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If you put me on a scale of types, I’m even more Type A than your average Type-A person. My apartment is always clean, my bed is always made, my closet is color organized, my daily planner is colored coded, and I’m obsessed with making sure everything has a “place.” It should come as no surprise then that my travel habits mimic my Type-A lifestyle. Thankfully, the Prince is just about as much Type A as me, although maybe less high strung and a bit more relaxed! However, having a travel partner that likes to be as organized and as diligent about the details as me makes traveling stress-free for the two of us. So here are 20 signs that you might also be a crazy Type-A traveler like me!
Table of Contents
- 1. You plan you travels way in advance
- 2. You buy all the insurances offered to you
- 3. You print out all travel documents
- 4. You pack once…and then you repack
- 5. You must clean before you travel
- 6. You color code and categorize Google Maps
- 7. You download a language dictionary
- 8. You make all restaurant reservations beforehand
- 9. You compose an hour-by-hour itinerary
- 10. You have spreadsheets for everything
- 11. You take flight tracking to an extreme
- 12. You can’t stand the thought of unplanned downtime
- 13. You go to bed at 10 pm to beat the crowds
- 14. You plan for all weather scenarios
- 15. You only book refundable hotels
- 16. You maximize credit card points
- 17. You arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of time
- 18. You write detailed packing lists
- 19. You excel at comparing flight prices
- 20. You plan your next trip during your current trip
1. You plan you travels way in advance
Is your travel calendar already booked out through the rest of the year? And was it booked out by February? If you answered yes to both questions, then you’re a Type-A traveler. As I write this, I am already starting to strategize my travels for next year. As for this year, I only have 6 weekends available before the Christmas holidays! But the advance planning pays off – I tend to be able to snag amazing flight, train, and hotel deals that are long gone by the time people start planning a month or two in advance (or gasp, the weekend before!).
2. You buy all the insurances offered to you
I’m always paranoid about something going wrong – what if my train to the airport breaks down? What if I miss my flight? What if I lose my bags? Name something that can go wrong and I’ve probably already thought it. But the number one thing that paranoids me? Rental cars! Whenever the Prince and I rent a car, especially in the UK, we get full insurance. Yes, I know it’s a scam but it gives us such a piece of mind. We aren’t going to risk something going wrong while driving on the opposite side of the road!
During our Lake District road trip, we planned everything on Google maps to make sure we didn’t miss any places (and obviously got full car rental insurance!).
3. You print out all travel documents
What happens if my phone dies? My phone gets stolen? Everything on my computer is hacked? Have no fear, this is why I print out all of my documents. I have a paper copy of my passport as well as a copy of my passport on my phone, in my email, and stored at my parent’s house. That way, if something goes wrong, I can easily prove my identity and get an emergency passport. Additionally, I’d recommend making copies of everything in your wallet, especially insurance cards, etc., and keeping it separate from your wallet/purse in case it gets stolen or lost!
4. You pack once…and then you repack
As much as I try to be a light packer, clothes are my weakness. In order to not back too much, I tend to pack for longer trips a few days in advance; let it sit for a day or two; and then take everything out of my suitcase, reevaluate what I’ve packed, take items out, and pack lighter. I also make the Prince crack down on me – he’s a notoriously light packer (sometimes too light!)
Download the packing list below and never forget another item!
5. You must clean before you travel
Anyone else become a psycho apartment or house cleaner before leaving for a trip? I can’t leave for a trip unless my apartment has been dusted, vacuumed, plants watered, rugs cleaned, trashes emptied, and bed made. If it is a longer trip, we will also try to wash our sheets and/towels and leave them out to dry while we’re gone. I mean, is there a better feeling than coming home to a perfectly cleaned apartment?!
Off-roading with ATVs in Hawaii with my siblings – thankfully we had a reservation in advance!
6. You color code and categorize Google Maps
Give me a packet of pens with different colors and I’m in heaven. Google Maps makes it so incredibly easy to organize all my activities by category and color! I’ll usually have all the sightseeing activities in one category/color, food in another category/color, drinks/cafes in another category/color, and shopping in a final category/color. I’ll also label important things on the map in another color – hotel, airport, train station, etc. Additionally, you’re able to assign each location an icon. For example, I might assign a café the coffee cup icon and a restaurant the knife and plate icon. This makes it easy to visually see the map on the go! Lastly, not only can you add notes about each location (ex. “rated the best coffee shop in Hamburg”), but it’s super simple to download and use Google Maps offline!
7. You download a language dictionary
I’ll be honest, when it comes to languages, the Prince totally destroys me. While my German has drastically improved these past few years (that’s what happens when you work in German all day!), the Prince has such a natural gift for languages. He not only speaks native German and totally fluent (I’d argue native) English, but he’s also quite conversational in French and can understand basic Dutch. While I strive to keep up with him, I’ll never match his language skills (funny fact: he once failed English which always makes me laugh because people mistake him for American all the time…and that’s coming from other Americans!). However, before traveling, I always make sure to either have a list of handy local phrases, a language dictionary, and/or data on my phone to use Google Translate!
