A lot of people stress out about packing when they prepare to travel. When a friend was staying with us, he needed to pack for a smaller trip. He shut the door for several hours and didn’t come out until he was packed. He told us he hated packing and that he needed the solitude and privacy to get through the task.
When did my husband and I pack? We ended up packing the morning of the trip. Packing only takes us about thirty minutes – maybe longer if something goes missing. Neither one of us gets stressed out. How do we do it? Here are the strategies I use to make packing a breeze.
1. Worry about the Essentials
There are only a few things that, to me, fall under the “essential” category. I think about what they are, and then when I decide to become obsessed with worrying about something, I usually obsessively check over and over again if I’ve packed it.
For us it includes our passports and other identification, boarding pass and ticket (when applicable), eyeglasses and contact lenses, any medication, and our phone and laptop chargers. And of those, it’s really only the passport that is the most annoying to replace.
2. Pack Toiletries as you Use Them
I start packing my toiletries from the night before as I am getting ready for bed. When I finish using something, I put it in my toiletry bag. I do the same thing in the morning. This helps insure that I don’t forget anything and that I don’t work myself out.
3. Know the Climate
I can’t tell you how many times I thought the weather was going to be one thing, then I arrive at my destination, and the climate is a lot different than I expected. This means that I end up shopping for new clothing items. While shopping is fun, revamping my wardrobe while traveling isn’t exactly ideal.
4. Tell yourself you can always go shopping…
This is how I prevent myself from worrying about what to pack. No matter where I go, there are always stores. As long as I have the essentials I don’t stress too much if I forget my socks or toothbrush. These things are always replaceable.
5. Keep a Master List
I’ve packed so many times my master list is actually in my head. (I go away at least once a month.) But what happens if you only go on one or two trips a year? It helps to have a master list of things you’ll need to pack. It can really help put your mind at ease if you have some kind of list to use.
6. Always Leave Room
I always end up shopping on whichever trip I am on. For example, when I went to Helsinki a few months ago I ended up falling in love with the fashions I was seeing. I bought enough to spice up my summer wardrobe. This is great, but my suitcase was a bit cramped after I made my purchases. Pack what you think you will need, but then think about how you can reduce. I don’t always use everything I pack… you just end up using what you pack!
There is an art to effective and stress free packing. Follow these tips and you’ll be a pro in no time.