Travel Smart: 6 Epic Fails to Avoid

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travel smartUsing myself as the example of what NOT to do…I humbly share with you on how to Travel Smart …6 EPIC Fails to Avoid. Hoping this blog post makes your travels a bit more EPIC in MEMORIES and not FAILS on whatever paths you may travel these next few months.

I officially had the most EPIC FAIL as a Professional Organizer over Spring Break. No doubt my plate was full (more like over-flowing) the weeks prior: soccer tournaments, one kid got the flu and the other had a birthday, science fair competition, book edit deadline, new Avera Closet line launch at The Container Store just to name a few. In the meantime, Phil was working on our boarding passes the Friday night before our family trip to Cancun, and he
announces “Honey, my passport is expired!” If there was a nearby bucket to vomit into…I was looking for it.  All the “quick” passport services conveniently run Mon-Fri, claim to be available 24/7 for support…and it’s TOTALLY bogus! We agreed the best option was to see what the airline agent at the airport advised us to do come departure in the morning.
Off to bed we go with nervous knots in our stomach, not knowing what our options were tomorrow.  My boys tell me at bedtime …“Mom, we gotta pray BIG TIME for Daddy” and so we did. The next morning…it was one quiet drive to the airport. It finally was our turn at the counter to hear our options. The ONLY option was for me and the boys to fly out as planned and for Phil to drive Monday morning to the Main Passport Office in TUCSON (2 hours away) and then fly out Tuesday to join us on vacation.  I felt horrible that we would be leaving him behind and starting our family vacation without him.  But we had no other choice. 
The boys and I anxiously waited at the hotel the next 3 days to see if Phil would be able to fly out to us on Tuesday. Thankfully that is exactly what happened! Kudos to the gracious and ever so patient American Airlines agent who waived Phil’s plane change fee and re-booked his flight for us – sooo grateful!!!!
It honestly was a gut-wrenching experience traveling internationally without Phil who worked hard to plan the trip and then HE was the one left behind! Having family dinner on vacation with one empty chair was bizarre and felt so
out of place.
Learned Lessons:

  • Phil and I BOTH agreed we BOTH needed to have checked ALL family passports several months ago for expiration dates….Duh.
  • It didn’t matter that literally EVERYONE packed their bags several days before 
  • This stuff happens, EVEN to professional organizers, who pride themselves on, well, being organized…the point is that mistakes happen and lessons will be learned, but it’s important to be flexible, create a new game plan and a year from now it will be a great story at our next Spring Break.
  • It wasn’t the end of the world, but one day (far, far, far away) we will be able to laugh about this! 

If fails happen, it DOES make for a REALLY good story to share with others….There is ALWAYS a bright side! Here’s how to travel smart!

travel smart
1. Expired Passport: My fellow “passport authorities” told me its best for passports to ready or renewed at least 6-9 months prior to your departure date. Mark the renewal date in your calendar one year prior gives yourself and family enough time to plan your online renewal or office visit accordingly. From completing the correct application, proper head shot pic, to having documents notarized prior if BOTH parents are not present passports for minors. See link Call your local office to confirm ALL the required docs are ready BEFORE making an appointment.

2. Travel ID: Will your Driver’s License allow you to Fly? There are NEW Driver License and ID requirements nationwide starting October 2020. You will need to provide TSA a Travel ID endorsement card OR present Driver’s License and Passport to travel ANYWHERE in the U.S. If your license presents a “star” in the upper right-hand corner, then it is an approved Travel ID and you’re set for October 2020 and beyond. Hop over to for
details specific in your state.
3. Important Medications: From prescription meds to favorites go-to products for tummy or gas relief. There are just some products you can’t leave home without. For me it is my daily meds and travel sickness pills. I literally tape a note to my travel purse for packing it with me on the plane. For Phil, it is his tummy meds since many foods cause flair ups and easily ruin vacation days. We love the Glutenese Pills from Enzymedica. I roll each capsule in aluminum foil and pack in the change section of my wallet. If we aren’t sure of food ingredients, we take one before
the meal to aid in digestion.
4. Specific Clothing or Items: Ever forget to pack your ski jacket for a ski trip, dress for a special event, or child’s instrument for their concert? Since these items are NOT on your traditional “packing radar,” they can easily be left behind. Mark a massive note on your garage door where you will exit. Set an alarm notice…whatever it takes as that last-minute reminder!
travel smart
5. Print vs. Tech Directions: Phil and I have encountered some pretty unique adventures trying to navigate longer road trips where cell service was either not accurate or completely non-existent. Having a printed directional sheet on hand as a back-up option was quite helpful. A potential realty show can quickly unfold when Phil drives and I navigate, if we aren’t prepared. Thankfully, the boys know when to kindly intervene…for everyone safety and sanity!
6. Pet Support: Your entire trip is planned, and you forgot to arrange coverage for your furry friend! Consider a personal pet sitting option through a reputable service such as -the largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. A close friend of mine has listed on Rover for years and made some long-lasting relationships with pets and their owners. Try it out with a few providers so you have options when the time comes.

Danielle Wurth is the Founder/CEO of Wurth Organizing, professional organizer, speaker, author and self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. She and her team of organizing “gurus” have transformed families using her
psyche-based approach to live a more mindful and intentional lifestyle since 2007. Her work has also been featured in HGTV Magazine, Real Simple Magazine and Arizona Republic. Ignite the Organizer in You is Danielle’s first book and the companion book Ignite the Organizer in Your Child will release this Fall 2019. Danielle lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her handsome hubby and her two soccer loving sons. You will find her embracing her inner soccer mom at every game, cheering them on! 🙂 Fire up your inner organizer, implement clever organizing and efficient family living methods by following Danielle on Social via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and on the Blog at


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