Trip preparation is stressful. Dozens of last minute tasks clamor for attention. In the rush to get things done, I always worried that I would forget something. Fortunately, I learned a sweet trick to reduce my stress. I learned to permanently pre-pack my suitcase.
A permanently packed bag sounds a little crazy. But I realized that I was packing the same sort of things on every trip. I was taking the same electronics, the same toiletries, the same travel towel, the same travel comfort pack. The only thing that changed was the clothing. I decided that I could save myself a lot of stress (and time) by packing everything but the clothes ahead of time. This also left my carry-on bag staged in case I needed to make a quick emergency trip. Double win!
There is a slight initial cost involved with pre-packing. You will need to buy items dedicated for your suitcase, such as a toilet kit and extra electronics. The big benefit from this is that you will not forget anything – it is already in your bag, ready to go on the next trip. I keep the following items pre-packed in my suitcase:
- A dedicated toilet kit with shampoo bar, toothbrush, toothpaste tabs, mini sewing kit, etc.
- A security sized liquids bag pre-packed with 2-1/2 weeks worth of moisturizer, mouthwash, eye drops, etc.
- A spare dual-voltage curling iron
- A travel comfort pack
- Silk underwear inside of a light weight stuff sack (just add scarves, socks, and underwear)
- A day pack
- A small nylon bag for jewelry
- Spare glasses and sun glasses
- A first aid kit
- A travel towel
- A collapsible water bottle
- An electronics bag containing 2 micro-USB cords, a dual port USB charger, a fire-to-micro-USB adapter, a USB rechargeable headlamp, and my USB clip battery charger
The only things I need to add are my shoes, belts, jewelry, and clothes. Done! No more panic at 11 pm when I discover that I’m out of travel sized moisturizer. No searching high and low for my travel towel or my day pack. It is all there in my bag, waiting for the next trip.
I go over my gear when I get home from my trip. I check for damaged items and order replacements if needed. I do a similar thing for toilet items – I will top off anything that I have used. I immediately launder my towel and long underwear for the next trip. After this I pack my bag, add a sachet to keep things fresh, and put the bag away.
I can’t tell you the number of times pre-packing has saved me. It no longer matters if work keeps me from packing until the last minute, or I get a “come home now” phone call. I can pack my bags in less than an hour, knowing that I haven’t forgotten anything. Think about pre-packing for your future travels.