Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On the Trauma of Packing for Travel

2013-04-08 10.43.44

The time before travel is filled with anticipation and excitement, as well as some nervous energy. I realized that for many of my friends, that nervous energy came from the thought of having to pack their suitcases. My husband being one of those people, he conquered his fear by making a checklist.

He prints it out for each trip, and checks items off as he pulls items out of his dresser. He adds/substracts items specific to that particular trip (or make edits after the trip if a useful item has been omitted), so the list can continue to be improved. (He uses Evernote to generate the list, and prints it before he starts organizing and packing, and physically check items off the list.)

_ phone chargers (with cables)
_ USB AA battery phone charger
_ camera
_ camera charger
_ laptop
_ laptop cables, VGA adapter, etc
_ shaver & charger
_ cash (local and possibly foreign currency)
_ medicines:  ibuprofen, antihistamine, antacid, lactaid, motion sickness pills
_ umbrella or raincoat
_ sunglasses
_ sun hat
_ printed e-ticket/boarding pass
_ printed itinerary
_ empty water bottle
_ face mask
_ toothbrush
_ toothpaste
_ floss
_ deodorant
_ hairbrush
_ eyemask & earplugs
_ sweatshirt
_ passport (if going abroad)
_ house slippers
_ sunscreen
_ nail clippers
_ belt
_ shoes
_ reading material
_ travel snacks
_ net bag for washing
_ hand wash detergent
_ bag or pillowcase for dirty laundry
_ maps
_ guidebook(s)
_ disposable eating utensils: fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks
_ multiple plastic bags, including zip locks
_ disposable containers for leftovers
_ business cards (when appropriate)
_ local transportation/transit cards
_ other toiletries (saline solution, lip balm, vitamins, probiotic, acne cream, birth control, etc.)
_ gifts
_ day bag

_      x underwear
_      x socks (color?)
_      x T-shirts
_      x polo shirts
_      x short sleeve shirts
_      x long sleeve shirts
_      x jeans
_      x slacks
_      x shorts
_      x nightshirts
_      x boxers

A word about some of the items:

  • Battery-operated phone chargers are small and can be useful on long flights
  • Face masks: air recirculating during the flight is too dry for your sinuses to stay moist to prevent airborne mircobes, so we wear face masks. It’s a standard sight in Asia in crowded public spaces, but people still give you a look elsewhere, as if you are diseased. Little do they know we are the healthy ones trying to stay that way. After we adopted this practice, we don’t seem to get sick after plane rides. Michael Jackson was onto something. We also use saline solution or chapstick/petroleum gel for the nasal cavity to make sure it starts out moist.
  • Empty water bottles, because why pay $5 for bottled water at the airport? You can keep reusing them once you get to your destination as well.
  • Disposable eating utensils have come in handy in the past. Same goes for extra ziplock bags and disposable plastic containers (to pack picnic lunches, snacks for the plane)
  • Stress of travel and eating different foods can cause acne, digestive problems, so we are careful to pack extra probiotic pills, antacid, acne cream, and other small items that we take for granted at home.
  • Transit cards: we tend to keep our transit cards for destinations we frequent (e.g., Clipper card for transit in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oyster card for London) with our passports so we remember to pack or leave them.
  • Gifts/”Omiyage”: My Japanese heritage and our years in Hawaii have taught us that having a little gift from your home country can come in handy, even if you aren’t visiting someone specific. If they are edible items, you can just snack on them if you don’t end up giving them away.

His routine is, first you set aside clothes you are going to wear on the day of the travel (so you don’t accidentally pack those). Then you start going over the checklist and pile them onto a clean surface (dining room table, couch). Then you pack the suitcase, so you can place the heavier items near the wheels of the suitcase, using socks and other smaller items that don’t wrinkle to fill the crevices.

He also made a list of the routines before and on the departure date:

In advance:

  • Hold mail
  • Inform landlord and/or building management
  • Buy gifts
  • Arrange airport transportation
  • Enable vacation messages
  • Empty excess wallet contents (but keep them somewhere obvious so they can be put back into the wallet on return)
  • Check on any library books
  • Get cash

Day of departure:

  • Eat up or dispose of any perishable food in fridge
  • Record step count in Evernote
  • Make sure all faucets are not leaking
  • Turn off water to toilet tanks
  • Turn off all lights
  • Turn off alarm clocks
  • Make sure dishes are clean
  • Consolidate and take out garbage
  • Close windows
  • Unplug electronics
  • Lock door

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This entry was posted on February 6, 2015 by in Travel and tagged , , , .
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