Am I the only person who obsesses over packing for a trip? Out of most of my friends… I seem to be. Perhaps I don’t travel enough? Maybe it’s anxiety? Is it a disorder? Certainly it isn’t vanity, is it?
Usually when I start to prepare for a trip, no matter the length of time I’ll be away, I start with a spreadsheet. I list out the days I will be away and any events that I will be attending while there. Then I write down some of my favorite clothing items or maybe something special that I purchased for the event. I get specific, down to shoes and accessories. Then I spend the next couple of weeks (yes… this begins at least 2 weeks out) fine-tuning my list. My reasoning? One, it ensures I won’t forget anything. It also prevents me from over-packing. Or does it?
I understand the absurdity of this process. It actually makes me sad. Why can’t I pack the day before I leave, like most people do? Will it be THAT bad if I forget to pack an extra outfit (in the event of an emergency?), toothpaste, or the “perfect” earrings for that Saturday night dress? The majority of the places I travel to have shopping centers and grocery stores. If I forget sunscreen or socks, it isn’t like I can’t go buy them.
I remember, once, I went to the beach on a very sporadic weekend getaway. I was literally there only 2 nights. It was the fastest I had ever packed, and when I got to the beach… I had forgotten my swimsuit. Can you believe that? It sent me into a tailspin. I was with a friend, who wore the exact same size as me, and who had packed a plethora of every style and color swimsuit that you can imagine. A couple of them were even new. I still freaked out. Ridiculous, right? Because not only did I have options there in the hotel room… but I was AT THE BEACH. There are stores that sell swimsuits on every corner!! I just don’t understand why I am so traumatized at forgetting (or the thought of forgetting) something that can be easily replaced.
So here I sit, in front of my computer, checking off items on my spreadsheet as I pack for an upcoming conference. My carry-on is already packed to the gills, and everything isn’t in it yet, because I keep grabbing extra shirts out of the closet… you know, just in case. (In case of what, I have absolutely no clue! The conference only lasts two days.) The mentality of using a list to prevent over-packing, really only just causes more work and stress for me in the end. I still take too many things in an effort to not forget something.
Aside from suggesting therapy, does anyone have any helpful hints that they can share? When you travel, when do you pack? Do you have a system? What are ways you prevent over-packing? I would love to hear your tips!