If you travel a lot then you’ve probably got the entire packing and preparation thing down to a fine art. But even if you think you’re good at packing you will still find yourself forgetting things. I’ve opened my suitcase more than once to discover that I’ve forgotten business cards, clothes and a whole range of other things.
One thing, however, that makes it all a lot easier and less stressful is a little bit of advance preparation.
I’m a strong believer in creating travel lists. A “travel list” does not need to be that detailed, but it should include enough detail to be helpful. So I’d list “clothes for X days”, but I probably wouldn’t list every single item, because it’d take me longer to check them off the list than it would to pack them.
For example, if you’re going to a hot climate you will probably need to pack sun block and sun glasses while a trip to somewhere cold will be more comfortable if you remember to bring your gloves and scarf.
While you can replace most things by picking them up at the airport or when you get to your destination, it’s a waste of time and money.
Rather than writing a fresh list for every trip I’ve planned I usually take an existing list and copy it. (I keep all of mine in EverNote, but there are specific apps to help you create packing lists if you want to go down that route, or you could just use an old fashioned bit of paper 🙂 )
The list is usually split into two or three sections:
- Things that need to be done before leaving
- Preparation of items to take
- Things to take
The “things to be done” might include some final items on my desk that I need to finish up before departure. They would also include things like arranging for rubbish collection and making sure that my neighbours are aware that I’m away so that they can keep an eye on the house. Maybe you need to water plants? If you’ve got pets you’d need to arrange for them to be minded. It’s also worth your while to check that you don’t have any outstanding bills or ones coming up while you’re absent.
“Preparation of items to be taken” – this is mostly charging devices. There’s no point taking a wifi hotspot to save on data charges if it’s not charged! And if you have external batteries and other chargers you need to make sure that those that need charging are fully charged. I also like to download a couple of films to watch on my iPad since you can never be sure how good the inflight selection is going to be (unless you’re flying with Emirates).
Another thing to do in advance is to download any apps that might help you in your destination city. For example, if you’re heading to Mexico the the CineMex app is a must if you plan on going to the cinema. Downloading it before I leave home means I don’t have to worry about either data charges or unstable wifi.
And when it comes down to the things to take with you part of the list is probably never going to change:
- credit cards
- boarding passes (if you’ve printed them in advance)
- frequent flier card(s)
If it’s a business trip you’d obviously add things like business cards to the list. If you’re going to be seeing friends you might have presents for them.
Checking your list before you leave can and will save you headaches and stress! (At least it does for me!)