Holiday Travel Survival Guide

There’s no place like home for the holidays, right? The only problem is that everyone else seems to have the same idea at this time of year. If you’re looking for some ideas to minimize the stress of traveling around the holidays, keep these helpful tips in mind.

travel by plane

  1. Give gift cards or ship presents to family and friends before the holidays start, to minimize packing stress and eliminate overstuffed luggage. If you order online, you can often ship directly to the recipient without paying additional postage.
  2. Carry a snack. Since a few lines are inevitable, and connecting flights are often a long ways away, make sure you have a snack handy. You’ll be more on top of things and less irritable if you aren’t skipping meals.
  3. Bring earplugs. It’s a beautiful thing to get a little peace and quiet mid-flight. You can tune out that annoying conversation to your right, a whining child, or a snoring fellow passenger.
  4. Exercise before your flight. Don’t overdo it with a workout that makes you sore, but light exercise can help prevent leg cramps. If you have a layover, take advantage of the long corridors and stretch your legs a bit.
  5. Bring some interesting entertainment. Whether it’s a book you’ve wanted to read, a magazine, or some earphones and music, you need something to zone out to while traveling. It’ll help in long lines and during the flight.

Tips for holiday travel by car

  1. Get a maintenance checkup for your car before heading out during the holidays. Have any necessary work performed before your trip.
  2. If you’re traveling through big cities, plan travel times carefully so you don’t hit rush hour traffic.
  3. Instead of packing gifts in your car (and hoping the wrapping doesn’t get crumpled), give gift cards or ship presents to family and friends.
  4. Pack a winter safety kit. Snowstorms could pop up at any time, or your car could break down and leave you temporarily stranded while you wait for assistance. Your winter safety kit should include things like snacks, water, flashlight, extra clothing and blankets, booster cables, a first aid kit, a roadside flare, a roadside distress flag, extra gloves, a shovel, a rope or a tow chain, an ice scraper, a radio with battery backup, any regular medications you or your passengers take, and either sand, road salt, or cat litter (for traction in ice storms).
  5. If you have children, you can make the journey enjoyable for them (and more tolerable for yourself!) by planning a few short stops along the way. The destination doesn’t have to be amazing—often playing at a park is exactly what kids need after spending hours in the car.
  6. Remember to make safety your top priority when driving in winter weather conditions. Allow extra time between vehicles, don’t drink and drive, pull over if you get sleepy, and slow down in rain or snow.

Happy traveling!

Plan Your Trips

35655_lrgcaseWith the holidays only a few weeks away, now is the best time to plan out any trips you will be taking to visit family and friends. Make a list of the things you need to accomplish before you go, from arranging time off work to booking flights and accommodations. Getting the details in your planner now can save time and stress during the busier weeks at the end of the year.47717_lrgcase


Five Traveling Tips

With summer almost here, you may have a trip planned for yourself or for your family. Though some of us do well throwing things together at the last minute, most us need time to prepare for everything we want to do while away. To have a successful trip, start planning now to have 61928_lrgcaseeverything in order; you will be less stressed and more relaxed.

Here are a few tips that may help you start thinking about what you should plan ahead for.

1. Mode Of Transportation – If you’re taking an airplane to your destination, booking early can save you lots of money and can lead to a better selection of departure times (holiday traveling?).
If you’re driving, schedule an appointment for a tune-up before you go. Not only will this help you save gas mileage, but it will also give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your car is running smoothly; a breakdown can seriously ruin your trip.

2. Process Your Paperwork – Your trip will have lots of paperwork associated with it. Printed tickets, passports, insurance information, ID documents, itineraries, destination activity packets – keeping track of these will be important for a successful vacation. Use your planner to list out every document you may need, that way when you are packing you know which papers to grab for.

3. Budget In Advance – Sometimes it seems that vacations force a difficult choice: break your kids hearts by not going on the roller coaster, or break the bank by riding. Get everyone together before the trip starts and research local activities where you’re going. You can balance free activities with expensive activities, and eliminate the worry of a post-vacation budget hangover.

