In episode 8, Amanda Fristrom tells us all about how you can improve your traveling – using books. To help us plan ahead and make it even easier to bring along our favorites, we have a worksheet you can print out for every trip, or laminate and use dry erase markers again and again.
Step one: Read Before
Choose where you’re going, of course! But, after that is all sorted, we start our planning process with thinking about books we can read at home, before we ever step out the door.
Think “sensory;” what will you see, smell, hear, feel when you’re there? Will there be a different climate, language, people, habitat, housing, foods, or maybe even plants or animals? Try to find books that talk about these differences. Amanda talks about using flags as a great, go-to to catch the attention of her young kiddos.
You may want to think about famous people, holidays, facts, or the history of the place you are visiting. Try to incorporate their interests into the plan – and don’t forget fiction books as well!
Are you the travel book type, to read through what Lonely Planet has to say? Perhaps you want to brush up on some art history before making your way to the Louvre. There’s always Wikipedia while you’re standing in front of that painting, true. But reading about your destination before you go can help you be truly present in the moment while you’re gazing at Mona Lisa’s famous smile.
Step two: When we plan to read
Put on some relaxing music or burn a candle and imagine what the days will be like during your trip. Are you going to be in the car a lot? Perhaps you need quite a few family-friendly options to listen to. Are you going to be trapped in a single-room hotel with kids that go to sleep at 5pm and have to be in pitch-black, can’t-see- your- hand-and-don’t-even-think-about-watching-TV silence? Maybe you’ll be with family members who are learning to read, or who would love to sit with your kiddos and read for hours on end.
Now that you have a rough idea for what the days may look like, think about how you can make books work for you and take out some of the hard stuff about traveling. Feel free to get that cheesy romance for the beach. No judgement here! Maybe you want to bring along a child-friendly cookbook or science fair project book for Grandma and Grandpa to use with your kids while you run as far away as you can. Maybe you need to be holed up in London every day from noon until 2pm while your child sleeps off the jetlag. Or maybe you know you need to read to unwind after the aggravation of the rental car queue…
Step three: Books to download
Now we get down to it! If you’re planning on using books on any devices, check up on your Audible, Scribd, Libby, Kindle Fire, or whatever you use for your books, and stock up before you leave, so no lack of wifi is ever going to get you down. Write down the books you’re dying to read or listen to there, and download them!
Step four: Tech pack it
If you’re like Jill and Amanda, you have a lot of tech related to your reading these days. From kindles to headphones to splitters and chargers for all. the. things, you don’t want to be left stranded with a bunch of new books to listen to or read on that e-reader with no way to do it!
Step five and six: Book pack it
We separated this into two boxes so you can distinguish between different categories of books if you’d like. Say, children’s and adult’s books. Or leisurely reading vs. work-related. Maybe “task” books like journals vs. reading books. Maybe you’re doing one of these worksheets for each member of your family, and you just write down all those novels you’ve been saving up for yourself.
The main point is, don’t forget to pack your books!
Hopefully you’re all set to go with your books. If you want to set aside the children’s books like Amanda does so they are fresh for your kids, you can add that to your calendar or right there on the worksheet.
I am keeping my completed sheets as a part of our travel journals, a sort of snapshot of what our family’s preferences are right now and another layer of memories for our trip.
Take a picture of the lists of books and tech that you bring so you can easily remember to bring them all back.
Let us know where you’re going next, and how you’ll be using books!