In my 20 years of jet setting all over the world, I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about packing for a trip. From one night overnights to a few months of country hopping during different seasons, I’m pretty sure I could pack a bag with my eyes closed. Ok, maybe not, but nonetheless, here a few essential packing tips that have helped me make the process smoother.
1. Make a list. Some people are natural list makers. Others are not. I’m a list maker. My husband is not. You know what happens every.single.time? He over-packs. Thinking through what you need and don’t need and then writing it down will most certainly help protect you against over-packing. If I’m going on a very long trip, I usually bring enough clothes for 5 days and plan on hitting up a laundry-mat. That’s a personal preference as I tend to like traveling light. Another option is hand-washing in a sink somewhere.
2. Allow room for souvenirs. This might be the most fun of all the packing tips on the list. Chances are you are going collect some things along the way. Make sure there is room in your bag to bring home all your new treasures and mementos.
3. Pack your toiletries ahead of time in Ziploc bags. Buy new shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. and go ahead and pack them. The worst is when you have an early morning flight or early morning drive and you forget to add your toiletries to your bag. Having your bag completely packed ahead of time will save you mental energy, and packing those toiletries in Ziplocs means that any toothpaste explosion from cabin pressure changes stays contained.
4. Let your kids pack their own things. I not only make a list for myself but for my kids as well. I learned three things from this. One, my kids actually like to pick out their own clothes to pack. Two, it teaches them responsibility. Three, it helps keep my sanity level at a much more manageable place.
5. Pack a good carry-on. If you have small kids, consider buying a new toy or book to pull out when they no longer want to sit still in their seat. This also works wonders for older kids when they get bored. ALWAYS bring some snacks. Shoving food into tired, cranky little people really does help. I also like to bring at least one change of clean underwear. You never know when a bag might get lost. Or a plan delayed overnight. Been there.
6. Be mindful of the weight of your carry-on. Lugging a super heavy bag around can be tiresome, so make sure your bag is comfortable to carry and not too heavy.
I’m off to follow my own packing tips and make some lists. I’ve got 2 1/2 months of country hopping in my sights. Here’s hoping these packing tips get you out the door fast, un-frazzled, and prepared for any adventure.