4. Plan What To Leave Behind – Sometimes, the key to enjoying a vacation is knowing what not to take with you. In an increasingly connected world, make sure to take care of your work projects before you go, so you won’t feel pressure to check your work email on the beach.
While some vacations are pet-friendly, for others, you might need to arrange for your pet to stay at home. Making arrangements for a neighbor to pet-sit or dropping your pet off at a pet hotel or vet’s office lets you enjoy your vacation without worrying about Spot.45329_lrgcase

5. Pack Effectively – Depending on your destination, pack a smaller amount than you think you’ll need. If the worst happens and you’re missing something, you can always purchase it there, and most likely spend less than you would on overweight baggage fees.

Most importantly, remember that planning ahead gives you the freedom to enjoy your trip and relax.




Holiday Travel Survival Guide

Going over the river and through the woods in a horse-drawn sleigh sounds like all sorts of fun, and I’m sure was. But you can be sure those holiday trips involved plenty of planning and preparation. Today’s holiday travel is much faster and more comfortable, but it still requires all sorts tree of forethought and preparation. Here are a few tips that may help your next trip go a little more smoothly.

Traveling by Car

Consider alternate routes. Remember that you’ll be on the road with a whole lot of other people with the same destination—home for the holidays. Plan ahead and decide on alternate routes if your preferred route feels a little too crowded. You’ll be surprised at the beauty you’ll find on the back roads.

Find fun places to stop. You’re sure to find rest areas and gas stations along the way to grandma’s house, but with a little planning, you may find a park, historical monument, or scenic byway that will add a little more interest for both you and the kids.

Pack snacks and games. It’s hard for kids to sit in a car for more than a few minutes. Sometimes they’ll start saying, “Are we there yet?” even before you get out of town. Give them music, games, and snacks to keep them entertained along the way. You can also play a few games while you travel—like seeing who can find all the letters in the alphabet by looking at road signs and license plates. (It’s a good way to pass about 20 miles.)

Travel at night. If you load the kids into the car late in the evening with a pillow and their favorite snuggly friend, there’s a great chance they’ll fall asleep long before you get to your destination. It’s the best shortcut you’ll find. Once they’re asleep you can drive straight through without as many potty breaks.

Prepare the car. Before you go, be sure your tires are properly inflated and get your battery checked so you can reduce your chances of being stranded along the way. Also make sure you have a good spare tire, lug wrench, and a jack so you can change a flat and keep moving ahead. Be sure to pack a winter emergency kit as well. Keep it stocked with plenty of blankets, food, and road flares or flashing lights just in case you find that you need to wait things out for a while.

Traveling by Plane

Avoid surprises and overage fees. Be sure to check the airline’s restrictions on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags ahead of time.

Pack light. Avoid checking bags altogether if you can. Keeping it all in your carry-on means you won’t have to check luggage, wait for bags at the conveyor belt, or worry about lost luggage. If you do have to check a bag, be sure you have all your medications, important documents, and at least one change of clothes in your carry-on unless your luggage gets lost.

 Pack earplugs. Many people don’t think of this one, but it’s a great way to reduce the noise in an airplane so you can tune out.

Chew gum. Chewing gum often helps when your plane is ascending or descending. It helps you keep the pressure in your ears from causing pain. It’s also a good idea to give the baby a little bottle during these critical times to keep them from getting fussy.

If you can, book your flight at the wrong time. Most people travel on the day before the holiday. In fact, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. But if you wait a few hours and catch an early morning flight on Thanksgiving Day, you can avoid a lot of that mess. It may feel counterintuitive, but it may prove to be even more relaxing to wait, and you’ll still arrive at your destination in time for food. After all, planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance than planes scheduled later in the day.

Ship your gifts ahead of time. Mailing your packages early will save you all sorts of room in your luggage, hassles at the TSA checkpoints, and overage fees. It may require some planning and a little more money for shipping, but you won’t have to worry about them being unwrapped by security in the airport.

Smile. Remember that the joys and challenges of your holiday travel will make for some good conversation around the dinner table. After all, the journey over the river and through the woods is as much of a holiday tradition as pumpkin pie and classic holiday movies.

September is Self-Improvement Month

Playlist Ring-bound Daily Planner RefillIn life, you have many different responsibilities – your career, your family, your community, and more. Before you know it, these responsibilities can squeeze out all of your extra time, leaving little to work on a very important responsibility: self-improvement.

