Travel Packing List 101: The Method

To make sure that you bring everything you need on your road trip, you’ll need The List. Some people may already make packing lists, but this is a more thorough and foolproof listing method that will revolutionize how you pack.

Over-packers will benefit from using this method as they will have a way to edit their fantasies down to reality without losing the fun aspect of going hog wild. There’s a creative part of The List’s process that will deeply appeal to the over-packer. Why? Most over-packers are artistic, right-brained people.

Under-packers will also have the opportunity to do what they do best, go minimal. There’s a part of the process where you have to edit, and this will be the under-packer’s favorite part as most under-packers are very logical, organized, and left-brained.

The List is the ultimate solution as each type of packer will be able to do something they like, while working on their problem area at the same time in a way that’s not overwhelming. So, are you ready to get started?
The List Method The List

Two weeks before your road trip, pull out a large pad of paper and write out all the things that you think you’ll need on your trip. Use my packing lists to help you pull it together. Got it? Think it’s complete? Most people will think so, but that’s the beauty of the list, you’ll see. You don’t want to do this earlier than two weeks as you won’t be motivated enough – the trip still seems far away. If you wait until a week before, it’s too late and you’ll miss out on all those "aha!" items.

Next, place your "complete" list of items somewhere handy with a pen next to it. Also, keep a piece of paper and pen/pencil with you (wallet or purse) at all times. Every time you think of something you need (aha!), write it down. That means anything – the editing comes later. Have fun with this and let your imagination run wild with all the "what-if’s" you can think of. This is a fun and important stage of the list, so go for it!

Finally, sit down with your list and notes from your purse/wallet the day before you plan to start packing. First what items are unlikely to be needed? Yes, you want them, but do you need them? Remove them. Next, look for things that are generic things you can get anywhere and that you may need, but won’t definitely need. Remove these.

What I mean by generic is that you don’t care what brand it is and it’s something you can buy anywhere like bug spray. If you’re not going camping, you probably won’t need bug spray, so get it on the road if you end up needing it.

Look at anything that you’re bringing a lot of and cut the multiples down. Reduce from super-size versions to smaller versions. For a week-long road trip, you don’t need more than you’ll really use. Use small baggies and Tupperware containers to create smaller amounts of these items.

Spread what clothes you plan on packing on your bed. Unless your trip is a week or less, you do not need to bring a fresh outfit for every day. Bring some Woolite (a small bottle) and wash your clothes in the sink in the evenings to dry on the curtain rod in your bathroom. Create a makeshift clothing line with some thick string if you’re camping and drape the clothes over it.

Shoes? You don’t need a different pair for every outfit (you may want one, but, once again, you don’t need one) – figure out the two or three pairs that go with everything you’re bringing and pack those. Make sure to bring at least one pair of sneakers/heavy duty walking shoes.

Now you have a real handle on what to bring! The under-packers are bringing what they need and the over-packers are cutting back on what they don’t.

Just think, when you’re whizzing down the road in a comfortably packed car with all that you really need in back, you’ll be able to focus on the good times with your favorite people, rather than towering piles of stuff threatening to crush you or that desperately needed item you forgot to pack. Instead, you’ll be savoring the journey!


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