This blog post was updated on October 18, 2018.
It is a task many loathe. We love the travel aspect but the preparations for travel often leave us dragging our feet. One of biggest hurdles in the travel preparation department comes when we must open the suitcase and figure out what to put inside every compartment. Packing can at times turn into a race against the clock, a late night, last minute mess. If you find yourself either forgetting items or melting down at the 11th hour, here are a few tips and tricks to avoid those packing blunders.
Start with items that require little decision: If you just jump into packing all areas of your wardrobe, you are bound to get overwhelmed and have a packing meltdown. The hardest part to packing is often just starting. I always begin with items that require very little decision or consideration. I don’t have to make sure my pajamas match with everything that I am bringing. Items like pajamas, underwear and socks should be packed first. You will gradually warm up to the packing process and feel like you have accomplished a great deal.
Run through your clothing layers to ensure you don’t forget a thing: For a trip to the US South, I carelessly forgot one of my own packing rules. As a result, I ended up forgetting to pack all of my dresses. This is not too uncommon. You remember to pack items from every drawer or closet except one. A way to avoid this is to go through each layer of clothing, from the first thing you put on the morning to the last layer that you might need such as jacket, scarves, gloves and hats. If you think of packing in this manner, you won’t forget to bring sweaters or some other area of clothing. You can also do this with your toiletries by going through your daily hygiene routine in your head as you pack.
Bring a few old items to leave behind and lighten your load: Travel is not necessarily the best time to bring all of your prized possessions. If you are worried that you are packing too much, try to throw in a few items that are old or pieces that you intend to get rid of anyway. You can leave them behind on your journey almost like Hazel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. This allows you to lighten your load along the way. For example, if I have an old curling iron or T-shirts that I want to dispose of, I might pack them to ease up on my load from destination to destination.
Set aside items that you want to bring a week before your trip: The last minute, late night packing session is always utter chaos. Your flight might be in a few hours and yet you are still trying to cram everything into your bag. You don’t know where anything is and the clock is starting to tick. A million little things tend to spring up on the day before a big trip. The last thing you should have to deal with is a packing disaster. The best way to avoid a packing disaster is to merely begin packing earlier. You don’t need to physically place items in a suitcase, but merely set aside items as the week before your trip goes on. By the time it comes to pack, you won’t have to sort through clothes and accessories. You can just throw it all into the bag and be finished with the process.
How do you avoid packing meltdowns?
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