Packing for a trip big or small can be very overwhelming. I know from experience from having left important items behind before when things were less organized. It's not fun getting to your location and realizing you have no cozy pajama pants to get into after a long drive or flight. This year I have made more trips then I have in my whole life and to keep the packing stress free I have learnt to do things in a precise way. I'm not the only one heading to airports at 5 AM or setting out in the car on a long road trip with two kids under the age of 6. I know that packing is an essential part of keeping things smooth and in order around you when traveling and so here are some of the things I've learnt about packing that I'd like to share:
1) Pack in advance but not too far in advance. I like to keep to a 24 hour rule both in my packing and an even harder one- in my unpacking. Even if this means dumping everything you need into a suitcase the night before you set out and then making everything more neat before leaving and adding in the daily items such as a hairbrush, deodorant and toothbrush after using them, it saves time and means you will be far more calm and un-rushed as you select your items. This also ensures the probability that you will end up with everything you need on arrival.
2) Keep a standard packing checklist on your computer to be adjusted for different weather situations and occasions or do it the old fashioned way with a pad of paper and pen. I like to print two copies. I then use one before my trip and reserve the second for when I leave to go back home to ensure I leave nothing behind either. Checking it all off is not only very fulfilling but also guarantees no left behind essentials.
3) Pack in piles. If you are traveling with more then 1 person, ecspecially little ones, it helps to keep each persons things separated and easy to locate from the start. This means that after a long tiring journey you simply need to lift each persons pile/piles out and put them where they will belong for your stay. If you will be living out of your suitcase over a weekend it will be even more ideal. I also tend to organize my piles in the order of when things will be used so that I don't have to go digging down for things on the bottom of the suitcase and make a huge mess of everything.
5) Keep documents and smaller essentials in a purse or carry on. Traveling internationally or over borders means you will be furnishing passports, id's, boarding passes and whatever else is required. You often may also need your phone to look up directions or terminal numbers and even possibly require a pen to fill out customs forms as well. Keeping these important items easy to reach for in a backpack or over the shoulder bag will keep pulling them out swift and simple each time they are required. I include these items on my packing list and prepare them when I pack my suitcase to ensure I have everything from a simple pack of chewing gum to more important items such as documents.
I have so many tips and tricks to offer when it comes to the packing subject and I'm sure I left out several great tidbits. Don't fret, I'll be back with more in a future post at a later time. In fact, I may just share my own personal standard packing list pdf in that one. Let me know if you'd like me to do that in the comments form. This topic is one I could go on and on about. If you could think of some crazy packing mishap it's surely happened to me! This means I work very hard to pack properly and avoid any issues at all cost.
Do you have any packing guidelines you stick to to keep things running smoothly when you travel?
Please do share some of your ideas in the comments form as we can all benefit from them I'm sure!