I’m escaping to Florida this week just in time to avoid another round of zero degree weather here in the Twin Cities. Traveling always inspires packing induced anxiety. Thankfully for me, there is the internet, its sole existence, solving my first world problems. There are many tips and packing guides, breaking it down what you should pack but there are still things you need to know before you can solve the packing mystery.
I follow the who, what,where,when and how questions.
- Who is going: Are you going alone? Are you going with friends and family?
- Where are you going? This determines a lot of weather based packing questions. Also, where are you staying, will there be tiny soaps for your use?
- What will you be doing there? Are you going to need to pack special items because say you are running a race? Will you be going to a wedding? Are you in a wedding? This question drives what you pack.
- When are you going? Similar to where, this is weather based but also culture based. This does not just apply to international travel but also within the USA. If you are going to say Disneyworld, you will want to pack appropriate items for it.
- How long will you be gone? Two weeks is a different suitcase from two days.
Using the example of my upcoming trip, I’m going to Florida for six days. I’ll be doing a race, the Pensacola Double Bridge Run, and various other actives like watching the Superbowl. After a quick check of the weather, I’m ready to pack. The items below are things I need for the race. I could include gel packs to this but those are easily purchased at the expo, thus saving my quart size bag space.
This is often where I fail at packing. When it comes to basic items I know what to pack. The secondary items are what I overlook. This is not unique to special race or event items. Would I be unable to race if I forgot my arm band? No.
My method of packing is get your essentials in first, then focus on your secondary. Unless you are going to be gone for over a month in a very versatile climate, you don’t need more than three pairs of shoes. I love shoes, but they take up a lot of suitcase space. Plus, most outfits you need to pack should match at least one pair of shoes you’ve brought. Humans are creatures of habit, we eat the same things, we wear the same things.
Another tip if it’s something you have not worn in a while, try it on before packing it. There is nothing worse than finding out it doesn’t fit anymore, there is a hole or there is a stain then when you go to wear it. When you are packing minimally, every piece counts.
Finally, I find the best way to pack is to enjoy a few adult beverages and trust yourself. If you forget to pack something, it’s not because you are a poor packer, it’s because you were drunk. It may also turn your suitcase into a delightful surprise.