Make a list, check it twice, during holidays
Surrounded by mounds of paperwork with the day closing in on me, I sat at my desk making note of what to do next in the order of importance.
This happened a long time ago when I was a junior editor with 17 reporters counting on me to get my job done. A colleague caught me taking stock on paper and scolded me in a caustic yet charming manner. He said in a Confucius-like way, "Those who make too many lists often don't get anything done."
Point taken, I charged into my work, leaving the list behind. To be sure, this sage man's advice was sound for that occasion because I did get everything done in the time allotted.
However, as I learned later in my travel life, his adage is not necessarily right for every instance -- especially when it comes to sojourning during the holiday season.
Case in point: One Christmas week I was on assignment in Hong Kong, then New York and finally in London. On my last leg, I was on my last leg, so discombobulated that I left half my wardrobe hanging in my hotel room closet when I checked out. I didn't realize this pathetic and very costly faux pas until I was halfway across the Pond.
Musing how there was no way I could turn back, I also made a mental note that if I had made a list of what I had taken on my trip, this probably would not have happened.
Several hundred British pounds later, my clothing was returned via Federal Express and I had adopted a new way to keep track of things when my life gets too hectic. I now always write down everything I need to do before, during and after a heavy travel period. I make a list and I check it twice with no remorse that I am wasting time because I will not take the chance of repeating that awful experience when my clothes stayed in the United Kingdom and I did not.
That said, following are a couple of other ways to keep stock of what's where during a hectic season on the road:
• Make a detailed itinerary, print it out and put it in the hands of everyone who cares about you, both professional and personal.
Also, keep a paper copy in your checked suitcase and an electronic copy on the desktop of your laptop. I also e-mail a copy to myself and keep the file closed unless needed.
In addition, to be super careful when I am completely overwhelmed, I fax a copy to the hotel where I will be staying under the heading "hold for future guest Jane Lasky" so it is there when I arrive.
• For the techno-savvy traveler who likes every byte of personal information at the ready, consider purchasing a handy device called the Portable Travel Profile (www.portabletravelprofile.com).
By simply plugging this handy gadget into your computer's USB port, you are able to input or access all kinds of pertinent information, from a virtual copy of your passport to a facsimile of your insurance cards. You are also able to store your fingerprints, your emergency contacts and even any legal documents you might need for reference as you travel.
Measuring just an inch long and less than an inch wide, this personal backup system doesn't take up much space and can even be carried on a chain around your neck.
The nifty Portable Travel Profile is designed even for those of us who are technologically challenged since an easy-to-follow software guide eases the user through a series of simple steps on how to fill out and store all kinds of valuable information.