What's Your Packing Style?
You're going on a trip! Yay! But now you have to pack. Boo! So what is your packing style, anyway? Are you very regimented, making lists, packing ahead of time, rolling your clothes to make the most out of your space? Do you have special bags that adhere to FAA regulations and perfectly travel sized containers? You do? Well done! You are an actual adult. Have fun in Topeka. Now are you like me? Do you frantically grab anything and everything at the very last minute, shoving them into your bag and hoping the chaos barely contained inside won't get searched at the check-in, not because you're carrying anything that isn't allowed, but because you know nothing will ever fit back in after being released like Mount Vesuvius at the security line? You do? Uh oh. You're not an adult, no ma'am. You, like me, need some travel tips so you don't get to Dallas without essentials like your left shoe. Or underwear.
Packing, especially when we fly, is a challenge. Do you check a bag? Carry everything in a carry-on? Drag a Hefty bag full of everything you own? I have been known to pack four different concert t-shirts and no socks on trips. This is what happens when you (me) leave everything to the last minute. But life, she gets in the way, and we just don't have time to meticulously plan out everything we're going to take. Unless you're my mother. She's a master packer. Let's just say I take after my dad, who once lost his passport hours before going abroad. Good times!
So what to do? For one, dress for the season. If you live in New Jersey and it's late fall, but you're going to Los Angeles, you don't want to take your coat. No, you don't. Really, you don't. The amount of time you'll spend getting to and from the airport does not justify bringing a coat. Be chilly for the 20 minutes you'll spend outside, and pack for the weather you're going to be spending time in. Coats are bulky and useless in 80 degree weather and you don't have to bring them unless you're traveling in the middle of a blizzard.
Lists. Lists are great because you don't have to do it all at one time. Pop up a list maker on your phone or computer and add things as you think of them. I'm getting ready to go away right now and I brought up my list at midnight to remind myself to pack contact lens solution. You're not going to lose your phone like you (I) would a paper list, so making notes there makes much more sense.
Don't overpack. This one is the worst. But diligence! You (I) will not need six shirts for a four day trip, plus three dresses, plus jeans, shorts, skirts, and a ballgown. You can only wear so many things at once. Leave that room for other things that are more important, like your underpants. Check to see if your hotel room has a hairdryer. Get a little bag of travel sized containers. This is very cost efficient and takes up so much less room. You don't need a gallon of hair product for four days. What you need is a bra. Don't forget that.
What it comes down to is leaving more than ten minutes to pack. You don't have to do it all at once, just a bit at a time until most of it is done for crunch time at the end. I know some of you, you perfect packers (hi, mom) are rolling your eyes right now, but believe me, some of us really need this advice. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pack.