A couple of years ago I was invited to speak at a Women’s Conference just outside New York City. My husband and I along with some friends arrived the night before. We were exhausted after a long trip and all I wanted was a hot bath and time to relax. Nevertheless, I knew I had to prepare for the next day since I was the first speaker of the morning. As I began unpacking, a terrible unpleasant feeling came over me. I saw a picture in my mind of my shoe case sitting on the side of my bed at home. Everything in me wanted to believe I was wrong, but I knew my case of shoes were over 800 miles away. After that fiasco I decided to never last-minute pack again. I have since learned a few nifty things that ensured my packing preparation is well managed and stress-free.
1. The right bag
Believe it or not having the right kind of luggage can really impact your packing. Durability, flexibility and style are all important, so make sure you purchase the right luggage. A durable set of suitcases are vital when you consider the abuse luggage endures. Between being stuffed in trunks, flung onto conveyer belts, and taking a beating from other luggage, it makes sense to invest wisely. Flexibility is often optional, but shouldn’t be. Purchasing luggage that offers additional space or optional alternatives for use can prove helpful when returning from your trip with more items than you took with you. And of course style is just that, your personal taste. The classic look is the norm, but if an animal print is what you like, then go for it. More importantly, having a set of suitcases is key, because you always know to look for a certain number of bags that are uniform in appearance.
2. Make a list
I’ve found that making a packing list has reduced my stress level before traveling immensely. Writing out a list of everything you intend to take including matching accessories, and of course shoes will help you know what to wash, dry clean and ultimately look for when you start packing. You can break your list down into sections like daywear, sportswear, evening-wear, footwear, Jewelry, and toiletries. Or, if you know what you want to wear each day, you can do your list by the days of the week. Additionally, having an exact list of the contents of your bags can be helpful should the Airport misplace or lose your luggage.
3. Start early
If you have a guest room or setting area it’s a great place to have your open suitcase setup days before your scheduled to leave. Each day place a few items from your list around your suitcase, not in it. The goal is to get everything in one place so you can see all that needs to be packed. This is helpful for a number of reasons. First, it helps so you don’t pack things out of order, then you can see everything your taking and make any last minute changes necessary without having to unpack your entire suitcase. More importantly, you can perhaps avoid airport security delays by making sure everything your packing is airport safe beforehand.
4. Roll, Stack & Pack
As a Marine, my husband is always reminding me of the roll method of packing for the sake of space. If you need to pack for more than one person in the same suitcase, then you’ll absolutely love this. The trick is to fold and roll every article down to the smallest most compact size you can. Then, side by side, stack and pack every item like cans in a box. Also, remember to hang your clothing immediately to help manage any wrinkles.
5. Ready, Set, Go
Having my luggage packed, ready and set to go the night before my trip is my ultimate objective. I suggest placing all your luggage at the front door or in the trunk of the car the night before for at least three reasons. First, you’ll reduce stress and sleep better the night before your trip. Next, it frees your mind to focus on other must-haves, and trip details. Lastly, by loading your car the night before, it may serve as a safety precaution for the security of your home.
In the end, quality luggage, a packing list, starting early, packing right and finishing the night before your trip will reduce your stress and save time in the long run, and of course it will help you to avoid having to speak barefoot to a room full of people. As always be safe and have fun.