Getting Lost (Travel), Travel Tips

Packing Tips for the Procrastinator

Anytime I bring my suitcase out of the closet, my mood immediately improves (even though I’m most likely already in a good mood before I find my suitcase). My tiny suitcase (which actually fits the size restrictions for a carry-on bag) has scuff marks and dirt on the fabric from being tossed around different airplanes, trekking through rain, and enduring dirt being splattered on it. Yet despite its physical lack of beauty, my suitcase represents the new journey about to begin, and the endless possibilities that await- because of course every time that suitcase comes out, that means I’m on my next adventure!

Globe in Murchison Falls National Park
Knowing facts (such as the climate and culture) of where you will be traveling to makes packing more defined and organized.

I’m a notorious last-minute packer. For me, packing right before I leave (as in the day or possibly few hours) is easier and less pressuring. I know what I want to pack and I don’t have to set aside clothes earlier in the week that I might need to wear before I leave for my trip. Also, I only have a few hours before I leave so I better start packing or I won’t have anything to take with me. 🙂 Great thought process there haha.

Despite the procrastination in packing, I still manage to stay organized and know exactly what I need- except for that one time I forgot socks when I did volunteering in Miami for a week, or that time I… So we all forget a toothbrush or a jacket or another item sometimes and it can be hard to avoid that last-minute forgetfulness. Items we use everyday, such as hairbrushes, toothpaste, or deodorant are easily forgotten for the fact that they are used everyday and we don’t take the time to think about what we use everyday.

I may not be able to help you remember all the items you need for your next vacation, but hopefully the following tips will help:

Packing Tips:

1. Know where you are going-

Having a general idea of where you are going will allow you to make the appropriate decisions for what to bring/wear on your trip. A business trip will require business attire and often different leisure clothing than what you might wear on a trip to the Bahamas.  A vacation with family to a ski resort will not suggest shorts and a tank top. Research where you will be traveling to (this is especially helpful if this will be your first time to the area) and find out what the weather is normally like at the time you are traveling, how close you will be to stores (will the items you need be at these stores? Remember, not all countries may have a variety or abundance of supplies like what you are used to), and what the culture is like and what the purpose of your travels are.  I traveled to Uganda on a missions trip for two weeks in July and stayed in a village. All women in the village wear long skirts past the knees. Another time when I traveled to St. Martin on a missions trip I wore long skirts past my knees in respect of the culture I was living in. Respecting other cultures is part of the beauty of traveling. Learning to appreciate how others live and how that may differ from you is an experience that helps you grow.

2. Lists, lists, lists-

Since I seem to pack as close to the time I leave as possible, it may appear that I do not think through what I need etc. However, I keep an ongoing list in my head or on a piece of paper or my phone, days or even weeks before I leave. This list has regular toiletry items I will need and possible outfits, along with probable numbers of how many of each item I will need. This list makes packing so much faster, and helps me to remember what I need.

 3. Pack what you would least expect to pack-

After you have finished packing, think about what you wouldn’t pack and then question if you should actually pack that item. You may think you won’t need a light sweater or jacket on your upcoming trip to the Bahamas, but what happens if a sudden rain storm passes over, leaving you soaked and soon freezing when you enter an air -conditioned building? Staples such as [at least one]  jacket, one pair of closed-toed shoes (I’d recommend sneakers in case you decide to exercise, do some outdoor activities, or if the weather turns bad), socks, and one pair of  pants are good to have with you.


What helps you stay organized and at ease while packing?


2 thoughts on “Packing Tips for the Procrastinator”

  1. Hmm..what helps me stay calm while packing? Having a calm and organized friend help, like my sis! You know I often ask you for advice – should I bring this? Do I really need that? and I am always so appreciative to have you with me during what could be such a stressful time! I think putting on fun music helps, and thinking about the adventure ahead. I think your points are great about thinking through your destination environment and activities, making a list and then going back over it to thing of anything else. Functional clothes/shoes, limited yet versatile accessories, and extra undergarments (which I like putting in their own little bag/ziplock) are some of my staples. Oh, and remember to wear layers on the airplane…sometimes it’s like the arctic up there! And don’t forget to leave room for items you might pick up while traveling – they’re often cooler than the ones you bring!


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