The biggest travel epiphanies have come to me from Erin.
- Use a squashable, indestructibleÂ duffel bag, not a hard-sided carry-on.
- Bring either brown shoes, or black shoes, not both, and coordinate your outfits around them.
- And always use a packing list.
This will sound obsessive, but it works like a charm, especially if packing stresses you out as it did me, and especially if you travel often as I did. It’s no exaggeration to say that it totally changed how I travel. And it’s super-easy to do.
- Pack as usual the first time, but scribble down a list of everything you took. (Oh, and here’s another packing epiphany. Put everything on the bed before you put anything in the suitcase. That way you can see everything all at once and tell what you’re bringing too much of, or what you’re forgetting. And if it doesn’t fit on the bed, it doesn’t go. I don’t care how long you’re going for. Put it back.)
- When you get back, cross off what you didn’t use. (There’s always a handful of things.)
- Repeat once or twice more, and then copy the final list over, and make it your bible. Use it every single time you pack. Tweak very slightly as necessary. (You’ll be surprised at how infrequently it’s necessary.)
I’ve had mine for years and it’s worked for everything from week-long business trips to weekend beach getaways to European holidays.
Travel has lots of the unexpected, so make the standard stuff as rote as possible. Why think about whether you’ve remembered underpants when you can think about what you’re going to do on your adventure?