Packing. Is there a more laborious task? How can something so awful be associated with something as lovely as travel? Ugh. But I promise you, packing doesn’t have to be the stuff of nightmares. If you do the ground work, the task itself is a doddle.
I am the self-professed packing QUEEN! After many years of frequent European travel and going trans-Atlantic to the USA (with a carry-on!) I have the equivalent of a PhD in the subject.
Physically, packing is not difficult. What is difficult is considering what you want to wear, what the weather at your destination calls for, the duration of your stay etc. This is the step that people often skip thus ending up in an 8 hour packing nightmare the night before traveling.
I’m not a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl. In fact, my husband would probably call my organizational habits
obsessive crazy. If I’m traveling, I will begin to prepare up to two weeks prior, yes really.
How To Minimize Packing Stress
- One-two weeks before you are due to leave look at the long range weather forecast at your destination. Unless it is changing drastically by the day you should have a fair idea of the local weather and in turn, the type of clothing and outerwear you may need. If it is changing dramatically then you will need to have clothing for opposing forecasts on hand.
- Do laundry at least one week before. Having everything you are considering bringing at hand makes life very easy when it comes to zipping that bag up on time!
- Make any travel related purchases a week in advance if possible. Packing can seem daunting enough, shopping in order to be able to pack is even worse.
- Make sure your passport, travel insurance and currency exchange is in order. Who needs a bank run on travel day? Please! Airports are stressful enough.
- Pour your toiletries into small travel bottles in advance of your trip. Large and bulky full-sized shower gels and lotions will add ridiculous amounts of weight to your bag.
Hot weather vacations are probably the easiest type of trip to pack for. The contents of your luggage are pretty self explanatory: swimwear; beachwear; dinner-time. Done. The same could be said for a cold weather getaway. Snow apparel for day-time, chunky knits and boots for dinner etc. City breaks however, can be more difficult to plan for. Especially European travel where the weather can be rather erratic.
Choosing The Right Clothing
- Bring staple pieces that can be worn multiple ways. For example your favorite jeans that can be dressed up for dinner and worn casually during the day. Or a cardigan that will provide some warmth in the day with shorts and also over your dress for dinner.
- Always bring more tops than bottoms.
- If you think you have too many shoes, you do. Reconsider the 5″ stilettos. The cobble streets of Medieval Prague won’t be kind to your little piggies.
- Bring a jacket. The one thing you may not end up wearing but won’t regret taking up space in your bag.
- Wide brimmed felt or wool hats (a huge favorite of mine) are very popular at the moment and make for a stylish look while being super practical in a breezy/wet city situation.
- Don’t compromise your personal style, just think minimally. Less is definitely more while traveling.
The Nitty Gritty
- Lay out everything you’re bringing in such a way that you can see everything.
- Put shoes and boots on the bottom and in them roll underwear, tank tops, any other small items of clothing and accessories.
- Move on to the ‘next smallest’ items of clothing and roll (roll from a flat,neat fold to ensure that they won’t crease), then place them into the gaps created on the bottom of the case by your shoes.
- At this point you should have ‘built’ a flat, gap-less layer.
- Now you can add any cosmetic bags, building up the rest of the layer with jeans and shorts.
- Finally the top layer should be designated for dresses, skirts and delicate items such as tops and blouses that will easily crease. By allowing them plenty of space to minimally fold them they should survive the journey unscathed.
- Unless you have plenty of room, wear you coat and hat traveling.
When you’re done with your main bag, pack your handbag while you’re still in packing mode.
You are set!
Go have fun on your travels you jetsetter (you’re prepared after all!)