There are many packing styles to be sure.
Some people plan meticulously for weeks before a trip – putting together every outfit, accessorising and making sure that the shoes are exactly right. Others leave it to the last minute and toss whatever is clean into a bag as they walk out the door. I am somewhere in the middle – I like to figure out my itinerary/events and plan around that. However, I find that if I pack too far in advance, I second guess myself and start throwing additional items in my bag the day before – leading to significant overpacking. Starting too late usually means something significant is forgotten – no blouse to go with a skirt, only packing heels, no ski socks for the Rocky Mountain adventure, etc. There is a law of diminishing returns for me when packing early and frankly, I am still looking for the sweet spot.
On my latest trip to New Zealand there was a perfect storm – an extremely busy time with my business, a dear friend diagnosed with leukaemia, a months’ worth of house guests…. you get the picture. So, the afternoon before an early morning departure I set about to create a pile of clothes to cross the Tasman with, stopping multiple times with various distractions.
By 10 pm I was ready to finish off and get to bed only to find that my partner had brought up the laundry basket and placed my clean gear on the bed (thank you!) – with my items to be packed (uh-oh). Looking at a pile 3x what was necessary, I quickly carved out the items I needed and put the rest in the closet to be sorted on return.
Or so I thought…..
When I opened my suitcase for the first time in Wanaka, I was puzzled that I had 7 sports bras. Further exploration revealed a complete lack of corresponding bottoms. In fact there was an abundance of upper body coverage and woeful coverage from the waist down. I spent the next 10 days alternating between a pair of track pants and a pair of shorts, and shopping for underpants.
I now have a lovely array of merino wool knickers, completely unsuited for the subtropical climate that I live in – and a new methodology for packing:
Once you start – don’t stop. Be vigilant. No distractions. Make a list of the scenarios that you need clothing for (dinners out, hiking, beach etc.), the number of days (i.e. 7 days away = 10-14 pairs of undies) sort it out and finish it. Once you are happy that you have everything covered – that’s it. For frequent travellers, a toiletry “go-bag” makes life super simple – just make sure that you replenish it after every trip.
And don’t throw more things in your suitcase as you get closer to take off – you’re going to need that space for the things that you buy on your trip.
Like merino wool knickers….