Congratulations, you're going on an adventure!
Once you've made your trip reservations, it's preparing yourself adequately. One of the things you're probably asking yourself is, "when should you start packing?"
You're not alone—that's a very common question. But you don't have to worry. In this blog, I've laid out everything you need to know about when to start packing and general packing tips.
Let's dive right in and prepare you for your big trip!
Preparation Is Key
Before I dig into exactly when you should start packing for your next trip, it's first essential to understand that there are certain things you can do ahead of time so you're prepared when the actual time comes to pack.
The great news is that you can prepare for your adventure as far ahead of time as you like! In fact, the more time you give yourself to compose and assemble your packing list, the less stressed you'll be throughout the process.
The first thing you need is luggage. And it would help if you decided whether to opt for a backpack or a suitcase. Now, both of these options have pros and cons, so make sure you understand what they each have to offer before making your selection.
If you're flying, you also need to consider whether you'll check a bag or opt for the cheaper carry-on option. In both cases, your luggage needs to meet the size and weight requirements of the airline.
Then, you can go shopping! Once you know where you're going, it should be easy to make a packing list. It's essential that you remember to bring a few key travel items, such as toiletries and a small first aid kit.
After purchasing any items you don't already have, it's time to start thinking about packing.
When Should You Start Packing for a Trip?
The best time to pack for a trip is at least 7 days before your departure date.
And there is a very specific reason: One week gives you enough time to pick up any last-minute products you might realize you're missing or make adjustments if your packing list doesn't fit into your chosen luggage before it's time to go.
It's important to understand that while you want to give yourself ample time to pack and prepare before your trip, you also don't want to pack too far ahead.
Since some of the things you'll need to bring with you are also vital to you in your daily life, you won't want to pack too early. These can include your toothbrush and toiletries, underwear and socks, shoes, etc.
If you pack too early, you will likely take items back out of your suitcase to use, which could lead to accidentally leaving them behind! And generally being less efficient with your packing process.
So, when is too early to start packing for vacation? Several weeks is too early to start packing, but it's not too early to start organizing!
Now, let's find out how and what you'll want to pack when you are just one week away from your trip.
What to Pack
What you will need for your voyage completely depends on who you are and where you're going! For instance, what you pack going on a backpacking trip compared to a business trip will be very different.
That being said, there are certain items that are essential, no matter the destination. These include:
- Passport/Travel Documentation
- Credit/Debit Cards
- First Aid Kit
- Appropriate Clothing
- Outer Layers
- Personal Essentials
What's included in each category is up to your preferences, the necessities for your destination, and what can fit in your chosen luggage.
Packing Tips for Travel
As an avid traveler myself, I want to share some valuable tips and tricks that I have used to successfully and efficiently pack my own luggage!
These are just a few quick ones, but you should also research using blogs like this comprehensive list of packing tips.
Use Packing Cubes
These days, every expert traveler uses packing cubes. These handy little bags can make all the difference when organizing and packing your belongings for any trip.
The best way to utilize them is to categorize your clothing, toiletries, and personal items into a specific cube. I.e., one cub for underwear, socks, and bathing suits, one for shirts, one for dresses and skirts, etc.
Not only does this help in the packing process, but it also helps you fit more into your luggage and makes finding what you're looking for when you arrive a breeze!
The most common mistake travelers make is overpacking. You need much less than you think you do!
You don't need several pairs of black leggings, nor do you need ten party shirts. You can re-wear your clothing while traveling. A laundromat is easy to find in most locations.
Trust me... you'll be incredibly grateful that your luggage is light and easy to carry!
Want to go a step further? Consider these tips for minimalist packing or even try out traveling with only a carry-on!
Pack For Weather
Layers are a traveler's best friend. While it's essential to pack for whatever weather you encounter on your trip, remember that you don't need an entirely different outfit for the various temperatures.
A light sweater or sweatshirt, lightweight raincoat, and long-sleeve shirts will go a long way if the weather turns while you're away.
Also, it's important to note that as most weather forecasts only accurately predict 10 days ahead, you may need to adjust your items at the last minute, depending on the incoming weather in your destination.
How to Pack for Your Trip
Finally, it's important to understand how to pack. And there are a few tricks of the trade that will make packing for your trip just a little easier.
The first is to pack everything you have so far at least 7 days before you're meant to leave. And that means everything! It's crucial to ensure that every item fits comfortably in your luggage.
Usually, you'll have to remove a few items after the first attempt. So when you unpack and repack, the best way to do so is in categories with your packing list in hand.
In fact, you should use a pen and paper or physically check off the list on your phone to ensure you have everything you need.
If there are a few items left, such as your toothbrush, make sure you do not check them off the list until you physically place them in the bag when you are ready to depart.
Start Your Trip Packing Now!
That's all there is to it! Now you know when, how, and what to pack for your trip like an expert.
However, just because you've booked your flights for your vacation, there's still a lot of other planning you should do to ensure your trip is the most fun! Remember, you still need to think about if you're traveling with others, where to stay, what to do, and things you want to try.
Organize your thoughts by using a trip planner!