How Not To Pack For A Trip

Last week I went down to San Diego for a few days. In theory, it should have been a very simple trip to pack for: throw a couple pairs of cutoffs and a swimsuit in a duffel bag and you’re good to go. In reality, I jammed a rucksack full of roughly 200 pounds of all-weather clothing and forgot my toothbrush. That’s right: I am The Worst Packer In The World, and today I’d like to share a few of my bad habits, because if you do exactly the opposite of me, chances are you’ll end up with a perfectly packed suitcase…Packing Two Hours Before You Leave

There are few things more foolish than trying to pack in the frantic hours and minutes before you have to leave for the airport. I would know because I have never packed any other way. Sure, I’ll throw a few pairs of underwear in my bag the night before, but on the day of my trip I always resemble a contestant on “Supermarket Sweep,” scrambling madly around my house trying to fill my suitcase before time runs out. This strategy inevitably leads to…

Packing Every Single Thing You Own Except For The One Thing You Need

For my recent trip to San Diego I brought a wool hat but forgot makeup remover. I was prepared in the event of an off-season snowstorm (which did not happen), but unprepared to, you know, take my mascara off, which is something that happens every day. Even when I’ve been more organized and made packing lists, I always end up leaving off something important while convincing myself I need to make room for a ceramic sake cup set or a llama figurine.

Dressing For Your Ideal Self

This is my worst packing habit, by far. Instead of simply throwing my favorite clothing in my suitcase, I head straight to the back of my closet to find my most exotic, flamboyant, least-worn pieces, convinced that “Traveling Winona” can pull them off. You see, in my mind, my traveling self is a stylish wild child who wears zebra-print maxi dresses and is considerably tanner and thinner than me. That hot pink sheer tunic I bought two years ago that still has the tags on it? Traveling Winona can totally pull it off! Those 6-inch embellished wedges? Cram ‘em in the carry-on because Traveling Winona doesn’t get blisters! It is only after I arrive at my destination that I realize Traveling Winona does not exist and I am carrying a suitcase full of clothing that Real Winona would never wear.

Bringing All Your Jewelry

I always think I’m really clever when I pack a bunch of accessories to add variety to my outfits, but when I arrive at my destination I’m stuck with a tangled ball of necklaces and some missing earrings. Not helpful.

Cramming

I know that many frequent travelers are very loyal to one packing style, either folding or rolling their clothes before gently placing them in their luggage. I am a loyal crammer, which means I open my dresser drawers, grab whatever catches my eye, and cram it in my suitcase. No rolling. No folding. Only chaos and wrinkles.

Are you an efficient packer? What (good!) advice can you share?

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