This September, identify ways you want to improve yourself, such as changing a long-term habit or developing a new hobby. Then, before other things crowd them out, make appointments in your planner throughout the month and save the date for self improvement.

Balance Your Travel Experiences

24You are a complicated person with many different responsibilities. You work to provide for your family and your lifestyle, and you try to enrich your life with new and exciting experiences. So why is it that whenever you travel, you’re expected to completely remove one half of the business/personal balance?

Think about your last trip. If you were traveling on business, you likely fought through jet lag to attend meetings and business dinners, maybe catching a glimpse of your destination through the windows of your rental car. If you were on a personal vacation, you probably felt the tug of the office through your cell phone or tablet, worried about your projects, and wondered whether your team members were on schedule.

Whichever situation you find yourself in, the key to enjoying your next trip is finding the appropriate balance between the professional and the personal. The next time you travel to an exotic location on business, take some time beforehand to learn about the local culture. If it’s close enough to your meetings, you could even stay in a local hotel or bed and breakfast for a more authentic experience. And getting out to try the local food will be much more memorable than the same old continental breakfast.

If you’re on vacation, make an effort to stabilize your career responsibilities before you take off. When you make a plan in advance for how your work will be covered, you can relax on your trip without worrying about it. You’re on vacation – commit to it by putting your phone in airplane mode for most of the day so you’re not tempted to constantly check for new emails. A couple of emergency checks during downtime will be enough.

Wherever your destination and whatever your goal, enjoy your next trip!



Change With The Season

If you don’t live in an area where the seasons change, autumn is worth a visit. Colors go from vivid green to bright yellow, orange, read, and finally brown as temperatures glide downward until autumn careens into winter. Changing seasons are impressive. In homage to Mother Nature, we’ve gathered a few things to help you change with the seasons. These stunning collections are sure to keep you fresh and up-to-date.


Tanner Collection

Tanner Binder

Streamlined and simply elegant, this internationally designed line is minimalism at its best. With a simple strap closure and excellently placed organizational features, there’s nothing to distract from the high-quality leather, earning it a place in our prestigious Artisan collection.

Shop the Tanner Collection


Ashlyn Collection

Ashlyn ToteAshlyn Wire-bound Cover


Make a bold statement with this sporty collection in soft, durable leather with bright contrasting colors and chrome accents. The keyed diary clasp may not actually lock, but it adds a great touch of whimsy. Designed to carry your plans, your necessities, and even your favorite devices in order and style.

Shop Ashlyn Binders 

Shop Ashlyn Wire-bound Covers

Shop the Ashlyn Tote


Weaver Collection

Weaver Binder

Add sophisticated texture to your important plans. This internationally designed line from our Artisan collection features soft twill exteriors with stamped leather accents, and soft, supple full-leather interiors.

Shop the Weaver Collection


Delight Mini by Baggallini

There’s elegance in simplicity. This lightweight satin-touch nylon bag features a quilted pattern with a twist-lock flap covering a secure zipper closure, keeping your things inside the interior organizational pockets. The lightweight bag rides comfortably at your side with its adjustable cross-body strap.

Delight Mini by Baggallini

Shop the Delight Mini by Baggallini


CH-97 2.0 CH 25 By Victorinox

Access your travel documents on the go with this expandable wheeled upright case. Featuring convenient external pockets for documents, lockable zippers, and a TSA-approved lock for easier security checks, this bag makes the journey that much easier. Plus, its one-touch dual-trolley aluminum handle system recesses into the bag when not in use. It’s all the innovation you would expect from the makers of the Swiss Army Knife.

CH-97 2.0 CH 25 by Victorinox


Shop the CH-97 2.0 CH 25 By Victorinox


C-Series SelecTip Gell Rolling Ball Pen by Cross

Inspired by the quality of luxury sports cars, the C-Series features cutting edge detail, stunning appointments, and a smooth touch finish. This capless pen comes with Cross’ rolling ball technology, but also supports ballpoint pen refills. Customization options are available.

C-Series Selectip Gell Rolling Ball Pen by Cross

Shop the C-Series SelecTip Gell Rolling Ball Pen by Cross


None of us can keep up with Mother Nature, but perhaps these beautiful accessories have inspired you to do a little changing of our own.

