On the Lightness of Baggage

(TRAVEL Light) Now if only my Jade Yoga mat didn't weigh a ton.

(TRAVEL Light) Now if only my Jade Yoga mat didn’t weigh a ton.

It’s a little later than what’s usual for me, but I’m finally packed for a ten-day trip that starts this Friday.

Normally, I pack at least a week out. This occurs to most people as a little extreme, but the thing is, I can’t cram to save my life. I get fretful and panicky and even more temperamental than usual, so to save myself—and the people around me—the bouts of insanity, I prepare early.


Eileen’s Standard Packing Procedure:

  1. Review standard Excel packing list (this has two worksheets: a packing list for temperate climates and a packing list for tropical locales).
  2. Customize list based on particular trip’s unique requirements (for instance, is this going to be the kind of trip where I’ll need to bring my own utensils???).
  3. Review list and streamline by at least 1/3 (trust me, this rule of thumb works).
  4. Compile items on list and pack carefully into luggage; insert tiny items into nooks and crevices to maximize space (stuff socks into a thermos, if necessary; just make sure the socks are clean; just make sure the thermos is clean).
  5. Note items still missing and needing to be bought (like new socks).
  6. Schedule trip to the supermarket to procure missing items.
  7. Pack remaining items carefully into luggage.
  8. Weigh luggage.
  9. Put luggage by door.
  10. Insert passport, tickets and necessary documentation into front pocket of luggage.
  11. Prepare clothes needed for flight.
  12. Hang clothes by door.
  13. Make arrangements for commute to airport (including calculating how early to leave).
  14. Bask in warm glow of early accomplishment.


The biggest benefit of packing early is getting to pack light. People tend to bring more stuff the less carefully they think things through. I’ve gone for three week trips with just a JanSport backpack (the kind college kids bring to school and not even the backpacker type that can fit a toilet and jacuzzi) with room to spare for a laptop and a DSLR with three lenses.

(It can be done—just be prepared to dress in monochrome shades.)

So, yes, I’m all packed up.

I just need to be ready to go.


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