How to prepare for an international vacation

After spending half the summer in New England, I am off again tomorrow for a ten-day jaunt to Italy and France!  As a generally anxious person, preparing for international travel is like entering Dante’s secret tenth level of hell, but I’ve developed a process that makes the experience painless!  Read on for Jackie’s Five Steps to a Stress-Free International Vacation:

Step 1:  Create detailed packing and to-do lists 5-10 days in advance of your trip.  Then do nothing about these lists until 24 hours before take-off, at which time you lose your shit when you realize that, despite having purchased five hundred bottles of travel-sized shampoo in the past, they have all gone missing and you have to go to Walgreens again to get more, along with wet wipes, because if you don’t bring wet wipes your mother WILL KNOW and she will PUT A POX ON YOUR HOUSE because MY GOD WET WIPES ARE THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO TRAVEL OTHER THAN YOUR PASSPORT, APPARENTLY.

Step 2:  Lay out all your items neatly on your bed or desk and then pack them in an organized fashion by rolling and/or flat-packing in plastic bags.  As part of this process, you realize that every single item you own is wrong for the weather for the place you are going, which has gotten ~10 degrees hotter in the past year due to global warming.  Also, you’ve neglected to do your laundry for two weeks, so you have to take care of that while somehow finding time to run to Old Navy (YEAH I KNOW I’M CHEAP WHAT OF IT) to buy, like, three hundred sundresses.

Step 3: Double-check that all your advanced bookings for ground transportation and fun activities like wine tastings are confirmed and print out your confirmations.  As you’re checking, you realize that you have, in fact, neglected to make ANY advanced bookings for activities of any kind.  Cry when you figure out that it costs 200 Euros for a damned taxi to drive you to your hotel and that all the wine tastings are pre-booked.  When you print out your confirmations, discover that your printer has run out of black ink.  Copy all your confirmations into a blank document and make all text blue or red; feel slightly triumphant at this lame workaround/outwitting of your shitty Canon printer.

Step 4: Reward yourself with a packing break full of daydreams about how educational, relaxing, and sexy your European vacation will be.  Go to therapy where you cry again because you’re 100% certain your plane will crash over the Atlantic and the wreckage will be lost and CNN will cover your plane’s disappearance for the next 300 years.  Freak out about how thin and hot Italians and the French all are and how you’re a disgusting, uncouth American who sweats constantly.  Nod as your therapist kindly helps you stop hyperventilating.

Step 5: Finish up your packing early the night before so you can be well-rested and in a good mood for your flight the next day!  Drink wine and procrastinate finishing packing by writing a sarcastic blog post detailing your disastrous packing process, couched in a faux “how-to” format worthy of Cosmo magazines of the ’90s.

Hope you find these tips* helpful! Ciao!

*In all seriousness I am excited about my trip lol I promise.  Also, I will attempt to blog using just my phone and tablet a couple times from Italy and France, and will try to share some cool pics of my ~activities~ on social media throughout my trip if you are ~interested~!

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