How do you pack for travel and not regret it? It’s very easy to just pack everything in a bag and end up regretting it. If you don’t believe me, this happens to travelers all over the world. It doesn’t matter how many places you’ve been to. It doesn’t matter how frequently you travel in any given month. This is bound to happen.
Why? As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, what you’re really achieving is you’re planning to fail. People, believe it or not, plan to fail because they don’t know the first thing about baggage efficiency. They don’t know how to fold the right pieces of clothing. They don’t have an idea as to the essential pieces of clothing they need to go with as well as the optional items they can travel with.
So, when they’re completely clueless about these fundamental pieces of information, it’s no surprise that they end up dropping the ball the moment they go to their destination. If you don’t want that to happen to you, please understand that packing for travel doesn’t necessarily have to be a hassle.
That’s right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a pain in the neck. By having a plan first, you would have a better time getting from point A to point B.
Context is everything
The first thing that you need to do is to figure out why you’re traveling. Are you traveling for business? Are you traveling to reconnect with friends? Are you traveling for pleasure? Are you traveling to visit your parents?
These are very different types of travel with different types of considerations. These different situations then call for different travel plans.
Unfortunately, if you have a one size fits all cookie cutter approach to packing for travel, then it’s no surprise that you end up packing the wrong clothes for the wrong trip at the wrong time. That’s a complete waste of time.
It’s disappointing. It’s no surprise that you are frustrated. In fact, it’s too easy to feel like you’ve gone all this way only to have nothing to wear.
The worst part to all of this is that you have nobody to blame except yourself. If you don’t want to put yourself in this situation, you have to understand that packing for travel is all about context. You have to zero in on the purpose of your travel.
You have to have a clear idea as to who you’ll be meeting and what you’ll be doing once you get to where you’re traveling to.
By filling in the gaps and understanding the different expectations and different mindset that you’re going to be in, then you can have a better idea of what you need to pack. This way, you can make quick work out of packing for travel.
A special note on leisure travel
A lot of people think that it is very easy to pack for business travel. For the most part, they are spot on. Why? You don’t really need much to travel for business. Your objective is clear. Oftentimes, you want the whole thing to be a quick in and out situation. Easy enough, right?
Well, things aren’t all that clear cut and easy to define when you are traveling for leisure. You have to do a bit more thinking to clearly lay out a plan. If you don’t, you might end up packing stuff you don’t need and leaving stuff off that you actually need in your trip.
What makes leisure traveling so frustrating is that we often assume that we travel for leisure with the same plans and the same objective every time we get up and go. This is not true. Different places have different contexts and these show in our attitudes towards those places.
For example, packing up to pay your parents a visit is going to be different from packing up to visit some sort of exotic beach halfway around the world. See the difference? See how this difference can impact mindset and expectations and assumptions? Be aware of these seemingly small differences. They actually have a big impact on the quality of your travel experience.
Be aware of the necessities
I’m happy to report that when it comes to packing for travel, there are certain things that you need to pack regardless. These are just non-negotiable. These have to be in your bag regardless of whether you’re going to Tokyo, Japan or Salzburg, Austria. Whether you’re visiting your parents or you are traveling to Paris for your vacation.
I am, of course, talking about shaving cream, shampoo, certain types of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Please understand that while hotels throughout the world do have these things, you really can’t assume that they would give you the items that you can agree with.
You also can’t assume that the soap is going to react well with your skin. You have to take full advantage and full control of the things that you can control and focus on the absolute items that you have to pack.
Have a ready list of these items. Shop for them so that way, there are no nasty surprises when you get to your destination.
Pack for maximum efficiency
Believe it or not, you don’t have to pack a big bag when packing for travel. You can pack a smaller bag. You just need to conserve on space. You also have to pay attention to the context. If you’re traveling for business and you’re going to just use one outfit, maybe it’s a good idea to just pack one outfit and another as a backup and that’s it.
Focus on the context and efficiency and learn how to pack in tight spaces. If you’re able to do this, then packing for travel is no longer a hassle. It’s no longer a surprise. It’s not longer a source of embarrassment. It’s all about advance planning.
By paying attention to context and non-negotiables and travel essentials, eventually, you will be able to pack for your trips the smart way each and every time.