I will be he first to hold my hand up and say that I am not the most organized person on the planet. Preparedness, planning and being on time are (embarrassingly) low down on the list of things I consider important; much further down the list than stuff such as sleeping, eating, drinking enough water, calling my parents regularly and downloading the latest episode of Ex on the Beach (Just kidding… sort of).
So when I started making lists in preparation for my upcoming trip to Europe WEEKS before I even leave, I was like ‘What the heck?’
I’ve already started a scrapbook for goodness sake, and I haven’t even left yet. What a weirdo.
But 2016 is a year of change for the better and venturing into adulthood successfully.
Also, I think the eagerness and intense early preparedness can be narrowed down to excitement. This is the third time I’ve ventured out of South Africa without my family.
The first was to China in 2014 on a scholarly excursion where the days were planned down to the finest detail, the second was a trip in early 2015 to South East Asia with my best friend who was organized enough for the both of us which gave me the freedom to relax (read: be lazy as heck, safe in the knowledge that she had everything sorted).
This time, I’m going on a stereotypical ‘gap-year’ type adventure to Europe where you best believe I will be eating baguettes, cruising in a gondola, biking around Amsterdam and taking a cringe photo pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I’m lucky enough to be able to travel and on this trip, I’m determined to be as responsible and as organized as possible. Because I’ve recently graduated from university and this is my first official adventure as an ~*aDuLt*~
Hence the lists. I have written down everything from lists of gifts to get, to things I need to print before I leave, and even a list of the specific socks I need to pack.
In honor of my surprise organizational enthusiasm, here is a list of my top ten lists to make before a trip (List-ception):
- A list of things to do before you leave:
Print tickets, accommodation and activity confirmation; print maps; get a phrase book and speed learn some useful sayings; photocopy your passport, double check your visas etc.
- A list of important things not to forget:
Chargers, underwear, tickets, names of hostels, PASSPORT.
- A list of songs/movies/books to download:
So you have a distraction and don’t drive yourself mad during long haul drives/flights/ delays.
- A list of good books to buy/dig out of your cupboard/loan from a library/borrow from a friend:
Technology is a heartless wench. If a battery can die, it will die. Better to have a something non-digital as a back up. Or just go tech free from the outset.
- A list of toiletries and medicine to take with you:
Most important: DEODERANT. Take it on the plane with you. No one likes a sweaty betty during an 8-hour flight. Adding to that: toothpaste or mouth wash. Let us not breathe our death breaths into unsuspecting faces first thing in the morning.
- A bucket list of things to-do at your destinations:
Better to do some research beforehand and find cool quirky activities to do alongside the typical touristy ones than get stuck fiddling with maps, bumping into people and wondering around with your mouth agape wondering where Notre Dame is (Yes this happened to my family and the kind French-man who helped point out that it was directly behind us had to suppress his giggles). But leave some space for spontaneity and spur of the moment mini-adventures.
- A list of the places you want to eat at:
This one is a list maker’s wet dream because you can even make sub-lists of specifics like specific Pizza places and the best spots to get ice cream (or gelato as the Italians and minions say) in Rome.
- A list of gifts to buy:
If you are so inclined and financially able. And so you don’t look like a prize idiot when you forget to buy your brother something.
- A list of emergency contacts:
Because you are a functioning adult and should be prepared for every situation. Also look up the address and contact details your country’s embassy at your destination – just in case.
- A list of things to pack:
No you don’t need 11 pairs of shoes. Yes, you need a towel and body wash (you never know what your hotel/hostel might throw at you bathroom-wise). Remember its better to under pack (and leave lots of space for chocolate to bring home) than over pack. ALWAYS TAKE EXTRA UNDERWEAR.
I have variations of these written in notebooks, typed on my phone, and scribbled on scrap pieces of paper and shoved into crevices across my living space… so my new-found organisational skills have not developed too far. And Although I can sense that come Wednesday, I will be chucking random clothes into my suitcase with list No.10 long forgotten, having them on hand definitely makes me feel like I am somewhat successfully adulting.
Here’s to safely Eurotripping, list-making and adulting in 2016.