A smart packing strategy can make all the difference in turning your next travel into a safe, comfortable journey even if packing has been a nightmare for you in the past. Whether you will be travelling soon or want to avoid repeating the disorganization of your last vacation, here are some smart packing ideas plus my master packing list.
The strategy is all about the list!
My master travel list contains just about every type of item you want to consider when packing for any type of trip. The strategy is to make copies of the list and put a copy in each suitcase. Having a copy right there forces you to look at it and think through what you are packing without relying solely on your memory.
You will also want a soft copy of the master travel list on your phone so that you can replenish your supplies as needed in between trips.
You certainly won’t be packing all these things for each trip, but it’s a good idea to review each time you pack.
Timing is key. My best advice is to not wait to pack until the last minute. Especially if it’s a fun trip, it’s so much nicer to get ready in advance so you are relaxed on your journey. Scrambling around the night before a big trip is no fun.
Have your toiletries bag packed and ready to go. This is one time that having a few duplicates can be helpful. Your toiletries bag set up and in your suitcase can save lots of steps in packing. Just be sure to restock your supplies after each trip.
If you are trying to pack lightly, think in terms of “If I need this, could I get it there?” Most hotel bathrooms have all the basics stocked and some hotels, Westin comes to mind, now provide workout gear for you to borrow at many of their locations
Pack outfits, not items. Think: top, bottom, socks, shoes accessories for each outfit. Don’t pack a top unless you know what bottoms, shoes, and accessories you will wear with it. Avoids getting to your destination with incomplete outfits.
Conversely, don’t pack outfits you probably won’t need. “What if” outfits can eat up lots of space. Yes, there might be a sudden unexpected cold snap, but pack for the “probably” and not the “maybe.”
Packing cubes: I’m a fan! I find them to be very helpful in keeping things orderly. Buy a different colored set for each member of the family. In most cases, you’ll pack a cube based on type of object: socks in one, undies in another, tee shirts in another.. or you can pack each one with a different complete outfit if that idea appeals to you.
Prepare for the possibility of losing your luggage. It happens! Once, upon arriving in Las Vegas, someone made off with our luggage by just picking it off the baggage carousel before we had even gotten the baggage claim. Ugh! Our first stop after getting our rental car was to a department store to buy clothes and toiletries. It was a pain, but it didn’t ruin our vacation.
To be truly prepared, think in terms of this question when deciding what you will put in your carry on: If your luggage doesn’t arrive with you, could you charge your phone, find your hotel, get your rental car, take needed meds, have enough money/credit cards to buy what you need?
With a little preparation, travel can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, full of memorable adventures and perfectly packed suitcases.