You booked a trip. Yay! How exciting. Where are you going on your excursion? Vegas? New York? Thailand?
Travel is exciting, fulfilling and liberating. Packing, however, is not.
I don’t know about you, but I always make lists of what I want to pack. I think of where I’m going, what I need, what outfits I want to rock when I’m there, what I’m missing and need to buy, etc.
So then I tell myself ‘I will pack a week before the trip since I don’t need those things for the week on my day-to-day’. Then it’s 5 days before my trip and I tell myself, ‘I will pack today or tomorrow for sure, so I have a few days left to change my mind about things I packed’. Then it’s the day before the trip and I still haven’t packed and I tell myself ‘Pack today girl! Don’t leave it ‘til the last minute'. You’ll regret it when you’re up all night before your flight’. Next thing you know, it’s 11pm the night before my 6am flight, and I’m trying on clothes, hating outfits I envisioned in my head, and struggling to remove the items I overpacked because now my luggage is just way too full and I’m telling myself ‘yes, 5 pairs of shoes for 3 days IS necessary - you can’t tell me otherwise!’. I’m convinced I need to pack 2 jackets, multiple pants in case of a spill on one pair, and extra heels in case one breaks (this comes from experience of breaking heels while travelling, albeit a rare experience). I have to try to merge all my required liquid products into tiny bottles. I decide which hair tools are REALLY needed and which I can live without (the answer being none, since I end up with my hair in a bun for 90% of my trip).
Packing is literally a sh*t show. I show up at the airport every single time, exhausted and delirious because I’ve gotten 30 minutes of sleep while clothed in my travel outfit. I stand in lines feeling like I’m going to keel over and dying for some hydration and food.
This post came to fruition because I’m leaving for New York on Saturday for a weekend trip. I’m telling myself, ‘Pack light, pack light. You can do it!’ I’ve already started my list, which admittedly helps, but doesn’t stop the procrastination - in fact, it might even enable it because in my mind I feel like I’ve got a plan on paper, but in reality, it’s never quite that organized.
So I’ve decided to encourage myself and my readers with this packing to-do list. I swear to myself I’ll start packing tonight. How hard could it be?
Get your luggage out a week or so prior to your trip. If you see it sitting there empty you’ll possibly be inspired and encouraged to start.
Make a list. Use your notes app in your phone. You can revise easily and add to it whenever something pops into your head. This way when you start packing, you’ve got a head start on the necessities. Cross-check the list once more when you complete the packing to make sure you’ve got everything you intended to pack. If you have no idea where to start, they are super easy to find online. Depending on where you’re travelling to you can also find suggestions on Pinterest like, ‘Outfits for New York in the Winter’.
Try your ‘planned' outfits on a few days before packing to ensure they fit how you like and serve their purpose. Take pics of your outfits. Send them to friends and get your friend’s feedback. Make sure they fit the occasions/weather/etc.
Mix ‘n’ match. Look at the things you want to pack. How can you combine and merge the pieces to make multiple outfits? Do the colours of all your outfits coordinate? This way you can reduce the number of things you pack. It’s that whole ‘turn a day outfit into a night outfit’ idea. It’s worth a try. If a piece doesn’t really work with anything else you’ve packed, leave it behind. Tips on mixing and matching outfits.
Wear your heavy stuff on the plane. If you want to bring a certain jacket or sweater that is bulky, wear it on your travels, this way your luggage is less cramped.
I’m the queen of ‘just in case’ items. Just in case I sunburn; get the flu; it rains; it snows; I get food poisoning; I want to workout; I want to swim; etc. etc. etc… Leave that sh*t behind! For the most part, other than long-term trips or trips to destinations with little access to resources, just pack the essentials.
Roll your clothes. It reduces wrinkles and saves space. This is a game-changer!
At the last minute, commit to removing a few items. Do a last minute assessment of the ‘what-if’ things you’ve packed and scrap them. I know it’s like torture but you don’t need them. Trust me.
Pack a few essentials in your carry-on. If you’re lucky enough to have never had your luggage go missing or be delayed, you don’t know what it’s like, but spare yourself the disaster and keep ONE change of clothes and set of necessities in your carry-on for safe measures.
Getting your luggage on point has it’s perks. You avoid overweight fees. You can fit your carry on easily under your seat or in the overhead cabin. You don’t pack a ton of things you feel guilty about bringing and never wearing. You can indulge and buy some things during your travel and have enough room to bring them home.
Random tip: throw a couple dryer sheets in between your luggage. Of course, this doesn’t reduce any of the stress of packing or the weight of all the excess crap you packed, but it does make for a pleasant aromatic experience when unpacking.
Wish me luck in packing! Stay tuned for a post about my NY travels!