Simplifying our travel experience

After having someone walk off with our luggage a second time in 2 years (both times by accident), we decided to add luggage tags to all of our suitcases.  Originally, we tried the store-bought tags, but they often fell apart after a few trips, and the customized online tags seemed like a poor ROI, as we wanted to place two tags on every bag and not have to add/remove the tags every trip.

The solution was to have business cards printed on colored paper – double-sided.  This can be done with a MS Word template, or you can actually have business cards created via several methods.  FedEx Office (previously Kinko’s) will laminate the cards and provide the plastic loops for ~$2/each.  In fact, you can walk into any FedEx Office and ask them how to do the entire project if you want to avoid the smallest amount of cognitive discomfort.  We’ve been using these for about 8 years, and only one has broken in all that time.

No Parking

Pros:

  • The total time to complete the project was less than an hour.
  • The tags were completely unique and high quality, unlike the store-bought items.
  • The solution is cheap enough to have extras made for new bags and broken tags.
  • Since implementing, no airline has ever lost our bags, and no one has ever taken our bags.
  • With two on each bag, we can always see our bags on the conveyor from a distance. (i.e. No more checking bags that look like yours.)
  • With these, there is no more scrambling to fill out the airline-specific tags while impatient passengers wait on you at the check-in counter.

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Printed Grocery List

About 5 years ago, we decided to streamline the repetitive nature of our weekly shopping trips. (…and by we, I have to confess I’m not the key grocery shopper in the family.) After several renditions, the list has evolved into much more than an alphabetized ordering of our most used items, here’s an example of our most recent version.

A couple of mentions about the subtle metadata within the list:

1) Red text allows for blue/black ink or pencil to be visible.
2) Organization is by department within the store, including the typical route through our neighborhood store.
3) Yellow indicates a “staple”, which is something that is needed almost every trip, whether marked or not.

Typically, we print 5-6 off at a time and update the sheet as our habits change. At first we tried to do this with an online version but found there was no substitute for the quick checkoff via pen/pencil. Keeping this in Google Docs allows for editing to be done anywhere, but for those preferring a retro approach, Excel will work fine.

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