Why most people don’t pack good travel clothes
Everyone’s been there, you have an upcoming trip and you have ZERO. INTEREST in packing. If you’re like me then selecting what to wear on a trip looks something like this: Open suitcase. Stare at suitcase. Look at closet. Open laptop. Google search “look cute while traveling”. Find IG of a fabulous stylish traveler. Click through photos of this person on Instagram They have a Pinterest board of outfits. Click on Pinterest. Scroll through. Look at clock. Ehrmmm just a few more minutes of browsing. 2 hours later. Look at suitcase. Still empty. Close laptop. Close suitcase. Go to bed.
Does this pattern sound familiar?
The #1 reason why most people end up without good travel clothes is because of the packing gap, aka packing anxiety. If you’re like me, you wait to the last minute to start packing. Then at some point very close to your trip, you panic and just start throwing things into a suitcase. You think to yourself how much you hate packing. And the vicious cycle continues. I hope this article will help you the next time you pack. The article get you over the packing hump by helping you focus. These tips will help you rule out certain items so that you can identify the clothing you need, pack in peace, and end up with a bag full of great travel clothes.
Here’s what this article won’t do:
- encourage you to buy expensive things
- tell you to bring everything
- tell you to bring nothing and only live out of a fanny pack
- Give you a checklist -there are already lots of websites out there that will help you with a packing checklist. This article won’t repeat that
Get over the packing hump
The number one way to get over the packing hump is to bring exactly what you need and then go on autopilot. Right now I want you to take a look at your closet. You likely already have 80 to 90% of what you need for your trip. The second that you book your ticket ask yourself the following question:
What is THE most important thing to me about the clothes I will wear on this trip?
Below I suggest a few important things. Read the list and make a mental note of the ones that apply to you.
- I want to wear quality clothes
- I want to wear clothes that are affordable
- I want to wear comfortable clothes when I travel
- I want to be stylish when I travel
- I want to wear affordable items that I won’t be upset if they get damaged
- I want durable items to wear
- It’s important I wear name brand items when I travel
- I want clothes that aren’t too bulky
- Some other reason not listed here
Now go back through the items you mentally noted and just pick your two biggest reasons. Now, write the two reasons down. Use pen and paper or as a Note on your phone.
The reason to start with this question Is that once you understand what’s important to you it will be easier for you to pick items that meet your goal.
The packing hump is often not about packing
Let me share a story with you. One of my coworkers was traveling to California for a wedding. The trip was a week away and she hadn’t started packing. She was really struggling with figuring out what to bring. Each day leading up to the wedding she came in the office and asked for suggestions of places to find a wedding appropriate dress. People recommended that she check out everything from TJ Maxx and consignment stores to Anthropologie and Nordstroms. Two days before the trip I asked her if she didn’t already have a dress that she could re purpose. She replied, “I already have dresses from other weddings but this is going to be the first time I’m meeting my boyfriend’s family!”
The real issue here had nothing to do with packing itself. The big block was trying to find an item that would allow her to look good in front of her partners family. This was the key to her packing barrier.
If you don’t know what’s the most important thing to you then packing is going to be a challenge.
Now that you know what you’re important value is start picking items that meet that value. Let me walk you through a few examples:
I booked a trip to Namibia with friends. For the trip, we were planning on going sand boarding, camping, and do a self-driving safari. I just shelled out a lot of money for the plane ticket, accommodations, and an expensive car rental. So for this trip my top two values were affordable clothes and to bring clothing that I would not be upset if they got ruined.
Another example:I had a trip to South Africa. The flight to South Africa included one leg that was going to be 17 hours and 50 minutes. I have dry skin and I’m prone to getting eczema especially when I travel. For that trip my big value was clothing material. I really needed clothes that were soft, natural, and breathable material that would not irritate my skin.
One final example is that I had a conference to attend in Colorado. My ticket was booked on Frontier airline. They charge both a carry on fee and a checked baggage fee. It was really important for me to be able to do this trip with just carry on. For this trip my value was clothing that I could wear multiple different ways. I needed to be able to maximize my outfit potential without sacrificing space .
The reason why value is important is because it becomes the number one filter on if an item of clothing is in or out.
Yippee you now have your value system!
Start packing in 90 seconds
Now the next step will be to set a timer for 90 seconds. I often get distracted by my phone, so I use a good old fashioned kitchen timer for this.
Now go to your closet and pick out 2 tops, 2 bottoms, and an item of your choice that meets your criteria. That’s 5 items in total.
Go ahead stop reading and do it.
if an item that you want to put in your suitcase does not match this value system do not pack it. I repeat DO.NOT.PACK.IT
When the timer goes off, stop. Survey your handy work. Doesn’t that feel good? Look you started packing.
The reason why I use a timer is that oftentimes the packing hump seems that packing will take forever. In reality, it is possible to pack for a two-week trip in about 15 minutes. My husband does it all that time. However, my mind often makes packing bigger than it seems. So packing takes me forever. Once you get over the initial hump you can repeat the 90-second packing process for a few more rounds. I don’t recommend spending more than 8 minutes in any one chunk. For a packing procrastinator,10 minutes will be plenty.
I tend to pack everything in a carry-on sized rolling suitcase. The Samsonite Leverage is my go-to carry-on. I’ve used it for years. I am not looking forward to the day I have to replace it.
To summarize here are the steps to bringing good travel clothes:
- Identify your key values for clothes for this trip
- Think about what’s most important to you about the trip
- Give yourself a short period to pack
- Now only pack items that meet your values
Did I miss any important values? Comment below. What are your tricks for getting over packing procrastination?