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Going on Vacation!

Like most people who are going away for more than a couple nights, when I travel I already have an idea of what activities I'll be doing.  I've got to pack accordingly.  And, I've got to make sure it fits in the bags I want to take (so I don't get charged baggage fees).  Here's my plan:


First, I've got to know what I'm doing and the weather forecast.  Let's say I'm heading some place warm (doesn't that sound nice?!).  There will be (fingers crossed) lots of sunshine and outdoors time.  I'll be involved in some physical activities that take place in the water, as well as on land.  There will also be at least one evening that I'll need to dress formally.


Second, I want to break it down, so I know how much I need of what.  I like to write it all down on paper, so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list.  Let's plan for six nights.  Here's a glance at my packing list:


As you can see, I also include tasks to do on my way out the door.  Keep in mind, I'm also only packing for myself.  Now, I know what I want to take.  As I pull these items out of my closets and drawers, I stack or fold it all up on a surface, like my bed.  This gives me a sense of how much volume I'm working with.  I can scratch off items as I go.  If I think of something else along the way, I add it to the bottom, so I don't forget.


To pack, I start with the bag I know will be with me the whole time I travel: either a day bag or a purse.  I pull the items I want in there first: passport/paperwork, cash, vitamins/medicine, camera, book, flash drive, any real jewelry I'm not wearing on the plane and my glasses (I really don't want to be without those!).


From what's left, I work on getting my clothes and shoes to fit well in the suitcase.  Sometimes, rolling clothes, instead of folding can use less space.  For formal items, rolling causes less wrinkles, too.  If my shoes aren't clean enough to lay against clean clothes, I put them in a plastic grocery bag.  I can then use those plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes and shoes on the return trip.


Assuming everything I want to pack is clean, I can pack in about an hour from start to finish.  About a week ahead of time, I'll glance through my clothes to see if anything I want to take needs washing, repairing or dry cleaning.  I'll also glance through my travel-sized bathroom items to see if I should buy anything new.  I can pack the day before the trip then, and not have to deal with a semi-filled suitcase on the floor for a week before leaving.  Allow at least an additional hour for each extra person you might be packing for.


What packing routines work best for you?

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