Five Things I’ve Learned About Packing For Travel

by Jan 19, 2014Organization, Productivity, Travel

1) You probably don’t need it.

Be realistic with how much time you'll have, where you are going and what you will do. If you are going to be in meetings from 8am-8pm, you probably don’t need a casual outfit beyond what you wear on the plane. I used to travel with someone who always wanted to go back to the room to change into jeans before he went out to eat. I felt it was such a waste of time to change clothes for one hour of dinner and then back to your room. Plus, now you have more laundry! If you hate the hotel gym and know you won’t go, don’t pack workout clothes. Why? Because you can do a workout in your hotel room, in your underwear, and save yourself the luggage space.

2) Make-up melts. 

So does deodorant, lotion, and any food bar covered in a coating. All of these things might solidify again but now they might be rancid or have separated. I put my meltables bag, aka my liquids bag, in my purse or laptop bag whenever I am going inside for more than an hour. It saves time and money trying to replace it later. For travel, I switched to mineral makeup and powders so there isn’t any risk and I use a crystal deodorant.

3) Quality counts.

You will pay somehow if you buy cheap luggage. Either it will break on you while you’re running through the airport, the zipper will get stuck or the wheels will roll funky. A quality piece of luggage can last a lifetime. I’ve had the same Tumi carry-on since 2002. Get a nice piece with four 360-degree wheels so it rolls better and doesn’t fall over. The telescoping handle should push down and pull up easily and not be so long you are dragging it four feet behind you or so short that it is hitting your heels.

4) Wear comfortable shoes.

There are many brands of shoes now that are cute, hip or classy and comfortable. You may have to shell out more for them but they are worth it to your feet and your back. I saw a woman pulling a Carrie Bradshaw in an airport, running in her high heels, until she fell on her face, broke her shoe and her ankle. Needless to say, the flight she was running to probably left without her since she needed medical attention. In addition, feet swell on planes so you don’t want anything that will pinch your toes.

5) Pack snacks.

If you’ve been following my blog and videos, you know by now that food and the availability of it is very important to me! I almost always have snacks because I don’t like to let myself get so hungry that I end up making a bad nutritional choice or get Hangry and am mean to someone. I find it hard in some airports and hotels to find anything even remotely healthy to eat that isn’t processed and wrapped in a crinkly package. My worst story with not having something to eat was after a flight delay where I barely made my connection, which is where I was planning to get dinner. I sat on the tarmac for two hours before takeoff. This was on a flight home from San Francisco to Raleigh so I had already gone through my supply. I didn’t get anything but 60 calories of peanuts for almost 8 hours. Hangry was an understatement!

Can you add to the list? What have you learned about packing for travel?

 

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects