My Top 5 Tips for Stress-Free Packing Every Time

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One of my favorite things to do is travel. I love getting a first-hand perspective on my destination.

Checking out the local food culture is always on my list. My kids are being brought up this way too. Eat the interesting things you don’t always eat at home. “Oh, you want the halibut? That dish is $32? Ok, well I hope you enjoy it.” Call it a backfire when your 7 year old goes along with your plan to eat local on vacation, but we try to chalk it up the the experience. (Mindset, come on!)

We aim to spend most of our time outside. Sometimes, like our trip to Hawaii, we encounter A LOT of rain. That’s when you thank yourself for bringing waterproof raincoats and are grateful it’s a warm destination. We make the most of it, because we crave the outdoors.

It’s great when you get the inside scoop on your destination when visiting friends. You can learn more than you’ll find online, even though there are some great accounts that go into the less-traveled must-see and do’s.

The one thing I DON’T LOVE about traveling though… is packing.

When I was a kid, I loved the excitement of packing. The precursor to a much anticipated trip. The possibilities of what could be! I hated the UNpacking. It was sad and a sign that the fun was over.

Today, things have reversed for me. UNpacking, well that’s so much easier. It’s almost meditative. It’s fun to find treasures from your trip inside your bags, to read through your travel journal before stowing it, to get organized and stop living out of a suitcase, and to be grateful for home. Travel not only makes me appreciate my destination but also being back home.

Packing though… is stressful.

There is so much mental overwhelm in the preparation for departure. You have to make sure things are squared away on the home front. Maybe you need a house sitter, pet sitter, etc. There’s the normal packing and making sure you have clean laundry. Did you reserve everything? Oh, and if you have kids, you are likely checking to some degree that they have everything they need too! (Whether they’re going or staying.)

This being said, out of necessity to maintain my sanity and lessen the stressful nature of packing, I have come up with a few tips that always make this process better.

here is the list of My Top 5 Tips for Stress-Free Packing Every Time:

  1. Save a packing list that has everything you need for your trip. Type it up on your computer, and save the document for future trips or get a pre-printed list. I have a Knock Knock pad (PACK THIS!) that I use for every trip. Besides minor additions/subtractions depending on the trip, this includes everything I need. The PACK THIS! pad really has it covered!
  2. Keep duplicates of your travel essentials. It takes a small investment up front to get this set up, but it’s not like you won’t use the items. Deodorant, reusable shampoo and conditioner containers (or solid bars!), hair styling products, contact solution and case plus extra pairs, essential oil travel kit, tweezers, lip balm, dental care. I have duplicates of all of these and more that I keep in a travel bag in my bathroom.
  3. Collaborate when traveling with friends. If you can count on them, come up with a shared, editable document. My extended family and I head Up North together each year. We all love tasty food, but no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen when they could be out on the lake or having fun in each other’s company. We found a solution that has made meal planning so efficient and stress-free. We keep a Google Doc, listing every meal and the ingredients needed to make it. Each family signs up for what they want to bring, and you only have to think about those items.
  4. As my PACK THIS! pad states and I find to be so true: “Bring half of what you think you need and twice as much money.” Solid advice. Remember, most things you forget can be purchased while away. I don’t know about you, but we always make a stop at a grocery/convenience store when we arrive anyway, so you can just grab anything you forget while there. Expect that you may forget something, but learn to be ok with it. Again, mindset matters. Teach yourself to not sweat the small stuff. Instead, focus on remembering just the things you absolutely cannot travel without, such as an ID/passport. You don’t have to stress about remembering 1 or 2 things, right? Easy peasy.
  5. Just book it! Obsessively checking, re-checking, and comparing prices can really wear on you. I mean, once or twice a few weeks apart (if you plan early) makes sense, but watching the day-to-day or week-to-week price fluctuations is a bit much. That only results in feeling stressed out about each $5-10 price increase. I know people who get so caught up in it that they never end up booking or going anywhere. Determine the value you place on a particular trip. Try getting educated if you don’t travel a ton. Set up travel alerts. Network with friends who travel frequently to get a ballpark idea of what is normal pricing for various flight or travel reservations. If you’re there and the value matches your vision, just book it and don’t look back.
How do you feel about packing? Are you on team Pack or team Unpack?

Do you currently practice any of these tips? What would you add to my list?

Thanks for reading.

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Yoga instructor and mental wellness coach Charlotte Wrzesinski

Hi, I'm Charlotte!

I wear many hats and understand everyday, real-life stress.

I am a mom, wife, pharmacist, yoga and meditation instructor, and mental wellness coach. I started focusing on wellness after having my second child as a means to manage stress, improve my own overall state of wellbeing, and become more balanced.

My transformation was so powerful that I made it my mission to help others achieve and maintain wellness in their lives.

Learn More About Me +

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