So for a big trip I will start packing usually 2-3 weeks before; my project manager personality takes over here; I will start by simply setting specific items in the guest room.
#1 Packing cubes: Hands down one of the best travel inventions ever! It is a lot like the iPhone; I don’t know what I ever did before they existed. It allows me to organize clothes and better yet it compresses the volume so more actually fits into the suitcase! I put absolutely everything in my suitcase into a packing cube. There is nothing left to roll around freely. Warning these cubes are addicting, several friends and the majority of my family members have joined my addiction.
#2 Walking shoes: It is very important to have comfortable walking shoes especially if you are traveling internationally. Most Americans don’t really walk anywhere on a daily basis. However in many countries it is very easy to live without a car. Wait what? There are people in this world that live without a car. Huh! So get ready to move those legs and ensure you have comfortable shoes on.
#3 Flat packable water bottle: I always carry one of these so it can be easily stored away when not in use. I hate paying for water in countries that have perfectly fine tap water. Save your money for beer.
#4 Earplugs: You never know when you will be on a plane next to the crying baby or a noisy hotel room. I have had good luck with this brand.
#5 Face clothes: Many countries do not have washcloth size towels. I like this brand because they start out dry and you just add a little water which is nice for travel as it reduces spaces.
#6 Collapsable duffle bag: I mentioned in a previous post but it can come in handy for transporting travel purchases on the return journey home. I have also utilized it to toss things into when moving on to the next city catching a train / taxi / bus etc.
#7 In Flight Seat Pack: For long flights I always ensure I have organized myself a small in flight personal amenity kit. In business class most airlines still provide an amenity kit and on a few airlines you can still find amenity kits in coach. Regardless I hate fumbling around in the dark looking for my headphones, cough drops, contact lens case, mints, etc. This handy seat pack can actually hang on the tray table hook as well.
#8 Clothes: It depends on the destination and schedule of events but majority of trips I generally focus on bringing clothes that are practical and versatile for the trip. Think layers and recycle clothing articles during the trip i.e. one sweater that matches most things. I usually have one outfit for evenings out black skirt/pants and dressy top so if I end up going to a nice restaurant or theatre I am prepared.
Ask yourself “Am I actually going to wear this on the trip?”
On several trips I have done “disposable clothing” where the clothes only get a one way ticket. It may be clothes that I was getting ready to donate anyway or hit the super clearance racks. This can be very handy for quick overnight trips however this strategy has yielded interesting results. Last year in Indonesia on an overnight trip my friend and I both left behind our clothes that were worn the previous day in 100+ degrees. While we were waiting for the taxi to the airport a gentleman came running over with our clothes. He was quite bewildered that we would intentionally leave behind our belongings however we requested that he donate them.
So once I have gathered everything I think I need for the trip I begin to prioritize. For anyone who knows me from a professional level you will appreciate that I apply the Must – Should – Could agile principles to my suitcase. I start filling the packing cubes with anything that is an absolutely “must have” take on the trip and if capacity allows I add in some “should have” or “could have” items. Now let’s go to the airport!
Seek your adventure!