Tips for Making Your Holiday Packing a Breeze

Tips for Making Your Holiday Packing a Breeze
by Robert Wright, Jr., Ph.D., COFT

Most Americans look forward to traveling during the holidays to visit family and friends or to enjoy a vacation get-a-way. All too often, the notion of thoroughly planning packing for a trip gets put off or becomes a rushed last minute affair. For the super organized person packing can be efficiently completed in advance with ease. For others, packing causes anxiety or fear that they will forget something especially when the packing is done in a rush.

One way to lessen packing stress is to break the concept of packing into thirds. The first 1/3 are the things you need to do and pack before you leave for your trip. The second 1/3 are the things you need to remember while traveling. The last 1/3 are the things you should check upon your return home. Thinking about packing in this way helps to defuse some of the emotions you may begin to feel about your upcoming trip. For instance, the anxiety that can arise when you ask yourself “Will I be able to fit everything I need into my Carry On bag in order to avoid baggage fees?”

An easy way to work through this process of thirds to improve your packing prowess is to use your creative imagination to visualize in advance the before, during, and after aspects of packing for your trip. Since travel during holidays can add stressors outside of your control to your experience, having your packing bases covered should reduce your stress.

For the first 1/3, consider making a list of the things you’ll need and laying them all out. Next, check the extended weather forecasts for the locales you’ll visit and select appropriate clothing. Then ask yourself “Do I really need to take this item?” If the answer is no, do not pack that item. For the second 1/3, consider paying extra attention to not leaving behind items in your hotel room. If you’re not vigilant, it’s easy to forget that your cell phone charger is plugged into the wall.

The last 1/3 involves double checking that you came home with everything. While this may seem like the simplest step, it can often be overlooked since a missing item may not be something you use every day. Double checking after arriving home can give you added peace of mind which naturally reduces your stress. Since getting packing done right can reduce your stress and make any trip more enjoyable, here are some additional tips you can use to make your holiday packing a breeze.

Checklist: Start with a list of what you’ll need during your trip. Anything you can easily purchase at your destination, consider not taking especially if you want to travel light.

Clothing: Consider packing clothing that has multiple uses and is wrinkle resistant. This will automatically allow you to pack less. This gives you an advantage of being able to stay within airline weight limits so that you are not charged extra for your luggage.

Valuables: Consider carrying all of your valuables in your hand luggage. This will give you added peace of mind.

Important Stuff: Put most necessary things on the top of your luggage for easy access. When you arrive at a destination with pouring rain or that’s freezing cold, you’ll be glad your umbrella and jacket are handy.

Rental Car Double Check: Consider checking under the seats, glove compartment, etc. to insure that you have all of your belongings. Be sure not to leave your favorite CD in the CD player either!

Hotel Room Double Check: It pays to go over every section of your hotel room more than once to insure that you don’t leave anything behind. Be sure to put your cell phone charger in your bag. Double check the closets and drawers. Make sure you have your house and car keys, jewelry, laptop and your favorite book or eReader!

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