I’m a fairly well travelled soul. Growing up with living in a completely different side of the world to the rest of your extended family has its benefits as you really do get to see the world and that is something that I believe my parents did a great job at was making sure my brother and I experienced as much of the world as they could possibly show us. A minimum of once a year we would go on holiday to England for a month, but we wouldn’t stay in England for that whole month. Sometimes we’d venture off into Europe, other times to the States. I was privileged. I still am, as I travel quite frequently, just not as frequently as before as once you start to grow up you realise that travelling is not cheap but it’s totally worth it. Nowadays they seem to be more in the business sense of travel and the packing involved for business freaks me out more than holiday packing.
That being said, last week I had no idea that I would be embarking on a short flight to Johannesburg for work tomorrow and it creates small panic that I have to pack tonight, you see, I may have travelled a lot in life but that does not take away the sheer terror of packing. Is this a phobia? I believe it could be. I have had many packing balls-ups in the past, one being going to Sun City for a weekend and forgetting to pack any underwear – only swimwear, other occasions going to Mauritius and leaving the SUNBLOCK behind in South Africa or forgetting cell phone/iPad chargers… the list goes on and they are all not a train smash but they are inconvenient.
I somehow always end up putting packing to the back of my mind and ignoring it until either the night before or a few hours before the flight, then PANIC mode sets in. The problem with work related trips is sometimes they come along at very short notice and VOILA you are being whisked away for a few nights and you are not prepared.
Over the years I have come to my own little systematic routine of what clothes pack first, starting with underwear, and working my way from there – if its a short trip I try and plan each day being what outfit I am going to wear that day and then what I might want to change into if I’m not comfortable being super smart all day long and then eventually what PJ’s I need then trying to find shoes that I can wear more than once, for example a pair of flip-flops can double up as slippers in the summer, etc. I try and leave the bulky stuff like dressing gowns behind, which is easier said than done in the winter rather than the summer. Accessories can be counted in here too but be careful what valuables you leave in your suitcase, even if you lock it – as locks only keep honest people out.
I run through this list a couple of times in my head and try and find out if my clothes are finished before working on the other stuff that needs to be packed.
Toiletries can be tricky and I shake my head every time I see people travelling with full size products. Decant it or buy the travel the size, its easier on your luggage and for goodness sake please try and keep it simple. Run through your daily routine, body wash and body lotion cleanser, toner, moisturiser, then toothbrush with toothpaste, then hair brush. Is it that time of the month? Make sure you have adequate supplies but if it isn’t don’t bulk up your toilet bag with stuff you don’t need.
I should really not be writing about packing makeup and things you don’t need because I always over pack makeup. I cannot help it. In theory I know I should only pack the basics being a small brush set, with primer, foundation and setting powder with a basic eye-palette some concealer, eyeliner and mascara. The array of lipstick shades in my handbag should do me for such a short trip but for the life of me I cannot help but over pack makeup.
Packing electronics and related hardware
This falls into the hand luggage category for me as far too many times I’ve been stuck without my suitcase for sometimes days at a time. I know this sounds like a no brainer but mobile phone chargers are easily forgotten and you suffer without them. Think about what electronics are making the voyage with you and what you need to keep them working. Laptops need chargers and I cannot work without my USB mouse, iPads need charging too. It is all stuff that is easily over looked and required.
Other related stuff to your trip
If you are going away on business, do not leave the business documents behind. If you are going away for leisure you need some reading material. If you need certain documents like an ID book or passport, make sure you have those ready and available. If you are going somewhere scenic, do not be an idiot like me and leave your SLR camera at home – you will regret it as cell phone pictures only do certain things justice – like selfies.
If you are flying weigh your case before you leave. It alleviates so much stress knowing you are under the airlines weight limit.
Do you have any specific packing routines that you think could alleviate the stress of packing? Please share with me!