Over the past few days, I’ve spoken to two friends about trips they are embarking on this week. I know they’re excited so I don’t need to ask about that, but the question I find myself most curious about is have you packed?
I get excited about travel early on and I put together a mental packing list while imagining the things I’ll add, some things that I already own, other things that I’ll buy.
It might seem reasonable that as I get closer to departure day, the more active my planning becomes, but it’s actually the opposite. I am the person stuffing things into my duffel bag/backpack/suitcase just a few hours before my flight and even sometimes while I’m walking out the door.
I’m not proud of it, but it’s who I’ve become. I covered a lot of this before my trip to Chicago last weekend, my hopes and my reality. And now I’m right in between two trips and it’s like I didn’t even learn to pack better, though I do feel like I’m better learning to care less about the details and roll with it more. I once had a friend who said to make you take your passport and your money and never worry about anything else. He said that you could work the rest of it out when you got there.
I got this comment on my Facebook page after I wrote about my Chicago prep:
I love anticipating the trip…so I do what Sharon Simone and I call the “practice pack,” starting a week or a month prior to leaving…I like to pack light. That means I bring only the lightest, most comfy clothes. If I am gone for a few days, weeks to a month, I need 3 pair of shoes….NEED? I don’t think I Need them, I want them. One is a comfy pair to land at the hotel in, preferably a nice broken-in pair of waterproof slip on sandals. Good for slippers or the pool or relaxing at the end of a long day of exploring on foot. I like a good pair of walking tennies that don’t look like Americans on the loose in running shoes, but I often turn to Adidas for style and comfort. Also the sandals are the stylish Adidas slides, not those ugly ones they’ve been selling for years- ones made for women with arches! The other pair need to be a small all weather bootie with a 1-1-1/2″ heel for dress up; also giving my back that small adjustment from walking flat all the time. My 70 year old back is quirky. Then it’s on to the pants, 3 pair, and 6 tops, one sweater and an all purpose rain/wind/dress up or down jacket, a 2-3 scarves for shawls, cover for bare shoulders or extra warmth. Swimsuit, maybe baby. You can throw in a no wrinkle dress or skirt, as long as it takes up very little room and does not require ironing. Pair down toiletries, always a good excuse to buy a souvenir that you won’t have to dust later. In Italy I buy a really special sunscreen milk that smells like all the wonderful things I remember about Rome. It’s fun to pack one less pair of undies as well; very romantic thing to do for Romeo too…3 pair of socks that are fast to wash out in the sink. I do quite a bit of sink washing when I travel and pack my tiny clothesline- it takes the same space as earbuds. That’s one carry on suitcase full. I usually check it and carry on my toiletries and prescriptions, reading material, shawl, hat and stuff I want to make sure gets there with me. Have fun!
Thank you, Jude! Thank you for your thoughts. Thank you for your ideas. Thank you for YOU and for sharing YOU with the world! ❤️
Maybe a practice pack is a good habit to get into, but I’m still trying to lasso myself into doing the actual pack more than 180 minutes before takeoff most of the time.
I will offer a little brag for my recent trip – outside of the kimono that I tossed in at the last minute just in case I needed it for a night out or something classier, I wore every single piece of clothing that I packed for our five day trip. I feel like I’m getting more accurate with less effort and I like it.
Are you an early packer or late packer? How do you make sure you include everything you’ll need? Do you have a standard list or does it change with every trip?