Years ago I used to travel for work more than I do now. And as a result, I eventually created a “travel list” which I saved as a document in my computer. Why create a similar list over and over? Why worry that I might forget something that I need to take? In order to reduce pre-travel anxiety, my physical list helps me keep the details out of my head or worried I will forget something.
The Travel list is similar to a grocery list. The “staples” include a section on toiletries, things to occupy my time with on a plane or in a hotel room, the things I need to do my job, and the basic clothing I would wear on my trip and essentials to keep in my purse. For example, I bring a spare pair of contact lenses in my purse and not in my suitcase. If I were to lose my luggage, I would be more handicapped without my contact lenses than clothing and toiletries which can be replaced before even leaving the airport.
Based on how long the planned trip is, I have a basic list of travel clothes to be comfortable in while on the plane and then the list of “easy” travel outfits. The best outfits are the ones which are semi-interchangeable. I choose black or brown pants that go with any and all blouses I bring and one or two pair of shoes that would go with all of the pants or skirts.
I bring shoes that would be comfortable to travel in and easy to remove through airport security, but also nice enough if I need to see my client directly from the airport. I take blouses that need little-to-no ironing and the kind of blouses that can also be washed in a hotel room and drip dry over night.
I bring other accessories that all go well with each other, from sweaters to scarves, make up and jewelry that goes with any outfit. This goes back to my recommendation to have lots of solid colored tops because they can go with more pants, such as a red blouse looking good with brown, black, blue or gray pants. Choosing a color theme when traveling can give you more last minute options of what articles of clothing will go with each other.
I also have a methodology for how far in advance I start to pack for a trip. This is something my ex-husband used to make fun of me for. But I was always the one who was organized and ready to go, without any last minute panic or shopping to deal with. If I am going to be traveling for a day or two, I start to pack a few days in advance (instead of the night before) and make sure that I have all the weather-appropriate clothes ready.
If I am going out of town for two weeks, I would probably start to pack two weeks in advance. When you have a Travel List, you can stylize it any way you want. If that means bringing protein bars with you or gluten-free snacks, then you should have that on your list. You may also want to remind yourself to bring a bunch of single dollar bills with you for tipping at the airport, taxis, hotel staff and restaurants. If you need special things in your hotel room to help you sleep, that should be on your list as well. I like to bring a couple of melatonin pills with me. And according to one article I read, about 25% of all men travel with a stuffed animal! Who knew?
When you know exactly what you will be packing in your luggage, it makes it easier to organize it all. I like to pack shoes in plastic bags so that the soles of the shoes will not touch my clothing and then a few extra plastic bags for toiletries to protect against any liquid spills and to use for return packing, such as dirty clothes.
My Travel List is then checked off before I zip the luggage up and walk out the door. The list includes reminders to turn off or on certain lights, fountains, air conditioning, and anything in my home that I want to set a certain way before I leave.
Author: Kartar Diamond
Company: Feng Shui Solutions (R) Since 1992
From the Tao of Organizing Blog Series