(BPT) - Vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but more than half of Americans say vacations cause them stress, and 46 percent say stress interferes with their enjoyment of traveling, according to a survey by HomeAway. Vacation stress comes from multiple sources, including crowded airports, making transportation arrangements, booking lodging and more.
However, staying organized while traveling can help relieve some of the stress of juggling so many details and moving parts. Here are ways you can stay organized while traveling, and feel more confident that you have control of your vacation plans.
Prior to departure
* Make an itinerary with important information, such as flight numbers and times, hotel phone numbers, check-in and check-out times, prices, ticket numbers and phone numbers for attractions you'll visit.
* Gather together travel guide info. If you're still a fan of paper, create a packet of travel guides and maps for the area you'll be visiting. Or go electronic and download guides and maps on your smartphone.
* Remember to make arrangements for your home while you're away. Discontinue newspaper and mail delivery, put lights on timers and ask the local police department to do vacation checks on your home.
* Pack a few days before your departure. Waiting until the last minute to pack can make you feel rushed and stressed - and increase the chance you'll forget something important.
* Make a checklist of everything you need to take with you and check off each item as it goes into your bags. Organize your checklist by when items can be packed - well in advance (for seasonal clothes you don't need at home) to last-minute (toiletries).
* Plan outfits and take items that can be mixed and matched with each other.
* Before critical items go into your bags, outfit them with technology that will help you keep track of them. TrackR pixel is a coin-sized item tracker that attaches to virtually any item - from car and house keys to wallets, passport cases to handbags - to help you keep track of important items while traveling. When downloaded to your smartphone, the TrackR app works with the item tracker to help locate the tagged items. You can use the app to locate tagged items, remind you to take items with you and even locate them on an in-app map. If you misplace your phone, simply press the button on the tag, and it will make your phone ring so you can find it. To learn more or to purchase online, visit www.thetrackr.com.
On the road
* If you're traveling with the whole family and have a lot to carry, consider making each person responsible for a different, age-appropriate, item. For example, parents can manage large bags, teens and tweens can handle carry-on items and young children can be responsible for any small entertainment or comfort items, such as stuffed animals and carry-ons with coloring books and Crayons.
* Keep all passports in one place and have a single, responsible party manage them. Attach a TrackR item tracker to passport cases to ensure you can always find these critical items.
* Carry a small journal to help keep track of notes about places where you go, changes in plans or reservations, receipts, tickets and more.
* Pack a small bag for snacks and water. Vacation travel often involves waiting, whether it's at the airport for a delayed flight or in line for a popular attraction. A small snack bag can help prevent hunger-fueled frustration and lack of focus.
Some stress while traveling may be unavoidable, but staying organized while on vacation can help ensure you feel as little stress as possible - and leave you plenty of energy to enjoy your trip.