Travel is a great joy. Nothing else compares to the experience of getting away, seeing other cultures. It puts everything into perspective. Packing, however, can be stressful. If done well, however, the focus remains as it should on the travel experience, the moments of being present in that blissful state of otherness and escape.
General tip: I like to start the process at least one to two days prior.
This way the next day is just fine tuning, adding items you may have forgotten like socks or underwear (I have done it! NOT fun!) A strange aside: My husband never packs until a few hours before he leaves for the airport. I find this very bizarre and vicariously stressful but somehow it works for him.
#1. Must Haves. Pack your must have items first - the ones you will be very saddened by or uncomfortable, if left behind. Things like sleepwear - undergarments etc. I like to pack all underwear, bras and socks in a separate packing unit for easy grabbing. Porter makes nice looking solutions like this or this.
#2. Shoes. Arrange the shoe choices early as you want your feet situation to be taken care of. Always opt for comfort and versatility on trips. I always take a sturdy black shoe, a sneaker for hiking opportunities or working off those decadent vacation meals, and one nice "going out shoe" that is still somewhat sensible. A chunky heel works as well.
#3. Lightweight Jacket. I always take a Uniqlo down puffer. Ridiculously lightweight, perfect for layering with a coat without adding bulk! Sleek style plus superb warmth, as you never really know what the weather is like when travelling abroad. Durable and water-repellent, it folds down to a pocketable design in a compact size for easy carrying. Its as good as carrying that easy cardigan you throw over everything.
#4. Bags. I always bring a practical tote with lots of pockets for on the plane, and a horizontal business bag if I’m going on a business trip. A small cross body is nice to have for hands-free touring.
Bring one clutch that be used at night or inside your bigger bag. If travelling abroad bring a brightly colored pouch for your passport and travel documents. This way, if you are in a rush you see + can get to them quickly.
Place all your cords, chargers and adapters in a pouch to keep them together—I am such a fan of pouches! Nothing is more irritating than cords flying all around, or getting lost. Also don’t forget to bring a mobile phone or iPad charger.
#5. Comfortable Clothing. I always pack easy white shirts and tshirts, my favorite jeans from Chimala, and then some navy, grey and black things to fill it out. One cashmere cardigan/or wrap is essential for layering.
#6. Snacks. Take a few healthy snack items in case you are starving, so you don’t reach for something you will regret later. I tried these bars recently and they are delicious.
Hydrate before the plane - I always say I’m going to drink a lot of water but I get on a plane and just settle down into immobile mode. One glass of wine max on flights; you want to arrive fresh rather than sluggish.
Elizabeth's Extra Packing Tips:
Choose makeup that goes with everything (your favorites) and keep it tight. Don’t forget to include bits of medicine/remedies you might need like aspirin, ibuprofen, cold medications, tummy soothers, etc. just in case.
Take an empty drawstring bag to put your dirty clothes in. I tend to get a bit OCD with the dirty stuff touching the clean stuff so this helps.
Moisturize heavily with something extra thick on your hands and/or eyes. I’ve tried a million things but I really like Lucas Pawpaw Ointment for lips and cuticles.
Download all your books or shows etc that you want to watch the day before too. Being trapped in an airport for hours is less dull if you have amusement so plan for delays and tedium. My latest favorite series are Broadchurch, Killing Eve or The After Life. I really enjoyed reading Deborah Batterman's book Just Like February recently.
I have tried so many sleep pillows and this one is the best so far.
~ Bon Voyage!