Six continents, 37 countries, 34 states. You could say I’m addicted to travel! I’ve discovered some universal, simple tips that will make packing for the journey easier.
First, I’ve found that most packing problems center around the following “why you might be overpacking” issues:
- Nature: you want to be prepared for anything so you pack everything
- Indecisiveness: because you don’t have enough information or you haven’t made time for planning
- Lack of knowledge: about appropriate luggage and how to maximize space
Second, once you identify your packing challenges, there are five main factors to account:
Who are you traveling with and who are you going to see? Travel with family when you aren’t likely to see anyone you know is different from traveling to a business conference where you’ll meet colleagues.
What length of time will you be away? What are the luggage restrictions? Calculate the total number of nights and days you will be gone.
Where are you going? Not city, state or country, but what activities will you be doing. A biking or hiking vacation is different from a cruise. A business trip without any leisure time is not the same as a trip with two business meetings and two days of time on your own. Snorkel gear and a beach towel take up more room than a couple of shirts that can be mixed-and-matched with a couple of suits. Five pairs of shoes consume more space than two.
When are you traveling? The time of year (plus the location) affects the weather. You can find out average high and low temperatures, humidity and rainfall months in advance which gives you a general idea of what clothes to pack. If the average rainfall during your trip is predicted to be 0.25 inches, you probably don’t need a raincoat, umbrella and rain boots. One all-purpose rain poncho will suffice. When you are ready to pack, you can double-check the weather and make appropriate modifications.
How are you traveling? How to pack so you have enough but not too much? Driving, flying, train or bus, your method(s) of travel will effect how you pack. It is also important to account for amount of travel within a trip. The packing strategy is different if you plan to do day trips while staying in a hotel for a week versus changing hotels every couple of nights.
Example #1: Adventure Trip
- February trip with two nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina (mid-80′s), one night in Ushuaia, Argentina (mid-50′s), nine nights on a boat (warm) with excursions in Antarctica (mid-30′s with lots of wind)
- 50 lb. luggage limit except one leg of return trip with a 33 lb. limit
- Carry-on luggage weight limit for same leg of return flight was very low
Packing Details:I took as much “demoted travel clothing” as possible. “Demoted travel clothing” is clothing that is a little too large or small, it may be faded or pilling and I would usually donate or toss. Instead I take it on trips and leave it behind (folded next to the trashcan in case anyone wants it). So I left behind two short-sleeved shirts in Buenos Aires. On the boat in Antarctica I left behind numerous turtlenecks and sweatshirts plus the big, puffy, red jacket the travel company had given us as a gift. I wore a bulky pair of shoes and packed one other pair. I used a carry-on that was maximum-size but was not shaped like a roll-aboard suitcase, which airlines often make you check if they have strict weight limits for carry-ons just because it looks heavy. My personal item was a large backpack, but I wore it on my back and so it looked manageable to airport staff.
Example #2: Business Trip
- 7 nights in Orlando, Florida in April
- Presenting a session
- Leadership responsibilities
- Gatherings with colleagues
- Didn’t want to check luggage
Packing Details:I planned exactly what I would wear each day. I used a combination of reversible clothing with mix-and-match options along with accessories to create a different outfit for every day. I wore one pair of shoes and packed a second pair. I decided to use the toiletries in the hotel, so I only needed to take cosmetics. I took the maximum sized carry-on and personal item allowed. I had no problems packing all that I needed and was relieved that I didn’t have to worry about whether or not my luggage would arrive.
You may be saying, “I couldn’t do that!” You’d be surprised! With just a bit of planning you can pack everything you need without having to pay extra luggage fees or be concerned that you left a crucial item at home.
Since I don’t have space to include all the particulars of organizing your packing and other aspects of travel, feel free to check out my 20 Time-Tested Travel Tips book co-written with my travel buddy, Jamee Thieme or our Organize Your TravelFacebook page.
Here’s to happy, safe and organized travel!
Developer of the Flexible Structure Method(TM), Janice and her team at Minding Your Matters® has an impressive reputation for helping clients achieve “flow”. “Flow” as Janice calls it, is the blissful state of having an organizational process that supports your life and lifestyle. A Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, Janice is also a Certified Organizer Coach and the author of “Get Organized This Year!” Janice’s practical and caring approach to organizing is the basis of her high-content live workshops and webinars. Janice is a Golden Circle Member of National Association of Professional Organizers and Program Mentor Coach for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. She serves the organizational needs and challenges of both business and residential clients, as well as provides training intensives for fellow organizers nationwide. To enjoy meaningful tips and gain immediate access to all of Janice valuable resources, please visit her website at www.MindingYourMatters.com.
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