Pack for Travel Like a Pro Using These 10 Easy Steps
Planning for travel can get really overwhelming. Having tools, like a packing list and itinerary, in hand can help to alleviate stress. Packing like a pro helps you stay organized and be prepared for anything. As a result, travelers get to stay focused on the exciting experience ahead.
1. Pros don’t want to forget anything important. A packing list is a tool which serves as a reminder to buy, pack, and ultimately bring everything needed while traveling.
Even if you’re great at mentally checking off those imaginary lists in your head, odds are, without a list, something could be forgotten. This is especially true for long trips or when traveling to new destinations. Moreover, we need to use some of the most important things just before leaving the house. As a result, we have to wait until the last minute to toss them into our bags. Consequently, they’re easily forgotten.
Remembering to pack that brush, which we just automatically put back in it’s draw out of habit, can be difficult. Pulling your phone off it’s charger and sticking it in your pocket is practically ritualistic. That’s great. You didn’t forget the phone. But what about the charger? This is particularly true when we’re trying to get ourselves and everyone in our family out the door while daydreaming about how wonderful the next few days will be.
Of course, a packing checklist like ours (get your FREE printable here) will save you from forgetting things like clothes, but they’re even more useful when it comes to last minute, everyday necessities. By simply adding 10 minutes to their pre departure schedule to complete a final check of the list, travelers could save themselves from the costly headache of forgetting things like their earbuds or car charger.
2. It’s satisfying to check anything off a list. Additionally, everyone needs to allow themselves to take a little “mental health” intermission once in a while.
This may sound like a silly reason to use the list, but it’s completely valid. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out over your upcoming adventure, look to your packing list. What have you already purchased? What do you still need? If you’ve already checked items off the list, then you can do a little celebratory dance and think, “Well see, I’ve made progress.” If your list is still really long, use it to regain focus. Choose to make it a starting point. As you clear the items, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and be able to relax a bit.
If you’re not worried about clearing the packing list and you don’t feel stressed about preparing for the upcoming getaway, you can still use it as a meditative tool. When the fast-paced and hectic nature of life in general is makin’ you crazy, check your list. Imagine using these things while embarking on what is sure to be an epic journey. Visualize yourself relaxing, enjoying the scenery, getting that quality family time, or achieving whatever purpose you set for yourself when booking this trip.
3. Pro Travelers feel better knowing they have a checks-and-balances system in place. Feeling organized reduces stress.
Reduce mistakes and prevent “improper” behavior by having a strategy for checking yourself. In this case, “improper behavior” would be defined as overpacking, underpacking, or omitting necessary items when preparing to travel. A good packing list alleviates all of this. Travelers get to leave the house worry-free; feeling confident, excited, and ready for their journey.
4. Pro Travelers know the system works. Actually being organized makes finding necessities fast and easy. Additionally, organization significantly reduces the the likelihood of forgetting or losing items.
Organization and time management go hand in hand. As Yoda wisely professed, “Do or do not, there is no try.” It isn’t enough to try to stay organized while traveling. Keeping things in their place makes them easy to find and hard to forget. Anyone who frequently travels has had a lot of experience managing (and probably mismanaging) their time on the road. They know that complimentary breakfast ends at 10 a.m., so they won’t risk missing it while searching for the long lost shampoo or their favorite scarf which, “may have been stuffed somewhere in the suitcase.”
A good night’s rest is priceless when adventuring. Therefore, a pro traveler can always find the pajamas they neatly rolled and packed two days before their trip. Packing correctly works. Time is saved when you have and know exactly where to find needed items. For many, vacations are few and far between. Make the most of every moment by staying organized.
5. A checklist reminds you to bring things you may need but may not have considered.
Packing list apps are great, but I look for packing lists that are either created for “anywhere” (like mine-get your FREE copy here) or destination specific packing lists. Compiling your own list can be very difficult when you don’t entirely know what to expect. If I’ve never been to Costa Rica before, and I live in the desert climate of Las Vegas, NV, I may not think to pack bug spray. We don’t have a great number of flying, biting bugs here. As a result, I would never think to consider bringing insect repellant anywhere. Having a good checklist, helps me to prepare for whatever happens wherever I wander.
6. A checklist helps to ignite the excitement leading up to your trip.
Part of the fun is in the preparation. Taking the kids for their passports was one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done. You can almost feel the sun on your face while shopping for that new swimsuit to wear while sunbathing on a daybed on the sandy, white shores of your tropical paradise. You can smell the damp, clean Irish air after a misty rain while you scan The North Face catalog for that waterproof jacket needed to keep you dry while trekking the 2.5 millimeters from the Muckross House to breathtaking Torch waterfall.
Visualizing the sights, imagining the smells, and filling your senses with those of your destination propels excitement. This excitement keeps you motivated and ready to happily overcome the many challenges travel can also bring.
7. The whole family can use the tool, so the kids can practically pack themselves!
Have you seen a family travel blog? Yes, entire families (with small children) are pro travelers. Every one of them must live by the mantra, “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.” I can’t imagine it working any other way. Preparing a whole family (of almost any size) for a trip, especially a long and distant one, can seem daunting. Let the kids get in on the fun of planning and preparing for this wonderful journey you are all about to take together. Save your sanity and tons of precious time by letting everyone pitch in, regardless of age.
Give them their own copy of the checklist. Mark off whatever you don’t plan to pack. Then, let them start gathering their items. Older children may even be trusted to handle the task of packing using the list. Younger children can get all their stuff together then hand you items and check then off the list as you fill the suitcase. It’s a great way to keep them excited and feeling like they’re already an important part of this adventure. Best of all, this frees up extra “you” time.
8. It reduces stress; your mind is at ease, knowing you have everything you need.
Pro travelers set out to enjoy every experience and immerse themselves in the moment. Feeling stressed and clouding your mind with, “Did I pack the sunblock? It’s going to be so expensive at the hotel. Man, I hope I packed it.” certainly sucks the joy out of the moment.
I’m listening to an ebook right now that said something to the effect, “Worrying is wishing for bad things to happen.” A packing checklist removes all reason to worry about forgotten necessities. You’ve checked the list. You know it’s there. Doubt and fear are tumped by certainty and your mind is free to worry about other things, or hopefully nothing at all.
9. It saves time; you aren’t standing in the bathroom for 10 minutes, wondering, “What else do I need?”
Pro Travelers value time. Every second is one that could be spent experiencing something new and exciting. Using a packing checklist organizes the process of gathering everything needed to support your adventure. Get your checklist, Use your checklist. Spend the extra time blissfully daydreaming about your trip, learning the language, reading about the culture or studying maps of the area, or scanning Tripadvisor for restaurant recommendations.
10. Your brain frees up to deal with any more significant problems that may arise.
Pro travelers know that flights get delayed. Hotels lose your reservation. Car rental agencies give away your car. Check out this 2 minute Seinfeld clip from YouTube the topic, it’s hysterical and so true! Dealing with these kinds of mishaps is way easier when you’ve started your vacation off on the right foot; confident and relaxed.
The key to a successful trip is preparation and planning. This includes many things. Financial readiness is important. Pre booking things like transportation, excursions and accommodations is crucial. Packing is no different. Having the right gear and gadgets (and remembering to bring them along) will make or break the whole experience. Travel like a pro. Use a packing checklist.