4 Super Summer Organizing Tips

By Joshua Zerkel

Summer… ahhh. When summertime comes, there’s a palpable change in the air – a feeling of fun, relaxation, and freedom from worry. Or at least, that’s how it can seem! Of course, the details of life and work don’t just go away with the change of the seasons. Especially if you’ll be traveling this summer, things can get pretty complicated.  That said, there’s plenty you can do to prepare yourself for maximum summertime fun! Here’s a few ideas:

Forget about your bills. Are you spending time sitting down to pay your paper bills? This is probably one of the last things you’d want to spend your time on during the summer when you’re trying to relax. If you haven’t already, pull out each of your monthly bills, and set them up for automatic payment (wherever it makes sense to do so). What I typically recommend to my clients is to choose one of your credit cards to charge all your bills to via auto-payment, and then you only have to worry about paying one bill instead of several. I think this is a lot better than having your bills deducted from your checking account – if there’s an error, your credit card company can go to bat for you. Of course, this system works best if you pay your credit card off in full each month.

Plan ahead for maximum discounts. If you plan ahead, you can save a ton on summer travel. Use fare finders like Kayak ( to help streamline your searches, and you’ll be able to compare deals from many airlines, hotels, and rental cars at once. Although they can be somewhat annoying, e-newsletters from your favorite hotels and airlines do sometimes feature sales and other bargains, so if you are planning on traveling using one of those vendors, you may want to sign up for their newsletters and then unsubscribe when you are done booking your travel – otherwise they can just end up as clutter in your inbox. If you’re not a big planner but still want to find great deals on last-minute travel, try ( To maximize your time actually spent at your destination rather than your time getting there, look for direct flights, and try to travel with only a carry-on.

Dining on a dime. Once you’re at your destination, use a site like ( for significant savings on dining out. With this site, you select the coupons you want from a list of restaurants, and buy just those. For instance, you can buy a $25 off certificate for around $10 – but if you use a discount code found on sites like (, you can get a discount off your discount – essentially bringing the price of a $25 off coupon to just a few dollars. Using these coupons, I’ve dined at some amazing restaurants with my friends and family, for a fraction of the cost of the people sitting a table away from me. What’s also great is that most of the restaurants on the site are small, independent venues, so you get to support local merchants while saving money on a fantastic meal!

Double your pleasure… by getting duplicates of the things you regularly need to travel with. For instance, instead of packing and then unpacking a toiletries kit, purchase duplicate items of all the lotions and potions you need, and keep a fully stocked kit in your bathroom. When you’re ready to travel, you won’t have to scramble to re-create the kit for every trip. Same is true for your electronics. If you have to unplug your laptop, cell phone and mp3 chargers every time you travel, it’s a huge timesaver to just get a second set of these gizmos, and keep them in a pouch or bag that can easily be grabbed and slipped into your luggage. I like the travel charger organizers from Kanagraoom Storage (

Of course, there are many other ways to get organized to save time and stress during the summer. What are some of your ideas for having a simply organized summer?

Joshua Zerkel

Stay Productive While On The Go

Staying productive on the go is easier that you might think. If you keep a list of things to do with you at all times, you’ll likely find a number of tasks and to do’s that can be executed with very little technology or tools beyond pen and paper. If you need to meet with someone in the near future, grab your cell phone and set up the visit even if you’re away. You can also brainstorm new ideas for work, sketch ideas for that rundown flower garden in your yard, or write a thank you note to a friend.

10 Days to Optimize Vacation Packing

I think most would agree that one of the worst parts of planning a vacation is packing. Packing is stressful. I never know what to bring and always want to take more than I really need.

With summer around the corner, we decided to create a packing infographic. According to 54% of men and 46% of women wait until the day before their vacation to pack. From personal experience, I know that when I wait until the last day to pack I am bound to forget something, or a few things. Let’s make it our goal to start the “packing process” at least 10 days before our future trips. Follow the steps outlined below and you’ll be set for your next big vacation!

Click Here to See the Infographic in Full Size 

Packing in 10 Days

Download: Travel Plans Checklist

Summer Vacation Planning

Make your vacation less stressful by preparing ahead of time. Be sure the house is picked up and the kitchen and bathrooms are clean before you leave, so you won’t come home to a list of chores. Ask friend to check your mail, get someone to take care of your pets, and even hire yard work to be done while you’re away. All of these things will help you relax more while you’re away from home and breathe easier when you get back.