Going to Lisbon, Portugal in December with the Prince meant we had cheap hotel and flight prices while still enjoying amazing weather!
8. You make all restaurant reservations beforehand
The Prince and I take food very seriously and leave nothing to chance. This means writing down all the places for our meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as coffee shops) and planning our daily route according to our meals. Additionally, if possible, we always make reservations ahead of time! Last time we went to Edinburgh for 4 days, we probably had 6 or 7 different reservations made a month in advance. In Hamburg, going out to eat almost always requires a reservation so it’s second nature for us to now make reservations for everything!
9. You compose an hour-by-hour itinerary
You can never be too prepared, can you!? I hate nothing more than backtracking, repeating myself, or wasting precious time (especially because most of my trips are quick, 48-hour weekend trips). This means looking up local attractions and places of interest before even leaving, planning out everything on a map, making a logical route for each day, and then planning out the hours. Yes, it might be a bit over-the-top but it works for me and the Prince, and it’s an easy way to make sure we don’t miss any place of importance!
Additionally, we might prioritize some attractions over others if we know they get crazy busy. For instance, when we visited the Vatican, we bought tickets in advance for when it opened. Even though we ended up backtracking, it was worth it because we were able to get ahead of the crowds.
10. You have spreadsheets for everything
I’m the queen of spreadsheets, especially if they’re shared on Google Docs. When the Prince and I moved into our apartment, we wrote down every single item we needed to buy, the German and English word for it, the location of where we were buying it, the price of the item, and a link to the item! A bit psycho but it worked :) Our travels are no different – it’s an easy way to keep track of hotels, tours, costs, itinerary, etc. Plus, they can be opened almost anywhere as long as there is wifi so no stress in not having all the information. I’ve planned entire trips on one single spreadsheet and utilize them for all aspects of my life.
11. You take flight tracking to an extreme
I don’t just track my own flight – I will also track my inbound flight and the inbound flight of the inbound flight! If I have a flight in the evening, I’ll start tracking that morning. Some airlines (like EasyJet) make it simple to track inbound flights through their app. The rest of them require the use of a third-party website. I prefer Flight Aware – it makes it easy to see the inbound flights and allows me to figure out whether I’m going to have a flight delay or not.
12. You can’t stand the thought of unplanned downtime
Downtime to me = wasted time, especially when I’m on a weekend trip and have less than 48 hours. I find it really hard to ever fully relax – I always have to be doing something. For example, as I write this post, I’m also watching a movie. It’s hard for me to justify sitting down for 2 hours and not doing anything. So when I’m traveling, every minute of my day is planned. I won’t lie – it is exhausting. However, on these short weekend trips, I really feel like I need to make the most out of every day! With a pre-planned Excel spreadsheet and Google Doc, I always have my schedule easily accessible. I also try to book my attractions in advance (if possible), especially if I know the place fills up quickly!
Don’t worry, my trip to Paris was planned to the exact hour – including almost all reservations along with an extensive Google map of locations!
13. You go to bed at 10 pm to beat the crowds
No shame, I like my sleep and despise the thought of clubbing. If anything, I’ll sit at an outdoor bar until 9:00 or 10:00 pm and then it’s time for me to go to bed. Thankfully, the Prince hates clubbing as much as me. We even call ourselves grandparents because we’ll be the first people to always leave a party. However, in maximizing my time on vacation, it’s super important that I don’t stay out too late (or else I sleep in the next day and end up losing an entire morning!). A few weekends ago, I woke up at 7:00 am to photograph the streets of Trento, Italy before the city woke up! As they say, the early bird gets the worm and as much as I hate waking up early on vacation, it’s so critical for taking advantage of everything.
14. You plan for all weather scenarios
Maybe I plan a bit too much (some might call me an overpacker!) but I’m always prepared with a jacket, umbrella, sweater, t-shirt, jeans, and any other relevant weather attire. As my grandma loves to say, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” Wise words, grandma. And when all else fails and I run out of suitcase room, I take over the Prince’s suitcase!
In all honesty, I always look at the high and low temperatures and plan for anything between that range. Additionally, if it shows more than a 10% chance of rain, I’m definitely packing my umbrella and any other relevant rain gear. The weather app on my iPhone makes it so easy to track multiple cities. And trust me, this Type-A traveler tends to track 5-10 cities at a time!
15. You only book refundable hotels
Unless I’m getting a once-in-a-lifetime, absolutely amazing hotel deal, I refuse to book anything non-refundable. The price difference between a refundable and non-refundable hotel is usually less than $50 and it gives me comfort knowing that I could cancel last minute if needed.
I also use refundable hotels to leverage future hotel prices. There have been several times when the price of a hotel decreased after we booked it (especially on websites like booking.com). I’ll then cancel the initial hotel reservation and rebook, getting myself a cheaper price while not having to pay a cancellation fee. It’s a win-win situation!
