Packing Tips for the Anti-Packrat
Nobody really likes packing, lugging around and living out of a suitcase, but luggage is a necessary evil for road warriors. Luckily, there are simple tactics for preventing needless luggage-related stress. This week’s Friday Five brings you packing tips from Jason Womack, author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More. He says it’s easy!
Become a Packing Minimalist
How much time do you spend packing and unpacking before and after each trip? And when was the last time you really evaluated the contents of your suitcase? If you’re like many frequent travelers you probably prepare for a trip on autopilot and include items you never use or wear.
- Pack as little as possible. Before the next trip, carefully examine what you pack and eliminate anything that isn’t necessary. I know it sounds overly simple, but I promise you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to find what you need when you’re on the road. Plus, the next time you have to pack, the task will go a lot more quickly. To save yourself some last-minute stress, I suggest repacking your travel bag the second everything is washed, dried and folded.
- Invest in important duplicates for travel. We’ve all experienced the sinking feeling that hits the moment you realize you’ve forgotten your phone charger, or even your hairbrush. It’s worth investing in a duplicate set of power chargers for your phone, laptop and other tech devices, as well as a duplicate set of toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, grooming products, etc.). Always keep these duplicates in your travel bag. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting something, and you’ll save time because you won’t have to unplug your office setup and raid your bathroom before every trip. And speaking of important things, ladies, always put extra hosiery in your purse. Men, you might want to put a back-up tie in your briefcase. Having items like these on hand can reduce stress if you run into any hiccups on the road.
- Charge it … all. Create a checklist of “power” items you travel with and get into the habit of reviewing that list the night before each trip and making sure each device is charging. I have one place in my home office where I always charge my travel must-haves. Conveniently, it’s on the same counter as my keys and wallet so I’m sure to grab my charging items before I head to the airport. Be sure to do the same thing in your hotel room the night before traveling back home, too. And again, buy extra charging cords that always stay in your carry-on. (All-in-one universal chargers are handy, too.)
- Pack your workout gear. Taking advantage of your hotel’s gym, even if you can only find 15 or 20 minutes, can relieve travel stress, keep you energized and help with jet lag. Always carry a set of workout clothes in case you get a chance to use them. Lay them out when you arrive at your hotel room so that you won’t have to dig through your luggage first thing in the morning.
- Be medically prepared. Always travel with a first-aid kit that includes essentials like pain relievers, bandages, cold medicine and so on. Having to stop what you’re doing to find a pharmacy can be time-consuming and expensive.
Jason W. Womack, is principal with The Womack Company, which provides training and personal coaching that provides practical methods to maximize tools, systems and processes to achieve quality work/life balance. Jason is the author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012), focused on improving your productivity one day at a time.
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