. I’ve decided to update my list as I’ve added a few new tasks but I usually start with the following: unpack in the laundry room, replenish supplies for the next trip and check the VISA bill… always, check the credit card bill.
If you are traveling outside the country, it is always wise to reconcile your credit card and change passwords to accounts you may have accessed overseas. Identity theft is a thing all over the world so be sure to secure your passport and credit/debit cards with RDIF secured purses or knapsacks when you travel. To added to tasks of things to organize after travel is to take inventory of your travel bag (purse, knapsack or wallet) clean it out. Lastly, you’ll need to get back to normal so getting back to routine, routine, routine, is essential.
Getting back into a routine can be difficult when you have to deal with jet lag but you may want to use the lack of sleep for good and get things done. If you wake up earlier than usual take some time to check on your email, sort your regular mail and then go grocery shopping. That’s what I found myself doing at 7:30 am one morning after a trip to Ireland. Getting back to normal as quickly as possible is so important to being productive. Here is my comprehensive list of what I like to do to get organize after travel.
Unpack and do Laundry
Unpacked all the bags downstairs in the laundry room. Because of my fear of bed bugs, I NEVER EVER permit a suitcase or travel bag upstairs into our bedrooms. They must all be unpacked downstairs and everything (both clean or dirty) are washed immediately – preferably in hot water. Laundry is done immediately. Nothing is put in the laundry hampers. It is cleaned and folded and ready to be put away by the end of the day.
Deal with the Luggage
All luggage is aired outside (in cold months in the garage). It is double-checked to ensure no critters are brought into the house. As I said, I am very cautious about bringing anything into my house from a hotel stay. Before putting your luggage away check for damage in transit, broken zippers or dirt. Did it get scuffed anywhere and does it need a quick clean with a Magic Eraser? Vacuum it thoroughly before putting it in storage. You can nest the luggage one inside the other to save space. This makes it easier to store and keeps the luggage dust free.
Your Purse & Wallet
Empty out your purse and wallet. When you travel, you always seem to have ticket stubs, receipts and business cards that you picked up along the way. It’s time to do a bit of reconciliation and figure out what receipts you need for tax purposes (it was a business trip after all). Keep all receipts in case there is a double charge or your receipt amount is different than what was submitted to the credit card company.
I replace all relevant credit or membership cards which I took out before my trip (think library card, rewards cards or store gift cards). When I replace those, I will add my local currency and remove the Euros (bills and coins) I no longer need.
Lastly, get rid of the brochures you picked up, re-arrange your make-up, replace the pen you lost in Barcelona and replenish the hand sanitizer that saved your bacon in New York. Change your purse if you don’t use your travel bag on an everyday basis.
Check receipts & Credit Card
Once you have reviewed your receipts. Check on-line to see what has gone through, what is yet to be posted and verify there are no ‘extra’ charges. I have even cancel my credit card and got a new one issued. Just to be safe. I know this seems a bit paranoid but we were in a lot of different shops, restaurants, attractions and airports. I don’t do this for every trip but I think disputing charges in Europe may be a bit more challenging.
Restock & Repack your Toiletry Bag
One of the most simple tasks to complete on your list of things to do after travel is to sort through your toiletry bag and have it ready for your next trip. Didn’t use up all the shampoo in the container? Put it by the shower and finish it up or restock it with more shampoo and put it back in your bag. Replenish any Q-tips, Band-Aids, contact solution or tissues you may have used. Keeping your toiletries bag ready means you can just grab and go on you next adventure.
Check mail & email
Pick-up your mail. If you had a neighbour pick it up or if you have a community mailbox, go through it and then throw out the junk mail, set aside any bills and urgent correspondence and file anything else which needs to be kept. The best thing to do to keep organized is to go paperless but if you have home mail delivery, make sure to open all your mail right away.
Next, quickly scan your email. Sort into folders if you need to but don’t tackle big problems as soon as you get home. Give yourself some time to get to the important things in your home: food, family and laundry (see #1 ). We tend to come home on a Saturday so we have Sunday to sort out our lives and for my husband to go to the office on Sunday to get caught up. This lets him hit the road running on Monday morning. It also gives us time to get back to a regular sleep schedule.
Change ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS. I cannot stress this enough! It may seem drastic but after one particular trip, I was receiving messages on my computer, phone and tablet that someone was trying to access my passwords… so ding, ding, ding… time to change passwords to social media accounts, email, on-line banking to keep them secure.
There is nothing worse than losing the perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower or the sunset on Santa Monica Pier. Be sure and back up your photos from your phone, tablet and computer to the cloud. I use two different backup systems: automatic back up to Google Photos and Dropbox. I like Google Photos because you can access it anywhere and all images are chronological and have a date and location stamp.
If I have forgotten where that monastery is in Spain, all I have to do is look at the image information. You can also put a description so you can easily search for it.
The other back up I use is Dropbox. What I like about it is I have images organized by folders: Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Costa Brava) with other folders within those folders (Museums, Beaches, Food).
I have thousands of photos which I keep but I know in order to be able to take more, I need to download the most recent trip to the cloud to let me have more room. Don’t forget the videos too!
The best thing you could have done before your trip was to freeze a few meals so when you get back, it is not panic central. Have staples in the pantry that will get you out of a bind if you get home late. Pasta and sauce from a jar won’t kill anyone. Keep things in the freezer that can help you out in a pinch: orange juice from concentrate, frozen waffles or even frozen bread will thaw by morning.
If jet lag hits you and you’re up early in the morning, pick-up groceries. It will get your fridge and pantry stocked and your family will love you for it. Nothing will get you back on your feet faster from a long trip than good healthy food, a lot of water and some exercise.
The best tip of things to organize after travel is to review your calendar for the next day, week and month. There may be an appointment that you set right after your holidays or a school trip. Make a list of what needs to be done and check it off when you get it done. But DON’T DO THAT the day you get home.
Update what you need to do to finish your transition home. Write a list of posts which you would like to write, review your notes from your journal and then add them to your calendar. Getting back to your daily routine will make you feel more in control and less stressed. Give yourself a day to get settled back home.
These are only a few things to organize after travel but they are important. You want to accomplish these tasks within the first day of getting home (may two). Once done, pour yourself a glass of wine or settle in with a cold drink and just relax. You’ll be busy next week but you can deal with that mañana!
Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.