Packing for a trip is something I both love and hate about traveling. The very ritual of it is both exciting and dread-worthy since it marks the beginning of your travels but it also has the potential to spark a massive, bone-crushing migraine. (To my dear friends and family members unlucky enough to have witnessed my many last-minute packing ordeals, my sincerest and eternal apologies.)
As for what George Clooney’s “Up in the Air” character said about packing, I think it’s a bunch of crap (unless, I suppose, you make the same, exact boring business trips day in and day out). Questions of what to pack and how to pack it will always come up, no matter how many frequent flyer miles you’ve accumulated in your lifetime. And with tighter baggage restrictions regarding carry-ons and weight limits, it’s even tougher.
In the past, I’ve resorted to Googling phrases like “what to pack for [insert destination here]” or “how to pack for a night in the desert” but, no matter what I come across, I never really find the answers that I’m looking for. Although, I have to admit, I really like this one. (Oh, and how I wish I could actually fold my clothes like this).
So, over the years, I’ve come up with my own kind of checklist system. For every trip, I tweak it just a bit, adding in some destination-specific items like sunblock, bug repellent and long johns. It’s a little tedious, I know, but it really works for me at least, so I’m hoping it might be of use to you, too.
As for folding, I usually find that rolling up my clothes works best. And if you have something that you really don’t want to get wrinkled, you should wrap it over a bundle of your other clothes to prevent wrinkles from setting in. Oh, and stick your socks into your shoes to keep them from getting crushed—and to save space.
Also, I’ve also found that, no matter where you’re headed, you should always pack these, no matter what:
Dryer Sheets: Don’t you hate it when all the clothes in your suitcase develop a weird, musty odor? To combat that, I stick a bunch of fragrant dryer sheets throughout the clothes in my suitcase to keep them smelling Bounce-fresh (my fave) throughout my trip. They’re also great at removing any static cling. (Photo (c) Walmart)
Extra Duffle Bag: You never know when you might engage in an impromptu shopping spree. By packing an extra duffle bag in the front pocket of your suitcase, you won’t have to shell out cash for an extra, crap-quality suitcase that you’ll eventually throw away. (Photo (c) Amazon)
Hand Sanitizer: When you’re in a foreign country and you find yourself in a bathroom with extremely limited supplies and/or questionable facilities, you’ll thank me. (Photo (c) Bath & Body Works)
Plastic, Resealable Baggies: Okay, I know these aren’t super eco-friendly but when you’re in a bind—something’s leaked; you need to pack a wet bathing suit or dirty laundry, etc.—these are total life-savers. Trust me. Also, be sure to keep a few quart-size ones on hand for stowing away your tiny liquids for carry-on. (Photo (c) Babies Travel Lite)
Nail Clipper: A strange one, but don’t you hate it when you chip a nail and have nothing to fix it with? Or you really need to cut something (say, a tag from a new shirt that you just bought on your trip and you want to wear RIGHT NOW) and don’t have access to scissors or a Swiss Army knife? Well, a nail clipper, I’ve found, always does the trick and doesn’t take up a lot of room. (Photo (c) Amazon)
Tide Sink Packets: You never know when you’ll have to wash something on your trip. Who knows? You might even have to resort to doing some bathtub laundry (I know I have), so pack a few of these, if possible. (Photo (c) Amazon)
If you’ve got any tips for me on packing, I’d love to hear them, too. Feel free to share them!