This semester involves a lot of travel for me, for work, dance, and family reasons. In short, from September-December I have 12 trips planned or completed:
- 4 conferences (3 research, 1 admin)
- 5 dance competitions (3 as teacher/parent, 1 as teacher/parent/organizer, and 1 as judge)
- 3 personal/family (1 funeral, 1 wedding, 1 holiday)
Most of these are weekend+ trips, with the exception of the funeral (one day), and an international conference and holiday trip (both one week). For the conferences, I generally travel alone, but the rest of the trips usually involve one or more family members. Conferences and family trips I generally fly to (although two were in driving distance this time) and dance competitions I usually drive 6-8 hours to (unless judging, in which case I normally fly).
As a general rule, I enjoy traveling, and obviously I chose to make the majority of these trips. However, I’m less thrilled about the logistics of traveling, such as packing, purchasing flights/hotels, arranging entertainment, etc. These have gotten even less thrilling as I have to pack and make arrangements for more people and spend time looking for extra funding/creative and budget-friendly ways to travel as our travel budgets are cut.
So, Trello to the rescue! Because I have three main types of travel (conference, dance, and family) I have three Trello boards that serve as templates for this type of travel. When a new trip comes up, I copy the relevant board and rename it for that specific trip (e.g. ACTFL 2019).
All of these boards have the same basic lists: Inbox, To Do, Doing, Done, Travel, and Reference.
Inbox: This is where I save incoming information about the trip (usually from my email) until it gets put in another list.
To Do: Fairly obvious, but this includes all of the things I need to do before, during, and after the trip. For example, travel arrangements, attending an event, submitting reimbursements. I also have packing checklist cards for myself and the kids (my husband is in charge of his own packing), as well as other specialized packing lists (family travel, dance competition, cooler, etc.).
Doing: If something is in progress (like writing a paper) it goes here.
Done: The best list! Not that I want the trips to be done, but the logistics, yes.
Travel: Here is where I place emails about travel arrangements (using the save to Trello function)
Reference: This is where I put other reference information about the trip, again usually saved from email, such as special events, or a conference app or registration confirmation.
Each week, during my weekly planning, I check in on each upcoming trip and see what I can accomplish in terms of the logistics. I try to make reservations fairly far in advance, but if I’m waiting on funding or other information, that can be difficult.
When it comes time to pack, I pull up Trello on my phone and have my packing list all ready to go. I also try to streamline packing by having some bags always ready to go (toiletries for all family member, cords, entertainment bags for the kids, outdoor dance competition bag) but I usually need to do a quick check that all of these bags contain what they are supposed to (for example, my six year old likes to steal shampoo bottles out of the travel bags to use as her phone). Because Trello lets you have multiple checklists on a card, I can have parts of my checklist that I delete if they aren’t relevant to the trip. For example, on my own packing list I have checklists for judging and conference travel that I delete if I’m going on a family trip.