Packing is one of the most stressful things about traveling. The fear of forgetting something haunts me day and night. But I constantly remind myself that regardless of where I’m going (unless it’s a remote place like the Arctic), I’ll probably be able to replace what I’m missing. To ease my nerves I’ve developed a small packing routine. Here are some tips to help you out when packing for your next adventure. But before anything, open up your Pandora or Spotify and blast some music–it will make packing all that more fun.
1. Taking a well designed picture of your stuff isn’t just for the Insta.
I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of pictures of traveling equipment like cameras, planners, and wallets neatly positioned on a clear background. While I agree it makes for a great Instagram, it is also extremely helpful for organizing what you need. When laying things out you can more easily spot what you are missing or what you don’t need to bring. Plus, if you do happen to snap a picture of it–it will help you remember what you brought throughout the trip and make sure you haven’t lost a thing.
2. Always create outfits.
Create outfits to make sure you’re bringing all that you need and to prevent overpacking. Choose neutral colors to have an easier time in the matching process. And remember to repeat pants and bottoms–it creates less bulk, and quite frankly you don’t need 10 pairs of the same colored jeans. Also, make sure you know the different occasions and events you’ll be attending so that you can dress and plan accordingly. Plus, your pre-made outfits will drastically reduce the daily stress of not knowing what to wear.
3. Choose your shoes wisely.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re going to need every single pair of shoes in your closet. Because you won’t. First, filter out the shoes by season–remove any that don’t fit-in with the weather. And only choose one comfortable shoe/sneaker, one pair of sandals, one high heel, and etc. Simple stuff. Also, make sure to include this shoe-picking process while planning your outfits.
4. Leave some room for dessert.
When I was a young, I would always stuff my bag to the rim and think I’d be very happy having all these different dress options. But ever time, I’d have zero room for souvenirs and I ended up using only half of the clothes I brought. Point of the story? Always, and I mean always, leave a big chunk of empty space in your luggage. You’re going to end up buying something, so might as well have the room for it.
5. Pack all your bathroom stuff, even if you’ll need it the next day.
This may seem like a dumb tip considering you’re going to need to unpack it the next morning to use it. But hear me out. I always pack all my bathroom stuff in my travel bag the night before. The following day, I wake up, take out my toothbrush, use it, and place it back in the bag. I do this with all my bathroom appliances to make sure I won’t forget anything essential at home.
6. Have your handbag ready the night before.
There are always small things you wish you had while sitting in a long airplane ride, like earphones, chap-stick, a chewy bar, hand lotion, etc. But with the rush of getting all the important and bigger stuff ready, we tend to forget these things. That’s why it’s important to pack it all beforehand. So that next time you reach for a pen in your bag to fill out the Customs form, you won’t be disappointed.
7. Plug-in all your appliances before going to bed.
First, do a quick backup of your phone and computer before any trip just in case you loose it, it’s stolen or it breaks. Secondly, right before going to bed, plug in your phone, computer, iPad, Kindle, etc to the same wall. That way, all your stuff with be together and charged when you get it the next day.
8. Bring a book.
Wether you’re a book person or not, my suggestion is to always bring one along. In the small (yet common) chance that your flight is delayed and you’re iPad is running low, a book or a magazine will keep you entertained for quite some time. Plus it’s always nice to disconnect from the world for a little.
9. Make a list and check it twice.
This is probably one of the most important things I do before a big trip, so listen up. I make a list of everything that still needs to be packed the next morning. For example: the appliances that are charging, my bathroom traveling bag and my sandwich in the fridge. I leave this list on top of my already-set luggage. The next day I go through it, gather all my stuff, check things off the list and then I’m set to go.
10. “Las 3 Ps”
My dad always tell me in spanish, “todo lo que necesitas son las 3 Ps.” A saying he got from his Colombian friends. It translates to, “all you need are the 3 P’s.” The three P’s in spanish are: Pasaporte, Pepas y Plata–Passport, Medicine and Money. The saying is meant to calm anyone down who is nervous to travel. If you have the 3 P’s, then you are set. Everything can be fixed with those 3 things. However, in today’s world, I think it’s important that we add another P for Phone. So there you have it, regardless of where you are going, if you have the 4 P’s you’ll be just fine.