The secret to packing is no secret at all, just a little common sense. Why drag unnecessary items or pay extra to check your bags at the airport? Bring what you need, simple as that! Question everything! Would you pack the same for a week at the beach as you would for a week at a ski resort? No, of course not. Every trip is unique. I have been “casually traveling” my entire adulthood and have never had a packing issue. I like to travel with as little “baggage” as possible. I would take nothing if I could, but the cold hard truth is, we need our stuff.
Sometimes, when packing for a trip we carry items with us just because we think there could be a possibility of a slim chance that an occasion could arise when we would need the one thing we didn't pack. So instead of driving ourselves crazy by over thinking, ask yourself these questions first.
First, I ask myself the following questions... Where am I going, When am I going, How am I getting there, Where am I staying once I get there and Why am I going. To determine the amount of clothing I'll need or want vs. the space available, all depends on my ride. For instance, if I am going on a 7 day trip from Florida to Philadelphia in September by way of car for a family function, I would pack a few extra outfits and probably a few extra pairs of cute boots since I would have extra space in the car. However, If I were flying, I would pack less. And the fact that, in this example, I would be staying with family, I know I'll have access to a washer and dryer.
Next, Who will I be spending time with, what is the weather going to be like and what activities will I be participating in. The reason for these question is because I'm not going to pack the same clothes for visiting family that I would pack if I were going away on a romantic vacation, taking a road trip with friends or going somewhere for a specific event, like a wedding or business meeting. I'm also going to want to take weather appropriate attire. If I'm going away for an adventure weekend, I'll be sure to leave the strappy sandals and sundress at home and if I'm heading to the beach, there's no need to carry any bulky sweaters.
Lastly, I ask myself how much expendable cash do I have and will I be in a remote area or among the population. If I am going to a remote location, like wilderness camping, I pack accordingly and make sure I have everything I need because, chances are, there will be no stores close by. When visiting populated areas, I already know I have access to places like laundromats and stores. I calculate my expendable cash and figure on buying items I would otherwise pack if I have limited space available or want to save money on checked baggage. It's cheaper to buy of travel size toiletries then it is to check an extra bag at the airport.
Tips: Before Leaving for a trip, stop mail/newspaper or arrange for someone to pick them up. Arrange for care of home/pets, pay any bills that may become outstanding while you’re gone, baby carrier/backpack, car seat, toys, set up your out-of-office email response at work, lock up home, doors, windows and shut off water/appliances as needed, enable alarm system and set up light timers.
Below is a list that could serve as a helpful reminder for anything you may have forgotten to add to your own checklist.
Clothing and Basics
Health and Wellness
Travel and Comfort