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.
Great idea! I need to copy this post to get me started!
I do a similar thing. I keep all my travel gear together, ready to go, with my toilet bag of little bottles all organised. Makes life so much easier!
Debby Garrett said:
I saw your post on the shinypigeon blog. In it, you said “I usually bundle wrap my clothes”. How do u do this?
I’m preparing for hubby and me to fly to Puerto Vallarta Mexico in June 2013 for our 40th wedding anniversary trip. We’ll be staying 7 nights in an all inclusive beach resort. I’d like to pack everything in two, wheeled airline carry on bags, and one personal bag each. What kind of personal bag do you carry on, and what do u put in it? We have one inexpensive wheeled airline carry on bag, with 2 roller blade style wheels and 2 “legs”. The brand is “Jaguar” and it is green brocade with vinyl interior. I have to pull it rather than push it, which is inconvenient, but I’ve made do. It measures 20″ x 14″ x 6 1/2″. The interior has a flap so I can separate items, an elastic criss-cross strap, and a 19″ wide zipper compartment across the lid. The exterior has 2 zipper compartments; one shallow and one deep, running the full length of the bag. I need advice on what to buy for our other wheeled airline carry-on bag, and can I buy a higher quality bag for $100 or less? What would you suggest? (Another luggage expense factor to consider… In the fall, we will be taking a 4 week road trip in our vehicle, staying in 8-10 different hotels, so I’m thinking we’ll probably need 2 larger wheeled bags for this trip (we already have one larger one that matches our smaller one). Would it save money to buy matching large and small wheeled bags that will work for both of these trips? For the road trip, we will be packing bulky items, like cowboy boots, starched jeans and starched shirts. At least 4-6 of our hotel stays will be for one night only.)
As you can see, I need a lot of luggage and packing advice. A few years from now, I’ll need to figure out how to pack for RV travel, but I’ll think about that later…
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!
Its true! I always bundle pack as that way I don’t need any packing folders or packing cubes. That really cuts down on the weight. Here is a link:
Please be advised that you need to smooth out all the wrinkles and keep the clothing under tension as you pack the bundle. If you bring a lot of clothing this method doesn’t work as well.
As far as luggage, I don’t use a wheelie at all. I use a travel pack, which is a bag with hidden backpack straps. I use an LL Bean Quickload Travel Pack.
For starched items I might recommend a packing folder (I hate doing this, because they are heavy). But in this case you have a special outfit.
I’d like to recommend onebag.com as the best source for one bag techniques.
If you ever fly with your cowboy boots I strongly recommend wearing them on the plane.
Reblogged this on The Nomad Damsel and commented:
This woman has some awesome packing tips I could use!
Glamourous Traveller said:
Thanks for that! and the wonderful video on bundle packing. I personally always have a travel ‘go’ bag permanently ready. I guess thats also part of the perils of having a travel friendly job
Rebecca W. said:
This is a great idea. My travel toiletries usually wind up sitting in their plastic bags on the bathroom counter, getting used and cluttering everything up. Brilliant to keep them at hand, but out of sight–and protected from daily use!
Seriously, this is such great advice. Glad to have found your blog!
I’m curious what you use for your toiletries bag. For many years I’ve been using a Rick Steves toiletries bag that has a hook for hanging (very useful in train compartments and hotels with no counter top in bathroom), two zippered mesh outer pockets (great for airing out toothbrush) and is large enough that I can pop my 3-1-1 bag into it once past TSA. But it is made cordura and is relatively heavy, so I’m wondering if there is a lighter option.
Thank you for your wonderful blog! I’ve used many of your tips. An REI Overnighter is now my main carry on bag, and I can *almost* get away with out a personal item even when traveling with a netbook computer.
Oops, a rogue space got between “with” and “out”!
Never mind; I found the answer in one of your other posts. I’ve decided to start back at your first post and read through all of them. I’m finding a few posts that I haven’t read yet and I’m rediscovering useful information in posts that I have read before. Thank you again for your fantastic site!