Of everything involved with travel, packing can be one of the most stressful. I take two to three trips a month including weekend getaways, road trips and international journeys, so you’d think I’d have it down pat. Well, yes, I have learned a few tricks along the way. And no, I still tend to over pack.
Make a list
I have a master list on my computer that I tailor for each trip. I list everything from passport to camera bag; print it out, and, as things go in my suitcase or travel purse, I check them off.
Roll, don’t fold your clothes. They’ll take up less space and get less wrinkled.
And use packing cubes. I love packing cubes because they keep my suitcase organized especially if I am moving from hotel to hotel every night: one cube for jeans, one for tops, one for beach gear, and so forth. They come in different sizes and colors so you can remember which pouch has what in it. This way I am not digging through the suitcase looking for a pair of socks. I know right where to look.
Compression bags are great especially if you are taking along a down jacket for example. You will have a small compact bundle instead of the jacket taking up valuable suitcase space. Packing envelopes for medication, jewelry and other small items also help you stay organized. Eagle Creek is one company offering packing aids. Their line of Pack-It organizers includes packing cubes, compression bags and packing envelopes.
Small plastic containers and padded pouches are also great to protect items you don’t want damaged in transit.
Weigh before you leave for the airport
If you’re flying, a valuable tool is a luggage scale. I always weigh my suitcase before I leave home to make sure I don’t go over the weight allowed as well as leave a few pounds to spare for souvenirs on the return flight.
So you have your list, your packing aids and your scale at the ready. Beyond the necessities, what to take?
What to pack
Keep your toiletry bag packed. When you get home from a trip, restock anything you are low on and put the bag with your luggage. That’s one chore you won’t have to worry about when you start to prepare for a trip.
Check the weather – day and evening. Do you need a jacket, coat or umbrella? Consider where you are staying and where you plan to eat, casual or upscale. What activities? Do you need your bathing suit, tennis whites or hiking boots?
Don’t over pack. I should have this embroidered and hung near my suitcases. This is the hardest rule to follow, but I am getting better.
Travel is a gift, an adventure. Making the packing process easy and efficient guarantees you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your time away from home.