A trick I have learned from traveling with medical supplies is packing strategically and having an organized list. Yes, that means color coding, bold type, and underlined titles. However, before you think I am this detailed in real life, I am actually the very opposite. Before my accident, I was the person who would make a list in their head and pack 3 hours before I left for the trip (It drove my mother crazy). Now, I have greater responsibilities that require planning and organization, but it was definitely a learning process.
So here I am, becoming independent with hopes to travel solo like some of my experienced quad friends. Here are a few strategies I use to stay organized while traveling with caregivers:
Uniform luggage is a game changer whether you’re traveling by car or plane. If you are traveling by car, it makes stacking and organizing the luggage easier. If you are traveling by plane, it’s easier to keep track of your bags and identify them. If you travel with 3+ bags like me, you probably understand. At the end of this post, I will share a few links to rolling duffle bags that I LOVE and are similar to mine. These bags have several medium-large pockets for organizing items and multiple handles for transport. With these various pockets, I can separate my medical supplies from personal items, such as clothes, which is great for organization or privacy. My favorite pocket in this bag is the bottom compartment which is where I usually pack the medical supplies.
A Detailed Packing List
This can save you time and confusion when packing and traveling. Obviously, you can use this list for packing but it also saves you the stress of searching through bags to find an item. Instead, you can navigate the bags with a list. Your list may be based off your luggage, days traveling, and mode of transportation. Based on these situations, a detailed list is extremely convenient, especially when traveling with a caregiver. I categorize my list by these groups
a. The Basics
Then, I list what bag and compartment each category was placed. For example, if I pack “The basics” I will list it under “Blue duffle bag,” color code it, and mark it in “top compartment.”
Here is an example:
Blue duffle bag
The Basics: (Top compartment)
T-shirts or tank tops
Pants or capris
Jewelry (organized into a smaller bag)
Swimsuit and swimming gear
Intentional Carry-on bags and items
For me, I am very intentional about what I put in my carry-on bag. Typically, I pack my laptop and laptop gear, a few snacks, or a book, but what is important about the carry-on is packing extra catheters and medicine. My fear is traveling with misplaced luggage. Imagine going to grab your luggage to find out it went on a different flight. Now imagine being stuck without a catheter or medicine for two or three days. These items are not easily replaceable, and your life could depend on it (quite literally). If you travel with your irreplaceable necessities, make sure you pack some extras into your carryon!
Debrief the successes and failures of your trip
When you get back to your home sweet home, write down the success and failures so you are better prepared for the next trip. What could have gone better and how can you fix it? Does your list need better detailing? This tip can save you from future failures, especially while you adapt to a new world of travel!
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips! As promised, here are a few links to duffle bags for traveling.