“Do you have any helpful info to help the ADD person plan and PACK for a trip? It’s hellish for me.”

Actually, I do!!

Many ADHDers have a love/hate relationship with travel and the holidays. Some love the adventure and novelty; others hate the disruption to their daily routine.

Even ADHDers who love going on trips can find the planning and preparation involved challenging. In order to have an enjoyable, stress free trip with minimal unexpected surprises, some planning and attention to details are helpful.  Since both of those can be tricky when you are living with ADHD, I created a list to help you!

Use it to help you feel organized and ahead of the game. You can add or delete items to personalize the list for your needs.

 When Your Trip Is Booked

1. Check Your Passport

Double check that your passport is valid and that it will be valid for at least another 6 months from the date you travel. Each country has slightly different rules, some ask for longer, so if in doubt do a quick Google search for your travel destination’s criteria.

2. Book Travel Insurance

Booking insurance doesn’t have an immediate reward or consequence, which is why it is a task that is easy to put off or never do when you have ADHD.   When you are planning a trip, a goal is to have a safety net in place. Then, if unexpected events happen, it won’t  become a crisis.

3. Book Health Insurance

Ditto for the Insurance

4. Pet Sitter

Make arrangements for your pets to be looked after while you are gone. Check with your sitter /neighbour/ kennels to make sure that they will be available when you are gone.

1 Month Before You Leave:

5. Home Deliveries

Cancel anything that is delivered to your home ( e.g. milk, newspaper) for the dates you will be gone.

6. Services

Cancel services you won’t need while you are away, such as a cleaning service.

Cancelling services 1 whole month before you leave might feel ‘too soon’. Pacing yourself like this means you don’t have lots of tasks in the last week.  Plus service providers are happy as it allows them to adjust their schedules.

7. Your Bank

Telephone your bank and credit card company to let them know about your travel dates and destination. This will avoid your accounts being locked by unusual spending habits. Banks want to protect you against card theft. However, it is a hassle to have to resolve while you are away.

On the subject of money, getting local currency at the airport cash machine is usually the most economical. Also, it is one less thing to organize before you go.

8. Cell Phone

Call your cell phone company to find out what packages they offer for travel. This allows you to use your phone without the fear of getting any nasty surprises when the bill arrives.

9. Create A Master List

Start creating a master list of everything you need to take with you.  Include items like clothes, shoes, toiletries, gifts etc.

10. Go Shopping

Using your master list as guide, go shopping and pick up any items you need but don’t currently own.

11. Create a Holiday Area

Reserve  a shelf or a drawer to put all your new things. They will be easy to find when it’s time to pack.

7 Days Before You Go:

12. Trip to the pharmacy

Go to the pharmacy, and refill your prescriptions, including ADHD meds.

13. Printing

Print out all of your travel information, such as flight details, hotel reservations, train tickets, car hire information, etc. Include your reservations, confirmation numbers and contact telephone numbers. You can use your cell phone as a backup;  however, when you have ADHD, the paper documents act as visual reminders and help keep you organized.

Put the printouts into a plastic sleeve. This keeps them safe and makes finding them easy. Keep the plastic sleeve in your carry-on luggage.

14. Pet Supplies

Stock up on pet food, cat litter or anything else your pet sitter will need.

15. Laundry

Wash all the clothes you are taking with you.

2 Days Before You Go

16. Start to Pack

Packing now will avoid frantic last minute packing.  As you pop things into your suitcase, cross them off your master list so you don’t forget what is in your suitcase.

Night Before:

17. Empty Your Refrigerator

To avoid nasty smells when you get back, throw out anything with a short shelf life…milk, leftovers, vegetables etc.

18. Empty Garbage Cans

Ditto for the smells.

Before You Leave:

19. Kitchen Sink

Hand wash anything in the sink, like breakfast dishes, etc.

20. Turn Everything Off

Turn off computers, TV, radios and other electrical gadgets.

21. Lock Your Door

As you are leaving your home, be mindful as you are locking your front door. This  mindfulness will help you to remember that your door is safely locked,  which in turn will help prevent  worrying thoughts  about whether or not you locked the door throughout the trip.

When You Arrive at Your Destination:

22. Find a Safe Place

While you are away your house keys lose their significance, and they can get misplaced. Find a safe place for them (a zipped pocket etc) so you will know where they are when you get home.

Back Home:

23. Unpack Your Suitcase

Here is a super painless way to do it! Unpack your suitcase.

24. Next Time!

Write a note to yourself about anything you would do differently or that you want to remember for the next time you travel.

This will make planning and organizing your next trip even easier.

Bon voyage!!


What do you do to prepare for a trip? Leave a note in the comments below!



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