Pack Faster and Lighter With This One Trick


I'm a chronic over-packer. For a recent three-day trip to San Francisco, I packed three dresses, two pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes, seven shirts, two skirts, and four sweaters. Unsurprisingly, I didn't even wear a quarter of those items. But every time travel comes around, I over-pack all over again, completely forgetting what I wore the last time around. (See also: 7 Tips for Single Bag Travel)

That's why I have a new packing technique — writing down what I do wear on trips, during trips. It works especially well for places that I regularly visit, like my parents' house. Instead of filling my bag to the brim with things I might want, I can quickly reference a list that details exactly what I will use. Personally, I keep track of what I wear using a list in Remember the Milk, but you can use a notes app on your phone, a piece of paper you keep in your wallet, or whatever else works best for you. (See also: Roll, Don't Fold (and 10 Other Tricks for Packing Fast))

What tricks do you have for packing fast?

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Guest's picture

I have a checklist for packing. My wife and I have toured both Portugal and New Zealand for two weeks each with only our carry on luggage, as well as numerous domestic trips with carry ons. When I return from a trip, I make a note of what I actually used on the trip, versus what I took along and didn't use, and make adjustments for my next trip. The best starter lists I've found for someone just getting up to speed are on Rick Steves' web site and on OneBag dot com. The tip that is toughest for me to discipline myself to follow is leaving behind things like shampoo, toothpaste, and over the counter remedies, and just picking up supplies after arrival, as needed.

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