Managing Back-to-Back Work And Vacation Travel Between 2 Coasts


The last few weeks were a busy time with preplanned vacation travel immediately followed by an unexpected work trip. Luckily, I found out about the work trip before I left for vacation and could plan ahead. I would be returning to Chicago after a week in San Diego, only to leave the next morning for Florida for a work trip. How was I going to plan packing for 2 very different trips? Forget the time zone change from west coast to east coast messing with my body clock, I was concerned with having clean clothes and organized bags so I could easily leave for Florida the morning after I returned from California. Since the California trip was a longer spring break trip with family, I needed to use more than a simple carryon, leaving it available for the short 3 day work trip.

My good intention was to pack the carryon for my work trip at the same time I packed for my vacation. That turned out to be more than I wanted to do. I'm not an overly anxious traveler, but thinking about what I wanted to bring to sunny San Diego for outdoor recreation and park visits with family and my young niece and nephew was an entirely different mindset than 3 days with coworkers for meetings.

I'm a fan of lists for packing, so that's what I did, one for vacation and one for work travel. Vacation packing was more challenging than the work packing since I had to think about outdoor warm weather, swimwear, comfortable walking shoes, beach stuff and sun protection via hats, glasses, lotions, etc. My fair skinned body in the middle of a Chicago March hasn't seen much sun in months, so it was important to me to be prepared.

Making a list for both trips was truly a life saver. When I returned from vacation, I transferred what items from vacation I might want on the work trip to new bags. I had pre-packed a work backpack with my work laptop and associated electronics so it was ready to take on my reading material, headphones, chargers and iPad from my vacation bag.

The act of creating lists put my focus on the two trips and helped me to remember everything I might need for two very different travel experiences.