The Prince and I absolutely loved our trip to Pearl Harbor. We reserved all our tickets in advance so we didn’t have to line up once we got there (or worse, get to the counter and realize tickets sold out – which happens often!)
16. You maximize credit card points
I’ll be honest (and I’m quite embarrassed to admit it) but I only recently got into credit card point hacking. I have the Capital One Venture card which gave me a 50,000 point bonus if I spent $3,000 in the first 3 months. Additionally, I get 2x the amount of points on all purchases and 10x the amount of points when I book hotels through hotels.com. I’ve only had my card for 6 months and I’ve already racked up 100,000 points (a few hotels purchases, such as Oktoberfest in Munich, bagged me close to 10,000 points!).
For me, it was important to look for a card that not only maximized my travel habits but also complemented my life in Germany. It’s important to note, Germany is not a credit card society! So I didn’t want to get a card that had high returns on gas (don’t have a car) or restaurants/groceries (most places won’t take a credit card here!). The Capital One Venture gives me no foreign transaction fees, credit towards Global Entry, travel and car rental insurance, tons of airline partners, and only has a $95 yearly fee. Lastly, it has an amazing app that allows me to check my account at the click of a button!
17. You arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of time
I’m not a nervous flyer but I am a nervous pre-flyer. I constantly worry that I won’t get to the airport on time, the check-in counters will be too packed, the security lines will be too long, passport control will take forever, or something else will happen. If possible, I’ll always arrive at the airport 2-3 hours ahead of time and then get settled at my gate with a coffee, snack, and my laptop.
Funnily enough, Hamburg Airport is one of the most efficient and highly-ranked airports in all of Europe. Last time I came to the airport, I timed myself from the moment I left the train to when I got through security. Total timing? 7 minutes! I’m probably a bit dramatic about being at the airport so early but it makes me feel just so much more relaxed!
Proof that I am able to relax – sometimes ;)
18. You write detailed packing lists
Not going to lie, I have a complete packing list on my phone that I refer to every time I go on my trip. After having several separate packing lists on my phone, I combined it into one PDF and use it for all my travels. Not only does it make my packing go so much more quickly, but I rarely ever forget something and have packing down to a T (errr…except the occasional overpacking!).
Download your packing list below and never forget another item!
19. You excel at comparing flight prices
Besides booking my flights several months in advance in order to snag the best prices (especially for peak travel seasons and/or holidays), I’m constantly comparing and checking prices on several websites and browsers! If I don’t have a specific destination in mind but want to travel a specific weekend or month, I’ll head over to Skyscanner to see the cheapest option(s) for that particular weekend or month.
However, if I have a specific location in mind, I’ll go immediately to Google Flights. Because the Prince and I plan our travels so far in advance, we’re usually flexible on our travel dates. For instance, we’ll know that we want to head to a specific location during autumn for a weekend trip but don’t really care about which weekend it is. Google Flights allows me to compare all the weekends and find which one is the cheapest. It’s been a great tool for saving us hundreds of dollars for flights around Europe. I’m also able to filter by take-off time (has to be after work on a Friday for me!) as well as Basic Economy seats vs. Economy seats for long-haul flights. There’s nothing worse than finding a great long-haul flight deal, getting ready to book, and realizing that you’ll have to pay $200-$300 extra for seats and luggage!
When we are traveling to a specific destination on a specific date (with very little wiggle room), I will cross check prices between Momondo and Google Flights. Several times, I’ve found slightly cheaper flights through Momondo. As always, if you book through a third-party ticket website, you take on more of a risk! If ticket prices are only $50-$100 on these third-party ticket websites, I’ll always book directly with the airline.
One of my favorite vacation spots in the world – Heidelberg, Germany!
20. You plan your next trip during your current trip
The ultimate sign of being a Type-A traveler? You’ve already planned your next trip while on your current trip. I can’t tell you how many times the Prince and I have had such a wonderful time on a trip that we’ve booked a trip back to the same location…during our current trip (examples include any UK road trip, London, Edinburgh, and Heidelberg!). While I love going out and exploring new places, there’s something really special and charming about visiting a place for a second, third, or fourth time – it’s relaxing, you have your favorite spots, and you have a better lay of the land. There’s nothing like booking another trip while still enjoying your current trip!
While the Type-A traveler is not for everyone, it works perfectly for me. Because everything is organized, planned, booked, and reserved, I can spend all my trips and vacations relaxing instead of worrying over the small details! Thank goodness I have a travel partner that’s exactly the same way as me. Instead of us compromising, we tend to both push our Type-A tendencies :) We know that whenever we travel with each other, we haven’t missed any details. And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve looked at each other and said, “thank goodness we booked that dinner reservation in advance!” For us, being Type-A travelers pays off in the long term and usually ends up saving us hundreds of dollars!
So let me know in the comments below if you’re a crazy, diligent Type-A traveler like me and what tendencies you have when traveling!