Preparing for a trip is a lot of work. But a little organization can make the preparations a lot less stressful. Starting early is key to preventing a last-minute frenzy. We’ve outlined a timeline that would work for several different kinds of trips to hopefully keep things as smooth as possible.

Six Months Before Your Trip

The planning process can begin 6 months to a year before your trip begins. In some cases, you may start planning before that. At this time, decide on your destination and begin the research on what you would like to do on your trip. Based on your itinerary, pick your hotel or Airbnb. Do you also need to buy tickets for something that might sell out or need to be purchased in advance, such as tickets to plays, concerts, theme parks, etc?

Two-Three Months Before Your Trip

If you are flying, begin looking for flights 2-3 months before the trip. Purchasing airline tickets is historically the cheapest around seven weeks prior to your trip.

One Month Before Your Trip

A month before your trip is a good time to start thinking about any special items or clothing you might need for your trip. Going camping? Do you have everything you need? If not, ordering these items a month before your trip will ensure that they arrive in time without paying extra for speedy shipping. Do you need any additional clothing for a business trip or formal nights on a cruise? Now is the time to shop!

Two Weeks Before Your Trip

At two weeks prior to your departure, begin working on your entertainment. Do you need to download any movies, music, or special apps for the trip? Are these digital files loaded on all appropriate devices?  Take the time to make each person (especially children) have the entertainment that they need. What about non-digital entertainment? Use this time to pack travel games, activity books, crayons, etc. It is also a good time to make any dinner reservations for those special restaurants you want to experience.

One Week Before Your Trip

With only one week to go, it is time to confirm any reservations you made. It is also a good time to do any errands before your trip like getting cash and shopping for important last-minute items (like snacks!). It is also a good time to pack your medicine.

Three Days Before Your Trip

Three days before you leave is a good time to do some self-care. Get a mani/pedi or a wax. And cut your children’s nails, too! It is amazing how quickly they grow. This is a great time to begin packing accessories.

Two Days Before Trip

Two days before, you can begin packing even more accessories and making sure you purse is ready to go for the trip.

The Day Before Your Trip

The day before you leave, make sure all devices are charged. You can also pack the remaining items on your list that you will not need the morning of your trip. It is a good idea to pack the snacks and prep any food you are bringing on your trip. If you are taking a road trip, begin loading the car with anything that you don’t need on the morning of your trip.

The Day of Your Trip

That brings us to the day of your trip. Hopefully it is as least stressful as possible because of all of the preparation and organization you have done thus far. This is the day to pack all of the items you used the day of your trip. Don’t forget your phone chargers!

Planning and packing everything ahead of time may seem overwhelming, but it will prevent you from having that feeling of, “Did I remember to pack this?” or “Did we grab the tickets?” as you’re boarding your flight or are two hours down the road.

For more trip planning assistance, download our timeline checklist.

Happy trip planning!

If you have specific questions about this, I’d love to address them. Please leave a comment or send me an email at: