2018 was the year of travel and we still have one last trip to go before ringing in 2019! After forgetting quite a few things during the first trip I vowed to get my shit together to not run out of clean underwear again. Here’s how I keep from under/over packing and forgetting things.
1. I made a list
It kinda seems like a no-brainer, but I needed a list I could revisit, revise, and reuse for each trip we went on. I used to just write things down fresh each time which led to a lot of mishaps and forgetting common things I thought for sure, “I wouldn’t forget.”
So I opened up a word document, typed in all of the items Alex and I need to travel with. At the top of the list I put spaces to write where, when, and for how long we will be there. That way I can make sure to pack accurate amounts of clothing depending on trip length. Then I duplicated the list so there were two on the page. I printed it out on sticker paper and cut it out. Presto. Custom packing list I can put into whatever notebook I’m using at the time. I felt like a bloody genius and showed Alex the list way too many times. One time would have sufficed. But no. I kept shoving my creation in his face like a proud parent. But I digress….
2. I start early, but not TOO early
So the thing about me is I worry. Like a lot. I’m the type of person that’ll pack a suitcase two weeks in advance out of anxiety and have to keep going back into the suitcase to grab things I need. This ultimately leads to me thinking something’s in the suitcase when in fact I took it out five days ago and forgot. So I’ve trained myself to still pack early, but not so early that it causes issues. I try and start the initial packing stages about three days before we leave for a trip. That way I can make sure I can clean anything I might need and have plenty of time.
3. I reference the list
I mean that’s what a list’s for, right? Since I do start packing a few days in advance, I can’t pack everything at once. So I make sure to check the list regularly to know what I still have left to pack. There are always those last minute items you throw into a suitcase right before you leave. The list is great at making sure those aren’t missed in the sleep-deprived early morning rush to get to the airport.
4. I bring the list for the return journey
Usually I’ll just use the same list to make sure we bring everything back home that we left with. No forgotten cell phone chargers in hotel rooms for us.
5. I update the list
I realize that the point of this post is to go on and on about this list I made, but seriously. It’s a huge help. Once we get back from a trip I’ll revise the list to remove anything we didn’t end up bringing and adding any items I hadn’t thought of previously. That way when the next trip rolls around, I’m more prepared than ever before and my anxiety is being well managed.
Even if it’s just a document you print off on computer paper and keep in a folder, having a regularly updated list can save you a lot of stress when it comes to packing for trips. Plus it’s a great way to help pack for other people. Alex is much more carefree about travel than I am, so I like to pack his things ahead of time for him. The list helps to make sure we’re both on the same page and I’m packing things I know he needs and he knows what’s going into the suitcase.
How do you pack for travel? What’s your technique?