It's nearing the end of Travel and Escapes month here at Apartment Therapy, and I got to thinking about my routines and rituals that I go through when I take a trip. I find that when I clean my home before I pack, it prevents me from missing important items, and helps me stay organized. Here are my favorite tips to help me become an organized traveler.
• Clean your room This is probably the most important thing I do to prepare myself for a trip. If I make sure that my laundry is done and put away, my belongings are all tidied, and my bed is made before I begin packing, it allows me to more methodically select what I need to bring on my trip. It helps me to choose my favorite and most appropriate clothing, I am less likely to forget things that I need, and it's easier to pack on a neatly made bed than a messy one. Plus, everyone loves to come home to a clean house!
• Make a list This may seem elementary, but different trips require different accoutrement. For me, one of the exciting parts about a trip is the build-up of excitement prior to the actual events. So, while I'm daydreaming about all of the fun things I'll be doing when I get to fill-in-the-blank, I make a list of things I'll need to do them! Need help on this one? The Independent Traveler has a great interactive list here.
• Choose the right bag I have a giant bag. If I fill it (which I am inclined to do as I am an unabashed over-packer) I end up perilously close to the 50 pound limit most airlines have. So, unless I really know that I need that much room, I opt for the bag that I always think will be too small. It always ends up doing just fine. Use your common sense to dictate how much luggage you need. And if you're an over-packer like me, face the facts and try to tame that beast!
• Plan for souvenirs Leave yourself some room to bring home souvenirs, gifts, or additional items. If you're a shopper, don't pack your luggage to the brim--you'll need the space when you are heading back. Or, if you haven't maximized your limit of carry-ons, bring an extra empty bag for the return trip. This came in extremely handy for me last holiday season.
• Carry on valuables I know folks that always bring at least one change of clothes in their carry-on in the event that their luggage is lost. I don't, personally, but maybe I should!
However, I always make sure to carry-on all of my valuables and things I cannot replace immediately, like glasses, medication, and fancy jewelry.
• Roll up clothing I'm a convert. By rolling up each article of clothing, your clothes stay pretty wrinkle-free and often take up the least amount of space. I've also read a lot about a packing method called bundling, where you wrap your clothing around itslef, with your most wrinkle-proof things in the center. I haven't tried it, though, so I can't vouch for it. One Bag, a website devoted to packing efficiency, seems to swear by it!
A few more things to keep in mind on your quest to be an Organized Traveler:
• Don't lock your luggage.
• The thing about the liquids and the 3 oz. — just get some small bottles already, would ya!?
• For long trips, road trips, and honestly, just because they come in handy all of the time, bring some moist towlettes.
Now, what did I miss? What helpful hints do you have for successful packing? And have any of you tried this bundle method?