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It’s finally time for your next big trip, and you’ve probably spent weeks, if not months, looking forward to it and planning everything you want to do. But have you spent as much time thinking about what you need to bring along?

Somehow, packing always seems to end up as a last-minute rush. Who doesn’t know the nagging feeling of having forgotten something at home just after leaving?

If you’re lucky, it’s only a luggage tag (did you know you can make your own?) or some sun cream; if you’re unlucky, it’s a memory card for your camera, or worse, your passport. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have everything you need the whole way.

5 Simple Steps to Perfect Packing

Step 1 – Make a List

There are plenty of online tools available to help you here – the more detailed your list, the easier it is to pack everything. There are even customized lists for your destination – skiing trips, beach holidays, or sightseeing weekends.

Lists are a great way to make sure you have everything down, from your new pair of cat-eye sunnies to your Galaxy S8 case.

Be sure to start making your lists a couple of weeks in advance, so that you have time to think of and jot down everything you could need.

Step 2 – Pack Less and Pack Well

If you pack twenty items, it’s much easier to forget one than if you only pack five. Packing less items will also reduce the stress of having to catch a flight with a huge suitcase.

If you can’t downsize anything, try to pack it logically. Before you put it all in your suitcase, stack all the clothes, toiletries, and essential items in separate piles so you can keep an eye on what you’ve already got together.

Having everything out in front of you in an organised manner will also help to remind you if there’s anything missing.

Instead of using disposable plastic bags when packing, it’s far more environmentally friendly (and a lot easier to stay organized) to use packing cubes.

Step 3 – Plan Ahead

Unless you go on a spontaneous trip, you’ll probably see it coming – so plan accordingly. It’s useful to check the weather forecast beforehand, so that you know whether you’ll need an umbrella or strong sun cream.

You can also check out the area you’re going to and see if there’s anything specific you might want to have, such as snorkels. Planning ahead will also allow you the time to buy anything which you might not have.

Step 4 – Take Photos

Take photos of things you have packed, and that way, if you’re later not sure, you can reassure yourself rather than unpacking your entire suitcase.

This also applies to people who worry about locking the door or leaving the stove on; you may feel strange doing it, but when the anxiety hits you’ll be thanking yourself.

Step 5 – Relax

If you’ve followed the above steps, you probably have nothing to worry about. Take a deep breath and have some faith in yourself. Don’t let the stress of packing ruin your trip!

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    24 Comments

  1. We travel with kids so we have a tendency to overpack everything. I think when you travel on longish trip 2 months plus you get better every time at it. For me, I find that I tend to wear the same stuff. I wash it goes back on top of the suitcase it goes on again over and over.

    • I also tend to wear the same stuff, and I agree, you definitely get better at knowing what you do / don’t need after you’ve taken a couple of trips.

      I haven’t yet traveled with kids, though I do understand how you would want to be prepared and over packing because of that. Different when you’re responsible for other people too :)

  2. I tend to pack at last minute and just deal with what I bring. Yes, I usually forget something or wish I had something on trips, so maybe I should listen to your advice. Ha.

    • Haha I think we’ve all been there and done that – it sounds pedantic to have a list, but it really does ensure you’ve got everything you need to bring :)

  3. I do agree that if you overpack, you tend to forget the most important things. Layering is my trick, and of course… laundromats! Yet I have never tried to take photos, while I do make lists that I check to make sure I brought everything!

    • Layering and laundromats are my tricks to traveling light too … or if there’s not a laundromat … the hotel bath / sink!!

      I’ve found the photos also help for any travel insurance claims you might / hopefully won’t need to make – because they often request a list of what was in missing luggage, or proof that you had something with you on your trip etc. So I try to get into the habit of doing this for every trip :)

  4. This article came at the right time since I booked yesterday my Christmas vacations in Germany and Czech Republic and I wonder how I can manage packing everything in a cabin bag!

    • Germany and Czech Republic are awesome destinations to spend Christmas Efthimis – hope you have a wonderful trip! Glad we could help out with some packing tips :)

  5. I usually love to plan ahead when I’m about to travel to make sure that I don’t forget anything… I often find myself stressing over unpacked things if I pack the night before. LOL. Helpful tips btw! ;)

    • It definitely helps in managing the stress! Glad our tips were helpful :)

  6. I always take photos of the important docs and save them in Google Drive. It can be pretty handy in case you lose your luggage.

    • Awesome to hear Gokul – I would also recommend saving it to your laptop or phone too, just in case you need to pull them up in an area which doesn’t have a connection :)

  7. We are the kind of travelers who pack their bags almost in the last minute. But fortunately it is rare for us to leave anything behind. It is always a challenge to decide on what to take and what to leave. Taking pictures of the things packed, that is an innovative suggestion, will try it out when we pack next. :)

    • I think we’ve all been there before :D Glad to hear you rarely forget things though! And that we could give you the heads up on the tip to take photos. I find it’s great for peace of mind :)

  8. Totally agree. Your packing tips come in really handy! I would use your advice for my upcoming trip!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Chloe, and that we could set you up with some strategies for your upcoming trip :)

  9. Packing is one of my least favourite things about travelling and I almost always forget something! I’ll definitely be using your tips to help me pack for my next adventure!

    • I think it’s everyone’s least favorite thing honestly … although … I like unpacking even less!! Lol. Glad we could help with strategies to use for your next adventure :)

  10. Great tips Megan, One thing I would like to know is, how do I stop losing things once I am actually travelling. I am always misplacing things, whether it is my cutlery or my mini stove. I always lose something.

    • Thanks Mike – I would suggest having a place for everything, and after you’ve finished using it, putting it back in it’s designated place. Packing cubes work really well for me in that sense, and you can get different colors to organize and coordinate everything even further. Mike help if you’re misplacing things a lot :)

  11. I have traveled often enough that packing is now a 5 minute job. (I no longer worry how neat the stacks are, since I have rarely NOT had my luggage rummaged over by TSA.)

    • Good point on TSA – they sure do know how to mess up a carefully organized bag! With little care for putting it back together – glad to hear you’ve got packing down to a fine art – congrats!

  12. I’m a great fan of lots of separate piles that I can then go through and cull as I pack.

    • A great strategy! I do often try to do that as well :)

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