How to Pack with Ease

Pack like a champ

I’ve traveled a lot. So you would think that means I’m a champ when it come to packing and I can compete in the world race for efficient speed packing and never forget a thing.

Well….that would be nice. I can’t say I’m amazing at it, no matter how much I do it. Every now and then I still have the last minute suitcase squeezing that lasts till 2 in the morning. But then I also have times, like I just had last night, where everything goes in easy breezy and I’m all set in 10 minutes.

The trip style makes a big difference here. This easy packing was for a casual trip that required nothing but a few layers of clothes at a moderate winter temperature, and the very basics in toiletries. I have other trips that demand more strategy, such limited time where I only want a carry-on, but the strategy of bringing a variety of shoes for gym, business meetings, outdoor exploring, and possibly nights out on the town. Those wardrobes take more thinking! But cross-use of shoes and clothes with mixed use, like blazers are a good help.

No matter what the case, I have a couple tips for you on how to pack.

1. Have a toiletries bag nearly ready to go.

I don’t unpack and pack my toiletries every trip I take. I have the travel-sized bag ready to go, and do a quick check to see that everything fits and I haven’t run out of anything.

2. Keep plastic baggies in your suitcase so that they’re handy to pack your shoes in (and keep your clothes away from the dirt and germies). Another good idea is keep a ziploc baggie handy in your suitcase. Use this if you want to pack large toiletry items that don’t fit easily in your toiletry bag and/or might leak. I often use this for sunscreen and perfume. Sometimes I prefer my full-sized perfume, but it has a history of leaking. And if I’m heading somewhere sunny, I need more than the TSA sized sunscreen, so I opt for the large size and separate it from other toiletries since it’s also had its leaky moments.

3. Pack everything the day before the trip, and if there’s anything you’ve left out because you’re using it, keep a sticky note in a prominent place to remind you to take the last of these.

4. If you’re the type who often forgets key things or spends extra mental energy thinking of what to bring, use the list below, and then build on it depending on your destination and purpose of trip.

Your starter packing list

  • Clothing
  • Shirts/blouses
  • Pants/shorts
  • Sweater or lightweight fleece
  • Jacket
  • Undies
  • Socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Shoes
  • Travel Documents (itinerary, reservation #s, etc)
  • Money, cash and credit card
  • Small day pack or purse
  • Insurance info
  • Phone & Charger
  • Electric converter
  • Toiletries
  • Alarm (unless your phone doubles as alarm)
  • Camera + battery charger
  • GPS (especially if you plan on driving…but I like this even for walking sometimes!)

…now, do you need to add blazers and pumps for a conference? Or a swimsuit and sunscreen for a beach vacay? Fill in the gaps and make this whole packing job into more of a challenge.

Who knows, maybe you could pack in record time, without forgetting a thing, and award yourself nicely with a Best Packer Award pin to wear.

suitcases

Photo courtesy of Harry

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