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Take an Organized Approach to Packing for Travel

It really doesn’t matter what the project is.  Taking an organized approach to problem solving and solution execution will always provide better results, with less wasted time and less stress.  Always.  Consider the positive impact of taking an organized approach to packing for business travel or vacation.  The less than organized approach likely involves trying to both decide what to take and looking for it simultaneously.  This results in wasted time and stress as you mentally try to keep all of the balls in the air.  Disorganized packing often means packing far more than you really need because without a packing plan, you lack the confidence that you have what you need and so you will pack more, just in case.  Overpacking makes for heavier lifting, slower travel and higher travel costs.  An organized approach to packing solves all of these problems.

Here are the steps to take to enjoy the benefits of an organized approach to packing.

1.  Plan.  All organized systems hinge off adequate planning.  Think about your travel plans and start listing the things you will need.  Doug Dyment, the “Go-Light Guru”, makes an important distinction about what should be on your packing list.  He writes, “A list of stuff you might want to take is very different from a list of things that you can’t travel (comfortably) without.”  Your packing list should be a list of things you can’t travel comfortably without, keeping in mind what you could acquire away from home if needed.

Plan what type of luggage you’ll need.  Take a bag or bags that will adequately contain the contents of your packing list.  Also, take a bag or bags that best support moving your things along the way.  Consider how you will move from car to airport, airport to destination, etc.  Think about the possibility of being stranded with your luggage, could you manage in an airport or train station or along the side of the road?  If not, re-think you bag choice.

2.  Collect.  As with so many organizing projects, before you contain your things, you need to collect them in one place.  Establish a staging area for gathering the items on your packing list.  This could be laundry basket, bed or floor area.  As you collect things, keep a critical eye on the volume of what you plan to take.  Make adjustments as needed to refine what you take down to what you need and not what you might need.

3.  Pack.  Once you’ve collected the items on you packing list it’s time to pack.  Consider the type of trip you’re taking.  Do you have one or multiple destinations?  Will you be able to unpack at your destination or will you be living out of your suitcase?  Pack not only so you can fit items into your bag, but also so you can find what you need when you need it.  See below for links to tips and strategies for packing items in a travel bag.

Plan.  Collect.  Pack.  This is an organized approach to packing that will streamline the time it takes to get packed, reduce stress and worry about forgetting things and result in an all-around successful packing experience.

Here are resources for specific tips on how to pack a bag for travel.

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