There’s hardly anything more stressful than packing for a trip. But, if you have a plan, it really does get easier. Maybe you’ve had your own nightmare experience whether it’s forgetting the most important outfit for your business trip (the complete outfit is hanging in your closet 3,000 miles away) or you forgot your makeup bag on the bathroom counter. Or maybe the new shoes you purchased for the trip have left you with blisters on Day One.
To avoid these calamities, start with the purpose or goal of your trip. This will lead to how much you want to pack and carry. If you’re a road warrior your top priority will be to pack light and efficient so you can travel with ease and speed. On the other hand, if you’re traveling to your daughter’s wedding, minimal packing will most likely not be your goal; but rather, beautifully-coordinated outfits for your many social festivities will be a higher priority even if it means checking two bags and paying a porter to help you.
Whatever your purpose, I recommend that you begin by adopting a new plan for packing. Here are some of my tips to help you.
14 days out – Although your trip seems far in the future, it’s time to start prepping now! Try on and write up or take pictures of all the pieces for your highest impact outfits. What are high impact outfits? They’re the outfits that are the most important outfits you’ll be wearing on the trip. Attending a wedding? Interviewing for a job? Meeting the in-laws for the first time? Attending a peer conference? Sight seeing? You know which days or nights mean the most to you so be sure you create those outfits early. This way you’ll have time to purchase any components that might be missing. Do you take prescription drugs? Check the refills now. Your pharmacist will help you stock up so you won’t miss any days.
12 days out – Investigate the condition of your outfit pieces by looking closely at each clothing article. Finalize your high impact outfits and check closely to see if any articles need repair, alterations, or cleaning. Most establishments want a week to complete jobs.
10 days out – Start brainstorming your low-to-medium impact outfits. These are the outfits you’ll wear on day trips, visiting museums, going to the beach, socializing with friends/relatives, and having casual dinners out. Try on the different possibilities and be sure to include the accessories. Let these possible combinations simmer for a couple of days in a section of your closet. That way you can mull over your outfit ideas without feeling rushed.
7 days out – You can start creating your non-weather related pre-packs. Some items can be packed right now. Consider gathering up your panties and bras now and packing them in a small travel bag or even a zip-lock bag. Nightgowns or pajamas and anything you use just before bed can be packed in a small travel bag. Do you have a favorite lip balm you apply at night? Do you wear earplugs or eyeshades? Designate a travel pack for just these items. When you get to your destination, you just pull out this nighttime pack and you could be asleep in five minutes!
Make another pre-pack for your workout gear if this is included in your itinerary.
Count out your daily vitamins and/or medications and put them in mini-plastic. Don’t do this the night before you leave!
Your toiletries and hair products can be pre-packed now too and placed in your suitcase. A benefit of having an extra set of makeup is that you can pack this early and avoid any panic about forgetting a most-important product.
5 days out – Your anxiety might be presenting itself. Keep calm and get more of your packing prepped. Check the weather at your destination. Now you have a clearer idea about the forecast and how it will affect your wardrobe. However, always pack a couple of pieces of clothing for each extreme weather possibility. That could mean a pair of shorts and a long-sleeved sweater.
Since you already planned out your high impact outfit ideas on Day 14, time to put them together completely. Check to be sure you have the accessories for each outfit.
Make the final edits to your travel wardrobe for your low-to-medium impact outfits. Do laundry if needed. Plan your actual “day-of” travel outfit.
1 day out – Don’t worry, you’re ready for this day. Time to fit it all into your suitcase and get some good night sleep, stress-free. Make yourself a note of anything that needs to be put into the suitcase just before you leave. This could include a curling iron, makeup, and makeup tools (if you don’t have an extra set for travel).
Have your travel outfit laid out and ready to go, especially for those early morning flights. Make sure your pants are dark in the event you spill coffee on them during your flight, and they are comfortable for a long haul. I especially love knits or fabrics with stretch for maximum comfort.
Need more simplifying?
Let me help you. I’ve packed my clients for many different destinations and occasions. They love how simplified their packing experience becomes. You could be the calmest customer in the security line on your next trip! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.