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Packing for your Next Trip

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When planning a trip, most people worry about reservations, weather, traffic, etc. Not my husband. He worries about packing. What will we need every day? What bags should we bring? Do I really need to bring all those shoes?

At first his packing habits made it hard to just relax and enjoy traveling, but I eventually learned that having our bags packed perfectly allowed him to relax. He even enjoys the process, hard as that may be to believe. Most of us are too well adjusted to pack like my husband, but his compulsiveness does help our traveling go more smoothly. Having the items you need and knowing where everything simply makes traveling a lot easier and more comfortable. Here are a few tips I've picked up from observing my hubby:

-The Seven P's
I know it's corny, but he's actually said this to me. "Prior proper planning prevents pretty poor packing." Make a list of everything you'll need on your trip. It can be a real pain getting to an event and realizing you forgot your phone charger. Pick a corner or tabletop in your home and start putting things you'll need there. We usually start this process a week before we leave. Cross items off your list once they're in the pile.

-Comfort Is Key
It's the little things that make all the difference. After a long day of meetings and sessions, it's nice to find your favorite slippers, pillow, and music waiting for you in your hotel room. A small bottle of Advil can be a lifesaver for your sore feet, back, or head. If you want to take it a step further, band aids are nice for the occasional scrape or blister.

-Keep the Return Trip in Mind
Don't just pack for your trip there. Thinking about what you'll need on the way back can prevent annoyances later. Bring a trash bag for your laundry. Leave space in your bag for all the handouts and freebies you'll get. Stuff some grocery store bags or ziplocks in your bag's pocket in case you return with a wet swimsuit or shampoo bottle.

-How You Pack Your Bag Matters
This is probably the most painful part to watch...My husband sitting on the living room floor surrounded by luggage, cloths, toiletries, etc. You'd think we were going into space with the amount of strategy involved. But all our stuff always fits and gets there in good shape. While I could probably write a book on his process (complete with diagrams), I'll just focus on a few useful tips. First, consider how the bag will be held and transported. A duffel bag is pretty much right side up the whole time. Wheeled luggage, however, gets flipped ninety degrees every time you roll it around. Put fragile items in the center of the bag with a cushion of clothing to keep them safe. Put heavy items like shoes by the wheels (they'll end up down there anyways). Second, don't forget about the pockets. Lots of bags have pockets, but they rarely get used for much. Third, fold your clothing carefully. Nobody likes getting to a conference and realizing that everything is wrinkled. Some garments can be rolled to avoid this problem. Suites and collared shirts can be folded with tissue paper inside of them (and along each crease). Fourth, layering your items helps keep everything in place. Put heavy clothes like jeans on the bottom of your bag as a foundation. Continue making layers of lighter cloths on top of that. Wedge belts, toiletries, socks, etc. into gaps.


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