We’ve all been or seen, the person that is struggling through the airport with an overstuffed suitcase limping along under an overloaded traveler with 2 backpacks, a messenger bag and wearing three layers of clothing that wouldn’t fit in their bags. It’s human nature for some to want to overpack, in a way to prepare for anything that can happen, as a way to have a feeling of control over the smoothness of their much-anticipated trip. Oppositely, for others, it’s easy to pack much lighter and more organized, knowing that whatever happens on the trip, as long as you have your ID, phone and wallet, you can handle anything that comes your way. For the former, we will take lessons from the latter and consider packing more intentionally for your next trip.
- Pack for the trip you’re taking. While this sounds obvious, the excitement of traveling can cloud the judgment of the inexperienced jet setter. If you’re going on a beach vacation, chances are you won’t need four pairs of jeans, seventeen cute sweaters, your parka and snow boots, or your entire collection of jewelry. A few swimsuits, flip flops, cover-up and changes of clothes for evening dinners and comfortable thong underwear should do the trick for most people’s wardrobe requirements for an easy beach vacation.
- Pack the essentials. Packing light for a quick weekend trip can easily be done, as can be packing light for a two-week adventure. Creativity and resourcefulness in items that can be worn multiple times between washes like pants and tops are useful strategies in these situations where space is of the essence. Many can pack for a few days up to a couple of weeks in a backpack or small carry-on bag, by reusing items for multiple wears. For intimates and socks, you’ll want to wear fresh items each day, but your outer layers can be worn multiple times for the most efficient use of your precious packing space.
- Consider a different folding method. There are packing methods that range from haphazard to highly organized, and most people fall somewhere in the middle of that range, with an attempted sense of folding and organizing their packed items into a methodical layout. Rolling your clothes reportedly saves a tremendous amount of space, as well as the lay-flat method and others. At the end of the day, if you can manage to get what you need in your bag and it closes without having to sit on it while you fight the zipper around to a secured position, the packing method makes only marginal differences in most cases.
Packing is often one of the challenging aspects of trip planning and preparation prior to heading to the airport but doesn’t have to be if practiced and done with thoughtful intention. Including the essentials and leaving everything else at home is key, folding or rolling and packing everything in your suitcase in an organized manner is secondary to making sure you aren’t overpacked and overburdened with too much stuff when running to catch your flight. A last comforting thought for the over packers out there: nearly anything left at home and needed while traveling can be purchased.
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