Summer Vacation Planning

Make your vacation less stressful by preparing ahead of time. Be sure the house is picked up and the kitchen and bathrooms are clean before you leave, so you won’t come home to a list of chores. Ask friend to check your mail, get someone to take care of your pets, and even hire yard work to be done while you’re away. All of these things will help you relax more while you’re away from home and breathe easier when you get back.

Holiday Traveling you get ready to head off to visit family or take a resort vacation this holiday season, it helps to be prepared for travel surprises. According to the Better Business Bureau, many different aspects of holiday travel can have hidden fees attached, from airline pet fees to GPS usage fees in your rental car. So before you go, weigh your bag to avoid overweight baggage fees, and do your research on other possible expenses. Even if you can’t avoid extra charges, knowing about them in advance can smooth out your trip.


Travel Light

If you’re heading home from college for the weekend, make it easy on yourself and pack light. First, take all of your unneeded schoolwork and supplies out of your backpack to make room for your Hanging Toiletry Kit. Then plan ahead – select your outfits for the time you’ll be down there, fold them nicely, and put them in one or two bags. If you’re doing activities with specialized clothing, such as swimming, make sure to include swimsuits or other clothes as well. Your house will probably have clean towels – don’t pack your own.


Get More Out of Your Travel

With the right preparation, your travel time can be easier to enjoy. You can breeze through airport security by wearing shoes that are easy to remove and put on. Keep your laptop where it’s easy to access so you can get it out and replace it quickly. (The right travel bag can make that easier.) And keep your liquids in small containers under 3 ounces. Anything larger than that will be confiscated. Plus, keep your passport where you can find it easily. Passport covers can keep your valuable documents and currency close at hand.

You’ll enjoy your trip more if you can remember it. Keep a travel journal with you to take note of your favorite experiences. Travel journals are also a great way to plan your trip in advance. This will keep your lists in one place so you can more easily remember what you need to pack.


Leaving For Vacation? What About The House?

Summer break is a great time for families. It’s a time when schedules open up, albeit with effort. The kids have fewer obligations and you can finally get out and do something together. But what about the house? Here are some suggestions to ensure your property is safe while you’re gone.

Get Help From Your Neighbors

Talk with your friends before you leave on vacation and ask them to keep an eye on your house. They can collect your mail and your newspaper so it doesn’t look like you’ve abandoned your property. Let them know if you’re going to have a house sitter or if you’ve asked someone to check on your pets, so they don’t call the police when they see your niece walk into your home.

House Sitters?

If you’re going to be gone a long time, a house sitter might be a good idea. If you have relatives who are looking for a place to stay for a short time, your home might be the ideal solution. But be sure whomever you invite into your home is trustworthy. You wouldn’t be the first person to regret your decision if you come home to a damaged house. You’ll improve your odds of returning to a beautiful home if you leave a list for the house sitter to help remind them of your expectations.

Pet Care

If you leave your pets at home, be sure you get a good sitter. Finding someone who will feed your dog is one thing. Finding someone who will feed him, clean up after him, and give him a good run is even better. Remember that your pets notice when the routine changes, and it can be disturbing for them. Try to keep things as routine as possible. You might even consider sending your pet to a pet hotel or pet boarding house. These can be costly, but they’re a great way to give your pets some extra attention while you’re away. Do your research and make sure your boarding house will do what they claim to do. Regardless of whom you ask to care for your pet, it helps to keep all your pet’s health records in one place so they can easily refer to it in an emergency.

Yard Care

It shouldn’t be hard to find a kid in your neighborhood who would like to earn a few extra dollars keeping your yard looking nice while you’re away. Tell them when you’d like the lawn mowed, when you water your grass and garden. If you have a sprinkler system, show them how to use it. And to be sure they do a fantastic job, pay them in advance and offer a bonus if you are impressed when you arrive back home.

Vacations are necessary. It helps to break away from your routine now and then and just breathe. It will be a lot easier to relax if you know things are okay at home. These suggestions should help you breathe easier when you’re away.

What are some things you do before you leave for vacation?