This may sound like a complete contradiction in terms but stress-free packing for vacations and business trips is not only possible but attainable and doesn’t require hiring extra staff or checking 2 extra bags. It just takes a little planning and a dash of organization savoire faire to make this dreaded task easier.
When I traveled all of the time for work, packing was a cinch. I left duplicates of my skin care products and some other toiletries in my suitcase so I had fewer things to think about bringing. I was typically gone for 3-4 days and not seeing the same people every day so I wore a lot of the same clothes and just switched out shoes and a few key pieces. Life was simpler back then as this the was pre-camera-on-your phone-documenting-every-single-detail days of the late nineties to just a few years ago . Today’s complex world seems to require an army trunk full of clothing options, office supplies, device cords, and we all have less time to think about adding one more thing to our to do list.
To make your lives (and mine) easier, I’ve put together a Packing Checklist with an Outfit Planning sheet to help you plan what you are going to take. This was invented this year as I was packing for The Southern C and trying to plan outfits for all of the events and not completely fill up my car. The Packing check list helps you remember the little things that we tend to forget when traveling like pain reliever, floss, and bandages. While you may not need everything on the Packing Checklist, check off what you are taking when you pack it. Keep it in the suitcase and when you pack to return you can use it to make sure you’re re-packing everything.
To help you figure out what you should take, I put on the back of the Packing Checklist an Outfit Planning sheet. For each day you are gone, list out the events you will be attending or activities you’ll be doing and the required clothing, shoes, and accessories. This helps you plan what you need based on what you’ll be doing. It’s easy to just throw in a bunch of shorts and tops but if you are attending special events, you’ll want to make sure your wardrobe is appropriate. Also, if you’ve got special accessories you need with an outfit or shoes, those get noted here, too.
Make copies of the Packing Checklist and keep them in your suitcase or in the closet where you store your luggage. When you’re getting ready for a trip, take out the checklist to help you remember everything that you need to take. There are even some blank spaces for you to add anything specific for you.
I suggest you set up a staging area in your bedroom or near your closet where you can start to put items that you know you are going to take. You might even want to use your open suitcase. Anything that you’re not going to wear before the trip that you are definitely taking can go to the suitcase and you don’t have to think about it anymore.
Some things that I always pack ahead of time because I take them on every trip:
- Flip flops (for roaming around when I don’t want to wear “real” shoes)
- Underwear (always pack an extra pair in a neutral color)
- Swimsuit (you just never know 🙂 and there is no substitute)
- Work out clothes (if I don’t pack them I’m definitely not exercising and I try to keep that up even when traveling)
So that you can enjoy your vacation or not be extra stressed on your business trip, take a little time to plan out what you need to bring with you. You will invariably say to yourself at some point, “oh, I wish I brought ____” and you’ll start to curse yourself (how could I?!) for forgetting it. Don’t worry. You can’t think of every possible scenario and bring everything you might need. Take what you plan and you can creatively compromise the rest.
If you have other packing or travel tips, I’d love to hear them in the Comments below. 🙂
Happy traveling and organizing!