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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Countdown to Memorial Day: Geralin Thomas' Travel Tips

Spring has sprung, and the countdown to summer's unofficial start on Memorial Day has begun! As temperatures rise, I find that travel planning increases so this is the second in my series of interviews highlighting frequent travelers' preferences and best practices, giving you takeaways to try for your next trip.

Ms. Geralin Thomas
This week, I am pleased to share my interview with Geralin Thomas, an organizing consultant who owns Metropolitan Organizing and is best known for her appearances on A and E's television show, Hoarders. Ms. Thomas is an author, speaker, instructor, consultant and career coach. Prior to becoming a professional organizer, Ms. Thomas worked in the travel industry; now, she travels heavily for television appearances as well as public speaking opportunities. Click for Ms. Thomas' bio on her website, including her list of Free Checklists that offers "Packing For a NAPO Conference", and continue for her most valuable travel hacks.

ESP: Do you travel mainly for business, pleasure or both?

GT: When on the road for business, I try to squeeze in a little fun distraction. Sometimes, it's a visit with a nearby friend or family member. Sometimes, it's a city tour or museum visit. Often, I reach out to someone with whom I socialize on social media, but I make sure to include pleasure with my business while traveling.

ESP: Do you prefer traveling via plane, train, boat or automobile?

GT: In real life, I travel almost always via car or plane. I like direct, cross-country flights because I can accomplish a lot of work in 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted time alone.

ESP: What is your favorite destination and why?

GT: My two favorite vacation places are Positano and St. Barts. Both places offer the best chefs preparing the very freshest meals with simple ingredients, the sea, the sun, fashion and local hospitality.

ESP: What is your preference for airlines?

GT: Delta Airlines is my preferred airline because I feel like they try harder in every single way to make the trip a little more pleasant.

ESP: What is your preference for hotels or accommodations?

GT: When it comes to hotels, I'm not quite as brand loyal. Instead, my priorities are a safe neighborhood, a clean and updated room, WiFi as well as plentiful elevators!

ESP: Do you book your own travel or prefer a travel agency?

GT: I used to be a travel agent so, almost all of the time, I book my own. However, if I were going on a river cruise or something like that which is outside the realm of my experience, I would most likely use an experienced agent.

ESP: When flying, what do you ensure is in your carry-on?

GT: My packing list for vacation travel is included on pages 168 and 169 of my book, Decluttering Your Home Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets, including sections for the basics, personal items, carry-on items and a few extras. Alternatively, for business travel, especially to a National Association of Professional Organizers' (NAPO) Conference, my business trip packing list is on my website.

ESP: Do you keep an extra bag of toiletries packed?

GT: I have a hanging bag with compartments that stays stocked and ready to roll 24/7. However, my cosmetics are kept in a bathroom drawer and packed according to destination, season, clothing capsule colors, etc.

ESP: How do you organize your time while on-the-go?

GT: While I use an electronic calendar for all recurring events, I still prefer a paper planner when it comes to daily, one-on-one, phone or video appointments. In my paper planner, I get very creative. I not only take notes and make sketches, but I play with colors and shapes that suit each client. Most of my "career coaching" with professional organizers and "wardrobe wisdom" coaching is done virtually. That means that, even while on the road, I can easily honor appointments with clients from numerous time zones.

ESP: What tools or tactics do you use to keep your accommodations organized while traveling?

GT: Small, separate, zippered cases are my sanity-saving secret, and it's not just on the road. I use them at home, too. Everything gets bundled and, then, is popped in and out of bigger tote bags as I need them. Here are a few examples:
- travel documents
- receipts
- phone charger
- ear buds
- computer charger
- pool / beach goodies
- fitness necessities
I do this with my "wardrobe wisdom" clients as well, bundling their jewelry in small mesh bags and hanging each bag with whichever garments that jewelry will be worn.

ESP: Do you use technology to help stay productive and organized? If so, what's your favorite program, app, website or tech tool for surviving the chaos of daily life?

GT: I regularly use Evernote, Hipmunk, Momondo, Skyscanner and GateGuru.

ESP: What are your "must haves" for being your best while traveling?

GT: I must have a good night's sleep. For me, that requires the following:
- a comfortable mattress, pillows and bedding
- no ambient light at night
- a quiet room away from the elevators and ice machines
Additionally, I must have a well-lit bathroom, towels that are thick and absorbent, great water pressure in the shower, plenty of outlets in the room so I can charge my devices as well as easy access to hot tea and coffee in the early morning hours.

ESP: Across all your travels, which restaurant did you enjoy most, why was it your favorite and what was the best food?

GT: Don't get me wrong; I've eaten at some very fine restaurants, but I think of myself as more of a relationship person --- not a foodie. I find that a very average meal becomes extraordinary when shared with an enjoyable dining companion. It's usually not so much about the food but more about the company I'm keeping. Some of the very best times of my life were had while eating ho-hum food with interesting, charismatic or hilarious friends, acquaintances or strangers.

ESP: If you could have one super power to make traveling (or life in general) a little better, what would it be?

GT: While traveling, I've often thought that, if I had the ability to understand and fluently converse in all languages, it would be a huge asset.

Thanks for sharing so many excellent tidbits, Ms. Thomas!

Readers, to learn more about Ms. Thomas, click-through to her Wikipedia page. Do your preferences mirror hers? Do you use any of the tools or hacks she's mastered over her countless travels? Which of her tips do you plan to implement?

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