I used to deny being a Type A personality. Sure I like things a certain way, and I’m more comfortable leading, but the label of Type A seemed too much. However, as I have grown up and into myself, I’ve come to love the characteristics that a Type A person exudes. I am proud of my organization skills, my drive, my desire for perfection, and being proactive.
How does this translate to traveling long term? It took an adjustment. But happily I can report that most of my personality traits just needed to be put to use in a traveling environment. When we are unpacking and repacking everything we own multiple times a week this can be cause for frustration as it’s hard to find things when you need them.
So, we streamlined the process. Everything, and I mean every little thing we own, has it’s place.
We have plastic bags for toiletries, 1 that is filled with stuff to unpack in the shower (razor, shampoo, conditioner) and the other with bathroom designated items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, hair brush, lotion, etc.). That way when we arrive to a new hotel I can immediately unpack all these essentials right to their new home. There’s another zip lock bag with rarely used items like bug protection, extra bottles of sunscreen (we stock up in less expensive countries!). This isn’t unpacked unless we need it.
For our clothes, we each have a small stuff sack with our clothes. These get unpacked and we keep a pile with our clothes on top of the bag in each room. This way, when it’s time to pack up, everything is right there to be zipped up and put into our duffel bag. Before having these bags it was a mess of trying to find underwear mixed within everything in my bag, and it always works out that the thing you are looking for is the last thing you find. Having to unpack multiple times to find one thing drove me insane. We also have another bag for beach areas – sarongs, swim suits, small beach bag, and some misc. items like eye covers that we don’t need as often. This can stay in our duffel bag if we are in a city or comes out first if at the beach.
There’s an electronics bag that holds all the cords for our electronics and external hard drive. When your phone is at 3% battery, an i-phone charger cable is tiny when it’s mixed within a sloppily packed bag!
The only things that get to float is our cribbage board.
The purse and backpack we carry are equally as organized. There’s a spot for headphones, eye drops, toilet paper, aleve, waterproof bag cover, and kindle spot. Each of us can find any one of the small number of things we have because they are always in the same spot.
It’s hard enough navigating a new city every few days – being able find what you need when you want it is essential. As mundane as this all sounds, it’s made traveling so much easier – I’m glad my organizational skills were up to the task and that Eric is happy to go along with my insistence of which spot is which!