As you get closer to your departure date, the most difficult and important part edges into your mind – what to pack for your trip. The balance between packing too much and not enough is delicate, and there must be an easier way to sift through clothes and gear at home in order to get the right combination. This article will help you not only pack the correct amount of clothes, but also the gear that you need, using as little space as possible.
When should you start packing?
If you’re a planner and need to get everything done weeks beforehand, it will probably be much the same packing for a trip. Or, you could be the procrastinator who waits until hours before to shove everything they think they need into a bag and call it good. No matter what person you are, it is always good to have a plan for packing, and set aside clothes about a week before the trip begins. This way, you won’t wear something you want to bring with you and forget it at home, and you’re not packing everything away months ahead of the trip.
What should I do days before leaving?
Make sure any documents you need for the trip are either printed out or accessible on your phone, and kept in a safe place like your carry-on or backpack. It would be severely unfortunate to forget your passport until you stepped into the airport. You also want to make sure your house or apartment is properly closed so that nothing will go bad or be open in an empty home. This includes pets, and having someone either come to the house to take care of them or bringing them somewhere else.
After you’ve completed those steps, and everything is packed, sit back and let your travel excitement flourish.
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Gear for Traveling
In terms of the word gear, this would be anything that is not clothing. Toiletries, makeup, period products, etc. it is the stuff that keeps you fresh and ready for a new adventure.
Travel size is usually the best way to go in terms of toiletries, not just because they are small. Many times the trip is within a week or two span, so bringing larger soaps does not make sense, and uses up space and poundage in your luggage. The best thing to do would be to find travel size items, or buy small containers that you can pour the soaps into. Toiletries would include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, a razor, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, a hairbrush and any makeup you may use.
For female travelers, you also have to be aware when your monthly cycle will come – and whether it will be during your trip or not. If so, make sure you have all the tampons, pads, and liners you may need, and then pack a couple extra. It’s always better to have a little more than you need with these products, especially if you go to another country and they do not provide the same types of products you’re used to.
Whether it’s a business trip or a vacation, make sure you have all the electronics and charging cords you may need. It’s also important to check if you need to buy a different charging port, as other countries have different voltage sockets. An easy Google search and a quick purchase on Amazon can solve all those issues, and guarantee you have a full charge the entire trip.
Other Gear Examples
Camera, umbrella, books to read, drawstring bag/purse, headphones, etc.
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So you’ve collected all your gear, and staring into your closet is not getting you any closer to putting clothing into the suitcase. How much do I pack? In past experience, this can be challenging, especially if it is a new country you’re exploring. Two pieces of information will be key to figuring out what is the perfect amount – the weather forecast and the number of days in the vacation.
The weather will dictate if you need lots of sweaters or several pairs of shorts. Take time as the trip gets closer to look up the temperatures expected in the city or country you are visiting, or even look up the average temperatures of that region during a specific month. This will help you narrow down what to pack, and if you should bring that sweater or leave it at home. But, even if you are going somewhere warmer, it doesn’t hurt to have one set of warmer clothes just in case.
Number of Days in the Vacation
This information will help you the most, because it creates a baseline for how many clothes you need. You will need at least that amount of clothing to last your trip, but you can always get around this rule too.
Take for example a trip that will last seven days. For this, you want to have at least seven pairs of underwear, socks, and shirts. But, things like bras and pants can have different numbers, because you can wear them for more than one day and be fine. Below is a mock list of what I would usually pack for a seven day trip in a relatively warm environment, and you can tweak the numbers from there based on your preference for rewearing certain items of clothing, or wanting more of a certain item.
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My Usual Packing List for Seven Days:
- Underwear – 9 pairs
- Socks – 9 pairs
- Bras – 2 or 3
- Shirts – 9 (possibly have a couple be long sleeves if colder)
- Shorts – 3 to 4
- Pants – 2 to 3
- Pj’s – 1 to 2 sets
- Sweatshirts – 1 to 2
- Shoes – 1 to 2
- Jacket – 1
- Raincoat – 1
- Dress clothes – couple of dresses if planning on a nicer dinner, but if going to meetings then pack accordingly
- Bathing suit – 1 to 2
This packing list is not foolproof, as some trips require a very certain type of clothing. Conferences for instance may require many more sets of dress clothes, while a camping trip would have lots of loungewear. No matter the trip though, this list can kick-start your what to pack anxiety, and help make every trip you take that much easier.