3 ways to make planning a vacation a little easier for you

You can follow a pre-vacation checklist one line at a time — including setting up the perfect out-of-office email reply — and still feel frazzled when you’re planning a trip.

Here are three ways to take the edge off during the process.

Stay ready: do some packing before you actually have to

This could both save time and help you avoid forgetting something on your way out.

The Washington Post features information from and about Alice Boyes, PhD, the author of The Anxiety Toolkit and a former psychologist. Here’s some insight on how she stays ready for travel.

“Rather than repacking toiletries every time, Boyes keeps duplicates of items she uses frequently, such as her toothbrush and toothpaste. She places one in a suitcase and keeps one at home. She also keeps clothing in her suitcase that she knows she will wear on the road. This allows her to put less time and energy into preparing the night before when she’s usually still working late,” the publication reports.

Before leaving: tell your colleagues when you will and won’t be free

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, an author, founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Speaking and time management coach, explains this in the Harvard Business Review.

“Once you’ve figured out what you will do before leaving on vacation and what can be handled while you’re away, clarify what you will not do until you return. I recommend having a sense of this in your mind early. But wait until three or four days before you leave to make the final call on what’s in or out. By then you should be sure about what you can reasonably accomplish, and you can relay this information to your boss, teammates, and anyone else involved in the work,” she writes.

“It can be uncomfortable to have these conversations, but it’s almost always best to be up front about what to expect instead of leaving people hanging who are expecting something from you, and then having to deal with a mid-vacation crisis caused by lack of communication. Update colleagues on the status of projects and let them know that nothing will move forward until after you get back in the office. Also, give key individuals the heads-up that you won’t be available — or as available — during the time that you’re away,” Saunders continues.

On the trip: don’t get flustered too easily

Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack.

Social psychologist Susan Newman told the Reader’s Digest that when things go off-track on your trip, you should “think of it as an adventure, because often the mishaps and the things that go wrong actually become either humorous in your memory bank or the best thing that happened on the whole vacation.”