Getting ready for a trip can be stressful – so much to do, so little time, and that ever-nagging feeling like you have forgotten to pack something. We used to feel that way about travel, but we realized we were often repeating the same steps and making the same lists over and over again. Over the years, we have learned to tackle certain tasks thoroughly just once, rather than repeating them:
1. Purse/Wallet List: Our day-to-day wallet and purse have lots of stuff that we don’t need to bring when we travel (e.g., local coffee shop card, checks that need to be deposited, mail that needs to be dropped off, work access badge) and weeding out those items before trips took up too much time. Later, we’d get home and forget to put things back in.
In addition, our normal purse and wallet worked well at home but were often too bulky for a trip. So, we got a separate one that worked well for travel. Using the purse as an example – I have a separate, duplicate purse for travel that has everything I need for a trip (e.g., travel brush, lip balm, bandages, tissue). However, there will be certain items you cannot duplicate – make a list of these things (see below in white) and keep in the travel purse/wallet. We made ours using notecards and coated with clear packing tape.
This saves you from sorting through what does and doesn’t need to come on your trip or forgetting to put your work badge or coffee card back after your trip. Just grab the few things that need to come and move them over into your travel bag. (Note that you don’t necessarily need to buy an extra purse for this purpose, you can put your travel purse item in a ziplock or canvas bag, then just grab a purse that works.) Remember, you can skip a wallet and just use a binder clip to hold your cards and money instead.
2. Toiletry Kit List: Trying to think of what toiletries were needed before each trip was frustrating, so we each created a standing toiletry kit that is always ready to go. It includes items we can duplicate (e.g., razor, tweezers, toothbrush), items that need to be refilled (e.g., shampoo, soap, toothpaste), and items that must be added each time (e.g., tooth-grinding mouth guard, would cost $400 to duplicate) – make a list of all these things. (See picture above in green.) Again, we made ours using notecards and coated with clear packing tape.
Creating the list can be very easy – just write down the items you use the next time you get ready for your day in the morning and for bed in the evening. You can also refer to the toiletry section of our packing list. See also our Toiletry Kit Packing Guide and our favorite toiletry kit.
3. Packing List: There was a time when we would put together a new packing list before each trip. Now we keep a go-to packing list that we edit periodically. You can create your own list and store it in a program like google docs or Evernote, then print a copy before your next trip. Remember that you can also start with our packing list.
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