The 7 handy hints for holiday organisation

It’s June and vacation time is upon us.  Did you realise however that a holiday is one of the most stressful events in our lives (up there with moving house, divorce, changing jobs and a serious illness or death in the family)?

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Speaking as a well seasoned traveller to some 50 countries and the former publisher of a travel magazine, I’ve compiled some hints to better holiday organisation.  I’ll adapt an old army adage, the 7P’s to illustrate my points : Proper prior planning prevents a pretty poor performance.

Proper :  Always have a proper record/photocopy of all travel documents showing passport number, name, place and date of issue and expiry date.  It’s time consuming to search for these details, particularly when that special online offer only allows you 10 minutes to complete the transaction.  Take the photocopy on your travels too, in case you need to report a loss of passport.

Prior: Everyone knows that buying as far in advance as possible yields the lowest fare.  But when’s the best time to purchase a ticket directly from the airlines? Whatever you do, don’t make your online bookings during the weekends warns the Asian Wall Street Journal. “Ticket prices are highest on weekends, on average, according to online travel agencies, fare trackers and airline pricing executives.  In addition, airlines don’t manage their inventory as actively on weekends, so if cheap seats sell on some flights, prices automatically jump higher.”

Turns out the best time to book is Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline’s home base. (eg. Hong Kong for Cathay Pacific, Dallas for American Airlines).  Why?  That’s when the computer system of most airlines purge the reserved, but unbooked, lower fare reservations.

Planning :  Organise your valuables, washbag and cosmetics as hand carry together with a spare set of  clothes (in case the airline loses your baggage or the hotel room isn’t ready for check-in until 4pm).  I’ve been known to board the plane wearing a bikini underneath so that I’m ready to hit the pool on arrival.

Prevents :  Prevention of danger, lost luggage and theft in a strange, new environment is key.

Do as frequent travellers do and brief all members of the party to guard their privacy in hotels.   That means handing over the signed bill (with name and room number) to the waiter rather than leaving the bill at the table open to prying eyes .  Never complete the breakfast card hanging on the doorknob as you’re advertising the number of occupants and when you’re likely to be out of the room.  I no longer attach luggage labels to the outside of my bags but leave luggage unlocked with my name and contact details inside the inner pocket where Airport Security will know to look.  Why let on to all and sundry that your house is empty?

Pretty :  We all want to look our best on holidays, but I always advise to under- rather than over-pack.   If you’re travelling for 7 days, 3-4 days  of clothing should be ample, just plan to handwash or launder whilst away rather than paying for excess baggage.  Alternatively bring worn out clothes that you dispose of during the trip to make way for your souveniers.  Lastly, wear the heaviest and bulkiest clothing onboard if needs be.

The one thing NOT to skimp on is medication.  It may not be possible to find replacements in the right dosage or without a prescription.  I suffered on holiday was when I forgot my hayfever remedy during a safari in the Zimbabwe bush!

Poor :  Don’t just rely on the international credit cards to charge all expenses.  Always make sure you have around US$100 worth of the local currency with you before flying should your mobile reception be down with the limo nowhere in sight.  Don’t worry about the loose change that you might never use again.  HINT, drop by a casino to purchase chips – the only place that will accept any currency!

Performance :  Most of us can’t live without our smart phone or computer but you’ll go from hero to zero if it’s flat .  Remember not to pack the chargers, electrical adapters and foreign SIM cards in the checked luggage.  You’ll wish you had them with you should your flight be delayed and you need to amend onward travel  arrangements or alert family members.

Those are some of my favourite travel organising tips.  Look out for my packing tips next time when I’ll share my secrets on the wardrobe and washbag essentials that you can legitimately get onto a plane.  Happy and safe travels to all!




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Asian Professional Organisers is the first member in Singapore of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers, serving clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. Georgina Wong started out as a professional event organiser before transferring her expertise to where it matters most - in the home and workplace. We offer all forms of organising from home staging of your property to workplace productivity and from wardrobe auditing to digital decluttering.